Campaign underway to save South Bay parks


Volunteers have been camped out at a REI store in Mountain View in an all-out effort to save two parks they consider vital to lovers of the outdoors.

Castle Rock State Park and Portola Redwoods State Park are two of 70 state parks slated for closure next year as part of a $22 billion budget cut.

The goal is to raise $500,000 each year for the next three years.

"There is a hard deadline of July 1, 2012, and if we're not successful reaching an agreement with the state at that time then these two parks will close," fundraiser Andy Vought said. "However, we have every indication if we're able to raise sufficient funds that the Department of Parks is willing to keep these open."

Portola Redwoods State Park allows visitors to hike among dense forests of tall redwoods, Douglas firs and live oaks. Castle Rock State Park is known for rock climbing. Regular park visitors don't want to see them closed.

"I hike all the time," Cindy Jones said. "That would mean less places, going further, and a lot of these parks are closed all over the state. So, yeah, it would impact all of us, especially our kids."

"It would be kind of impossible for me to climb as much if I had to drive a lot farther with gas prices these days," Joel Vanderet said.

The volunteer fundraisers have tax exempt status through a foundation. They are hopeful to get donations, not just from individuals, but also from business and philanthropic groups.

The group has raised $50,000 so far.

The fundraisers say they probably have only four months to raise the half-million dollars they're hoping to raise. Otherwise, they say it may be difficult to try to convince the state to keep the parks open.

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