The latest government proposal to close-down California state parks to save money is hardly the first time this suggestion has been made.

In 1933, responding to the Governor’s drastic budget cut proposal and pressure by the California Taxpayer’s Association, a state senate fact-finding committee recommended that the state park system budget be reduced by two-thirds for the next two fiscal years and some parks closed. The committee explained that it was making this recommendation because in tough economic times recreation is “one of the least essential activities of state government.”

Grim news back then, eh? The Governor and some legislators of that era attempted to gut the parks department and made inane comments about the value of state parks.

1930s\’ visitors enjoyed the nature programs at Richardson Grove State Park

But 1930s’ park supporters were outraged by this hare-brained attempt to de-fund the park system. They pointed out that parks stimulated the economy by encouraging tourism and contributed to public health by providing recreational opportunities and relief from the stresses of difficult times. Director Charles Wing argued that state parks were “not a luxury, but an essential part of the life and attractiveness of the state.”

Fortunately for California State Parks and the millions who visit them, the recommendations made by the misguided politicos in 1933 were rejected.

An earlier generation of Californians defended state parks from unreasonable budget cuts and closures.

Will our generation do the same?