Longtime National Park Service Director Newton B. Drury once said about the U.S. park system, “If it means anything, it means that America presents to its citizens an opportunity to grow mentally and spiritually, as well as physically.” Anyone who grew up hiking Mile Rock, searching for shipwrecks at Lands End, leaping across sand dunes at Ocean Beach, flying kites on the Crissy Field, or crawling through bramble mazes in Golden Gate Park knows the passion Drury felt. Sadly, 2011 proved our parks are no longer sacrosanct as Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the closure of 70 of our 278 state parks. (Ironically, the reverse approach was used during the Great Depression, when federal job creation programs opened 800 state parks.) While the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is not under threat of closure, it should not be taken for granted. These areas are home to more endangered and threatened species than any other place in the continental U.S. — more than Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and... More >>>