Friday, February 23, 2007

Parks Booked

This will intensify as the state becomes more urbanized and getting away becomes more valuable.

This trend also points to the vital importance to strengthen our Parkway, as over the past several years it has not been maintained well, (it was threatened with closure in 2004) still runs millions behind annually in basic maintenance, and has been unable to add significantly to its footprint as its founders originally hoped.

Our plan to begin to change this downward spiral is to have the Parkway managed by a nonprofit organization, which will, as part of its management, create a financial endowment able to serve as a funding source for new Parkway expanding acquisitions as they become available.

Reservation race is on for prime camping spots
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, February 23, 2007

As temperatures barely nudge 60 and rain pelts the Sacramento Valley, it might be tough to think about pitching a tent in the great outdoors, but in the bleakness of February, thousands of people have done just that -- in record numbers.

Reservations for California State Park campgrounds have reached a feverish high, already closing down some of the choicest coastal sites this season until next winter, particularly on weekends.

"We Californians love our outback; that's part of the reason we're in this state," said Roy Stearns, spokesman for the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

Rising gasoline prices, greater desire for family time and a connection to the outdoors have been pushing up demand for camping sites nationwide for several years, particularly since Sept. 11, 2001. So, in a state with one of the longest camping seasons, the best advice for reserving a camping spot is to plan early.

There are hidden gems left for those willing to go inland and up north, Stearns said.

But don't dawdle.

On Feb. 1, when reservations opened for the upcoming camping season, 1,447 reservations poured in within seven minutes. By the end of the day, campers locked up 17,600 reservations, an 18 percent increase from opening day a year ago.

State parks provide 11,000 campsites by reservation and another 4,000 on a first-come, first-served basis.