If you're one of the lucky few who has a camping reservation at Portola Redwoods State Park for the Fourth of July weekend, take a lot of pictures. Images may be the only way to experience the park in the future. Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County is one of several parks in the state scheduled to be closed by July 1, 2012 because of an ongoing budget shortfall.
There are no parks planned for closure in 2011. The state parks website continues to take reservations for this season. "Parks won’t officially begin closing until September of this year, continuing the closure process until the deadline of 70 parks closed on July 1, 2012," according to Alexis Stoxen, a communications assistant with the California State Parks Foundation. "However, some parks are already operating under partial closures, meaning reduced hours and services."
As of Wednesday morning, Portola Redwoods was the only San Mateo County state park still taking reservations for campers who may want to get away for the Independence Day weekend. However, the only spots left are for group camping, so-called Circle and Point Group Sites, sites that require a minimum of nine people, a maximum of 50. The sites are $335.00 per night, for up to 12 vehicles.
To get to Portola Redwoods State Park, from Highway 35 or Skyline Blvd, turn west onto Alpine Road, go 3 miles, and turn onto Portola State Park Road. The road dead ends in the park. Low gear is recommended as both these roads are steep and winding. There is no gasoline available at or near the park. There is no store in or near the park.
There are no camping spots left in Butano State Park. But day visitors may enjoy several activities scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend. According to the Butano website, here's a list of some of those activities:
July Activities at Butano State Park
Every Saturday in July and Sunday, July 3rd at 7:30pm
Join us at our campfire center for an evening of marshmallows roasting, trivia, skits, songs and fun for the whole family followed by a slide show about the amazing and incredible things found in and around Butano State Park.
Every Saturday in July and Sunday, July 3rd at 10 am
Children and parents of all ages are welcome to join us for a variety of activities including; games, arts, crafts and hiking exploration based on the plants, animals and culture of Butano State Park. Meeting location may vary, please refer to posted signs at the entrance station.
Every Saturday in July and Sunday, July 3rd at 11am
Children ages 7 - 12 yrs. old please join us for more advanced activities based on the plants, animals and culture of the local area. Earn rewards for participating in this one-hour program that is offered in most CA State Parks.
Every Saturday in July and Sunday, July 3rd at 1pm
All ages welcome to participate in a leisurely hike along one of the many amazing trails of Butano. Learn about plants, birds, animals and history. Most hikes meet at the visitor center, however special hikes may meet at different locations, please refer to posted signs at the entrance station.
Every Sunday in July and Monday, July 4th (except Sunday July 3rd ) at 10am
Children and parents of all ages are welcome to join us for fun and adventurous activities including; games, arts, crafts and hiking exploration all based on the plants, animals and culture of Butano State Park. Meeting location may vary, please refer to posted signs at the entrance station.
Butano State Park is on the San Mateo Coast, off Highway One. It is three miles northeast of the Gazos Creek Coastal Access Point by way of Gazos Creek Road, and about 4.5 miles southeast of Pescadero by way of the Pescadero and Cloverdale Roads.
The third San Mateo County state facility that allows camping, Half Moon Bay State Beach, is also full for the Fourth of July weekend. Much like Butano, activites are planned for Half Moon Bay and Francis State Beach according to their website:
Campfire Programs in July at Francis Beach, Half Moon Bay State Beach:
Every Saturday in July at 8:15 pm
Join us at our campfire center for an evening of fun, marshmallows roasting, trivia and skits for the whole family, followed by a slide show about our natural world and cultural history. Meet at the amphitheater and bring a flashlight.
Every Sunday in July at 10:00 AM
Children ages 7 - 12 yrs. old please join us for activities based on the animals, plants and culture of the local area. Earn rewards for participating in this one-hour program that is offered in most CA State Parks. Meet at the Visitor Center.
The beach is located a half-mile west of Highway 1 on Kelly Avenue in Half Moon Bay. There are three parking and beach access points; Francis Beach, at the end of Kelly Avenue in the City of Half Moon Bay; Venice Beach, at the end of Venice Boulevard off Highway 1; and Dunes Beach, at the end of Young Avenue off Highway 1.
For an up-to-date listing of all state parks that continue to have available campsites for the Fourth of July weekend, you can go to this state parks website.
For information about all San Mateo County state parks and state beaches, see the state park Web site.