These parks were here long before the state government deemed it necessary to deploy park rangers to all corners of the state, and the parks will remain here long after we are gone. Public spaces are just that, public spaces! We do not require services or supervision in order to enjoy them so the argument that parks will close without taxes is itself a red herring… what will happen is that the state will close off public spaces because their full employment is not ensured.
A reasonable compromise for a state with no money would be to remove the padlocks and open public spaces like parks and lock the doors on facilities that require staffing, such as visitor’s centers. If concession services are available then contract with private entities and remove the state from the providing of services to one of managing contact vendors who render a concession fee to support oversight.
So ask yourself, why is it necessary for a park ranger to be at his/her post in order for me to use a park that is by definition owned by the People of California.
- Because someone needs to maintain the trails so they are safe and usable, and fix them when they get washed out or damaged.
- Because someone needs to deal with the trash, because the visitors won’t.
- Because someone needs to clean the toilets, or get the pit toilets drained.
- Because when someone gets lost, they expect to be found.
- Because when someone gets hurt, they expect to be rescued.
- Because when the large party of loud, drinking teenagers shows up and raises their rabble, the people expecting peace and quiet expect it to be dealt with.
- Because the idiot who builds a campfire in a risky area and doesn’t watch it needs a babysitter to come by and save him from himself, before he burns the whole place down.
- Because when someone does do something stupid and start a fire, we demand it get put out,
Before you start thinking rangers are optional in these areas, you ought to sit down with a few and get to know them.