California park officials today announced the closure of 70 parks, including Tomales Bay, due to the state's harrowing budget deficit. Sacramento Bee reports: "Gov. Jerry Brown's January budget plan proposed reducing the state parks budget by $22 million. The Legislature in March approved $11 million in cuts to state parks and $10 million in cuts to off highway vehicle parks in the next fiscal year, with $22 million in cuts to state parks in future years." The closures are expected to happen in September. Also added to the list? The governor's mansion.

In a news release sent out today by the state park department (.pdf), they try to explain how the closures will preserve park attendance and revenue.

State Parks had three primary goals for developing the closure methodology: (1) protect the most significant natural and cultural resources, (2) maintain public access and revenue generation to the greatest extent possible and (3) protect closed parks so that they remain attractive and usable for potential partners. The methodology was included in the budget bill approved by the Legislature and the governor in March.

Despite the large number of parks identified for closure, at least 92% of today’s attendance will be retained, 94% of existing revenues will be preserved, and 208 parks will remain open. State Parks believes the methodology developed preserves and protects parks critical to the mission, which provide for the diversity of experiences wanted by visitors across the state. For instance, State Parks has a variety of state historic parks, state beaches, state recreation For energy efficient recreation areas, state nature reserves and state parks and most of the parks in all categories will remain open to serve the diverse preferences of park visitors.

This move is expected to save $33 million over a two year period.

While parks with the most "significant cultural and natural resources," were spared (for now), California will aim for "partnership agreements with local governments and non-profits in attempt to keep some of the parks open."

Ask KQED notes via Twitter, this is the first time in California's history that state parks have closed. California Parks Operations Director Tony Perez seemed to choked up a bit as he announced park closures. "This is hard," he said.

The full list of closures are:

- Anderson Marsh SHP
- Annadel SP
- Antelope Valley Indian Museum
- Austin Creek SRA
- Bale Grist Mill SHP
- Benbow Lake SRA
- Benicia Capitol SHP
- Benicia SRA
- Bidwell Mansion SHP
- Bothe-Napa Valley SP
- Brannan Island SRA
- California Mining & Mineral Museum
- Candlestick Point SRA
- Castle Crags SP
- Castle Rock SP
- China Camp SP
- Colusa-Sacramento River SRA
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
- Fort Humboldt SHP
- Fort Tejon SHP
- Garrapata SP
-George J. Hatfield SRA
- Governor's Mansion SHP
- Gray Whale Cove SB
- Greenwood SB
- Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP
- Hendy Woods SP
- Henry W. Coe SP
- Jack London SHP
- Jug Handle SNR
- Leland Stanford Mansion SHP
- Limekiln SP
- Los Encinos SHP
- Malakoff Diggins SHP
- Manchester SP
- McConnell SRA
- McGrath SB
- Mono Lake Tufa SNR
- Morro Strand SB
- Moss Landing SB
- Olompali SHP
- Palomar Mountain SP
- Petaluma Adobe SHP
- Picacho SRA
- Pio Pico SHP
- Plumas-Eureka SP
- Point Cabrillo Light Station
- Portola Redwoods SP
- Providence Mountains SRA
- Railtown 1897 SHP
- Russian Gulch SP
- Saddleback Butte SP
- Salton Sea SRA
- Samuel P. Taylor SP
- San Pasqual Battlefield SHP
- Santa Cruz Mission SHP
- Santa Susana Pass SHP
- Shasta SHP
- South Yuba River SP
- Standish-Hickey SRA
- Sugarloaf Ridge SP
- Tomales Bay SP
- Tule Elk SNR
- Turlock Lake SRA
- Twin Lakes SB
- Weaverville Joss House SHP
- Westport-Union Landing SB
- William B. Ide Adobe SHP
- Woodson Bridge SRA
- Zmudowski SB

[via SactoBee]