Protecting State Parks

Road Journals Blog—National Parks get a lot of attention. They are the divas and pop stars of the country’s parks. But often just as amazing and precious are our state parks, some of which may be almost literally at your back door. These are our scruffier and shyer, but nevertheless, talented performers.

California has 279 gorgeous state parks, widely distributed, from the coastline to the tree line of the Sierra Nevada. Utah has 43 state parks, and Nevada has 24.

redwood tree at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve

A redwood reaches for blue at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.

National Parks get a lot of attention. They are the divas and pop stars of the country’s parks. But often just as amazing and precious are our state parks, some of which may be almost literally at your back door. These are our scruffier and shyer, but nevertheless, talented performers.

California has 279 gorgeous state parks, widely distributed, from the coastline to the tree line of the Sierra Nevada. Utah has 43 state parks, and Nevada has 24.

In my time as a resident and native of the Golden State, I’ve visited dozens of these designated wildernesses, sometimes without knowing their protected status. My favorites include awesome landmarks like Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo, whose towering vistas of the Bay Area often provide a good dose of perspective on my busy, cluttered life. At Armstrong Redwoods, giant, ancient trees dwarf not only my body, but my lifespan, (not to mention much of the history of western civilization).

Perspective isn’t always what I’m after though. For pure relaxation in summer, there’s Tahoe’s sheltered Emerald Bay to float around in, and Big Sur’s Andrew Molera State Park to get lost in.

As the ongoing news about California state parks reminds us, our state parks are in trouble. Utah and Nevada parks need help too.

Tell us about your favorite state parks, whether nearby or at the other end of a road trip. Are the parks near you safe from closure? You can follow AAA.com/facebook to find out how AAA is supporting state parks.

This blog post was first published in June 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

Comments

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www.PaintTheParks.com intends to spark a fire in the hearts of artists, art lovers and nature enthusiasts all over the world, to paint, cherish and preserve our precious park lands everywhere.

Participating artists donate a minimum of 10% from the sale of their parks paintings to the respective State and National Park Associations, or a Park-related Program of their choice.

And when patrons purchase from participating artists worldwide, in addition to owning beautiful original art, they also demonstrate a commitment to conserving these precious sanctuaries.

Through painting, purchasing and donating, we intend to protect precious nature reserves for future generations.

Please visit us at www.PaintTheParks.com and www.facebook.com/PaintTheParks

My family enjoy state parks on a daily basis. We live in Santa Cruz and we are surrounded by wonderful open spaces like Wilder Ranch and even closer is Natural Bridges State Park which is a great beach with 'natural bridges' formed into the cliffs that have eroded over time. It is also a sanctuary and resting spot for the migratory monarch butterflies. Not to mention a safe place for many species of birds which you can hear and observe when you walk through the trails. Down south we like to visit all of the state parks of Big Sur and am very sorry to hear Limekiln is set for closure. California gets a bad rap for so many things but nobody can deny it's absolute natural beauty, taking state parks away is insanity. I can't even imagine supporting the representatives of our state if they fail to save these precious natural resources.

Utah, Natural Bridges or Bridges State Park. Bryce Canyon, Zion, maybe they are National Park, California Point Lobos, Manressa Uplands State Park, Manressa Beach, Rio Del Mar State Beach, Big Sir State Park, Julia Piffer State Park, Big Basin State Park I purchased the Annual Pass and love having it. Greyhound Rock.