Most California state parks to stay open

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Only a fraction of the 70 California parks originally slated to close this summer because of budget cuts are likely to be shut down, a senior state parks official said Tuesday.

Agreements already are in place with federal and local government agencies to keep 11 of the parks operating, and negotiations are under way to rescue about 40 other parks on the list, said Michael Harris, acting chief deputy director for the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

"We are working feverishly," he told The Associated Press in an interview. "We may end up with 15 parks without anybody stepping forward."

The 70 parks make up about a quarter of the state's 278 parks, beaches and historic sites had been scheduled to close to save $11 million annually.

"We're still talking 70 that we can't afford to operate," Harris said after testifying before the Little Hoover Commission, a state watchdog agency. But he said he expects the parks will be run mainly through cooperation agreements with for-profit concessionaires and nonprofit organizations.

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