While my students (Field Methods in Ecology class) and I were out yesterday morning enjoying a pleasant field trip along the San Joaquin river in Lost Lake Park, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors were voting on a proposal to shut down all county parks (including Lost Lake) to save money! As it turned out, the county opted to not close the parks. They are still looking for ways to cut costs, including shorter hours, seasonal closure of some parks, and perhaps staff cutbacks. They will be helped also if everyone visiting the parks actually pay the fees for use – so do your part!
More importantly, bear in mind that radical alternative proposals – like handing the park over to the Table Mountain casino people to “develop” the entire stretch of the river in to a sports-recreation complex (soccer fields, baseball diamonds, golf courses, the works!) – are still on the table, so the fight to save the park as one of few places where Fresnans can commune with nature and the San Joaquin river is far from over. If the economy worsens – and we haven’t yet hit bottom have we? – expect the parks and the environment to be put back on the chopping block.