February 20, 2013

Regarding The Post’s Feb. 17 news article “Pleas to preserve parks from cuts”:

I would note that California seems to have struck a reasonable balance between park availability and funding at the state level.  

As my wife and I traveled from the San Francisco Bay area down the coast to Big Sur, we were struck by the plenitude of recreational areas. At one of those, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park with its iconic waterfall on the ocean’s edge, we struck up a conversation with the park ranger, a retiree (of which our nation has no impending shortage) who lives there with his wife in their RV as an unpaid volunteer six months a year. He was a fount of knowledge about the park, which had clean bathrooms and was totally free of litter. There was an honor-system entrance fee for parking, to cover road and trail maintenance, but those unwilling or unable to pay it could leave their cars outside the park and visit for free.

No doubt, larger parks in California, such as Muir Woods National Monument, outside of San Francisco, have and need larger, paid staffs. But virtually all of the budgetary problems of our national parks have solutions like California’s if we are willing to be creative and take personal responsibility for preserving the parks’ natural beauty when we visit. Some staff may lose their jobs, but that doesn’t mean the parks have to close.

Larry J. Wilson, Alexandria