The Future of California's Parks


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California contains more than 270 state parks.  From Angel Island to Woodson Bridge, all are open to the public at various times during the year. But due to state budget cuts, seventy parks are slated for closure in 2012.  Capital Public Radio News has reported extensively on the status of our parks. We've also devoted several Insight segments to the topic.  We will continue our in-depth coverage as the state parks department grapples with an $11 million cut this year and a $22 million reduction in 2012.

Insight: Live from the Governor's Mansion



On Wednesday, September 28th Insight  went on location to broadcast live from the Governor's Mansion, one of the 70 state parks slated for closure. Host Jeffrey Callison discussed the future of California's parks with State Parks Director Ruth Coleman and Catherine Taylor, superintendent of the district that oversees the Mansion. Also appearing on show were the son and grandaughter of former Governor Earl Warren.  Their foundation is raising money to help keep the mansion open. Plus Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters ran down the list of homes, ranches and lofts that governors have called home in the 30 years after the official mansion became a state park. Read more about the guests and download the show's podcast here. Check out photos from the broadcast here.


Some History

Built in 1877, the Victorian at the corner of 16th and H Streets in downtown Sacramento became the Governor's Mansion when it was purchased by the State in 1903.  During the next 64 years it would be home to 13 governors and their families.




Alternative Mansions

After the Reagans moved out of the Governor's Mansion in 1967,  it became a state park. Subsequent first families have lived in suburban homes, ranches, hotels and downtown lofts. Here are a few of the "anti mansions" California governors called home over the past 4 decades. 


Recent Stories on State and Local Parks

  • Photo By Marianne Russ/CPR News

    State Park Closures: Status Report

    Monday, September 05, 2011

    Labor Day signals the end of the summer season. But this year, it signals something else: the gradual closure of dozens of California state parks due to budget cuts. Marianne Russ visited one park on the closure list and has more.

  • Kevin Schultz/Flickr

    New Proposal To Help Ailing County Parks

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Budget cuts to Sacramento county parks have been so drastic that eight rangers are now charged with patrolling 32 parks. Today the county board of supervisors hears from a group of conservationists with an innovative solution.

  • Photo By Richard Sharp

    70 State Parks To Close

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    It’s a first in California’s history. The state plans to close 70 of its 278 parks.

  • Photo By Richard Sharp

    Bills Intended To Keep State Parks Open

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    A California legislative committee has approved two bills intended to keep more state parks open in the face of budget cuts. The bills would enhance the state's ability to partner with local governments and private firms.


Parks on Insight



Jeffrey Callison in the parlor of the Governor's Mansion preparing for our live broadcast

Insight at Gov Man 1

Jeffrey Callison interviews Director of State Parks Ruth Coleman and Capitol District Superintendent Catherine Taylor.

John at the Keys

Capital Public Radio's John Brenneise providing intermission piano for the broadcast.  Liberace once played this piano!


Insight's Technical Director Mark Jones making sure the broadcast sounds great

Jerrys Room

Governor Jerry Brown lived in the mansion when he was a student and his father, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown was governor. This was Jerry's room.


The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters talks with Jeffrey about the many "alternative" mansions lived in by governors after the official Governor's Mansion became a state park.


Our broadcast took place before a live audience

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What's Closing?

View an interactive map detailing parks slated for closure (source: California State Parks Foundation)

Through the Lens

70 in 70

A great photo blog from Melody and David Noceti 70 in 70

Take a Video Tour

In preparation for our live broadcast, docent Al Howenstein gave Jeffrey a 10-minute tour of the mansion and shared several stories about its colorful history, including details about a visit by then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

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