On Thursday, Aug. 11, the California State Parks announced service reductions due to the spring budget cuts. The budget reductions total $11 million this fiscal year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) and another $22 million in fiscal 2012-13.
Mt. San Jacinto State Park’s hours of operation will be reduced, according to Superintendent Garret Aitchison. The local facility is one of five in the department’s Inland Empire region that will incur operational reductions.
“In order to maintain high quality service and public safety standards during high-peak visitor use periods experienced on weekends and holidays we have no other choice but to reduce services during slower non-peak visitor use periods such as weekdays,” said Ron Krueper, Inland Empire district superintendent.
Beginning Oct. 1, Mt. San Jacinto State Park will be open Friday through Tuesday each week. The Idyllwild Campground, day use and Sector Office will be closed Wednesday and Thursday each week until April 30, 2012.
Beginning May 1, 2012, all Mt. San Jacinto State Park facilities will be open seven days a week. But on Oct. 1, 2012, park operations will return to the five days open and two days closed cycle.
Stone Creek Campground near Idyllwild is normally closed for the winter season and will be open during the summer season. Mount San Jacinto Wilderness Area and Long Valley Ranger Station (Palm Springs Tram area) will remain open year-round, as usual.
“It is unfortunate that our public parks are affected by the drastic budget cuts. Not only is it frustrating to the visitors, but also has proven to have an effect on local economies,” Aitchison said. “Local businesses are the suppliers for all of our campers’ needs; from gasoline to groceries; our seasonal staff will experience a reduction in hours or separation.
“Permanent staff schedules will be adjusted to cover the open periods and to provide preventative maintenance and support to the Wilderness operations,” Aitchison added. “Our hiking permit station, located on the Ranger Station front deck, remains available during closure days.”
Starting Oct. 1, 2011, until further notice, Lake Perris State Recreation Area (SRA), Silverwood Lake SRA, California Citrus State Historic Park and Chino Hills State Park will also incur weekday service reductions.
No service reductions are planned for San Timoteo and Wildwood Canyon.