It turns out the closure of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park east of Santa Rosa was more of a nuisance than it was worth. It looks like a state park. It sounds like a park. Check the sign and it even reads like a park, at least in some places, but it has been a contradiction in others.
Jim Morris from Sebastopol went to the park for the first time Friday since November and he was hardly alone because it is official now: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County has reopened. "We got an email from through our volunteer coordinator that said that Sugarloaf was going to be back open at 10 a.m. this morning. So, my friend and I emailed each other and said let's be there by 10:15," Sara Reid told ABC7.
What a turnaround, at least in this small corner of the California Parks System. When the gate locked last December, it was one of 67 parks closed by the state of California to save a grand total of $11 million for the year. It was a controversial move. "Well, they've got money for a lot of other unimportant things and parks are important," Morris said.
On the other hand, Bruce Gordon told ABC7, "There is only so much money in the pot and they have to do what they have to do."
"I don't buy it," Morris said.
A parks spokesman says it reopened the park because some of the department's employees who took leave have come back, there were problems with people dumping trash there, and complaints by residents along Adobe Canyon Road which became a parking lot on busy days. "So, people would come down this street, park along the sides, sometimes even along the side streets there and they would get ticketed," neighbor Monia Menco said.
So, at Sugarloaf State Park, at least, the California parks budget crisis has received a reprieve. For the people who love the place, it is a prospect as beautiful as Friday's sunny midwinter day.