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Local Parks Supporters Head to Sacramento

California State Parks Foundation plans Nov. 1 march and rally in protest of impending closure of 70 state parks.

Michael Hanrahan’s life has been intertwined with the California State Parks for decades, and he’s not about to let a 92-mile drive to Sacramento stand in his way of fighting for them.

Hanrahan, a 53-year-old Sausalito resident, is heading to Sacramento on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to take part in a protest march and rally in opposition to the to close 70 state parks in 2012 because of the budget crisis, including China Camp, Olompali, Samuel P. Taylor and Tomales Bay state parks in Marin. Despite both and to save the parks, including the to keep open Tomales Bay and Samuel P. Taylor, which border federal lands, dozens of parks remain on the chopping block.

Hanrahan is a volunteer docent at both and Angel Island state parks and also creates online, downloadable guidebooks for a number of state and federal parks in Marin and the Bay Area.

“I’ve been hiking and biking and exploring the state parks for more than 35 years,” Hanrahan said. “ It’s a real strange change in our values and priorities that we would even consider shutting down our state parks as a way to save money. And it won’t even save the state money in the long run.”

Hanrahan, who serves as a docent at the Gravity Car Barn on Mount Tam and the immigration station at Angel Island, doesn’t expect to be alone. He said he knows other Marin residents planning to make the trip to Sacramento on Tuesday, and parks foundation officials are hoping for a big turnout as part of its Save Our State Parks campaign.

Park advocates are expected to gather in front of the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park – one of the park slated for closure – and then march at 8 a.m. to the state Capitol building. Advocates plan to hold a short rally before delivering more than 100 oversized postcards and thousands of petitions to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

The group is set to attend a joint legislative hearing by the state Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Accountability & Administrative Review committees. Legislators are expected to discuss the impacts and status of proposed state park closures.

For more info on the rally, go to the foundation’s Save Our State Parks website.

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