California Architectural Sites Threatened by Closing of State’s Parks

California state parks seal


California residents are fighting for their right to hike as yet another of the state’s institutions is threatened by its ongoing budgetary woes. After a weeks-long standoff between lawmakers and Governor Schwarzenegger over the state’s budget, the proposed budget that’s now pushing for approval is one that will effectively terminate funding for California State Parks, closing 220 parks up and down the Golden State (on the not-so-bright side, 59 state parks would stay open). This isn’t even the first time this has happened: Last year, a similar proposal to close 48 parks was revised at the last minute, keeping them open for picnics.

The California State Parks Foundation quickly declared a Save Our State Parks Weekend (also known as the more urgent SOS Weekend) which will happen statewide June 20 to June 21. During this weekend, the campaign asks citizens to visit a park and take photos of themselves, and to wear green ribbons in show of solidarity. Save Our State Parks is compiling stories about state parks and calling for mobilization through its Facebook page. SOS Weekend also happens to be Fathers’ Day, so for those Californians who are looking to soak up some design and maybe save a park or two, take dad to one of these architecturally-significant state parks, slated to be closed.


Los Angeles Historic State Park: One of the newest parks in the state system, these 32 acres are referred to as “the Cornfield” by locals due to a large-scale artwork by Lauren Bon that planted this former railyard with corn. After drawing awareness to the area, a park was designed by the competition-winning Hargreaves Associates to create a recreation area in this greenspace-deprived neighborhood.

Malibu Creek State Park


Malibu Creek State Park: The trails of this mountainous park northwest of Los Angeles wind through canyons, over mountains with stunning rock formations, and along the 25-mile long Malibu Creek. But the park is perhaps best known as the location for many Hollywood productions, including the TV show M*A*S*H, which left behind plenty of its vintage war vehicles.

Governor's Mansion State Park

Governor’s Mansion State Park: Yes, even Schwarzenegger’s (honorary) home in Sacramento will be closed! This opulent Victorian mansion was built in 1877 for a hardware store tycoon and includes Italian marble fireplaces, gold French mirrors and a swimming pool installed by Governor Jerry Brown in 1959. Tours of the estate would be suspended.

Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London State Historic Park: This cottage was where Jack London wrote many of his adventure-themed novels and short stories from 1905 to 1916. The grounds also feature a dam and bathhouse built by London and a museum built by his widow.

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park: The 1839 fort is part of a settlement founded by John Sutter that was first in the Sacramento Valley and remains one of the best examples of pioneer life. Sutter later became famous for aiding the Donner Party when they were stranded in the Sierra Nevadas.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park: A former processing center for immigrants–many of whom were quarantined here for fear of disease–the island in the San Francisco bay also was a training base for soldiers and POW camp for detainees during World War II. During the cold war, it housed a NIKE missile base. Brush fires on the island in 2008 did not damage any of the historic structures, including some Civil War-era barracks.

California residents, is there a favorite state park slated to close near you?


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About the author

Alissa is a design writer for publications like Fast Company, GOOD and Dwell who can most often be found in Los Angeles. She likes to walk, ride the bus, and eat gelato