Benbow Lake State Recreation Area will remain open for day use and Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area may be open for both camping and day use by mid-July, according to Michelle Gardner, chief of California State Parks’ Eel River Sector.
These two local SRAs, along with Grizzly Creek State Park on Highway 36 east of Carlotta, Fort Humboldt State Historic Park in Eureka, and Del Norte State Park south of Crescent City, are on the State Parks’ closure list due to mandated budget cuts. The county of Humboldt stepped in to keep Grizzly Creek State Park open under county management. (See related story in this issue for status of all the parks slated for closure in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.)
Benbow Lake SRA’s day use facilities will be open all summer and into the future, thanks to generous help from the Benbow Hotel & Resort and other donors, Gardner said.
State Parks is also considering proposals from possible partners to manage the campground next year, but the process takes too long to be completed for this season, Gardner said.
Team Standish, a group of volunteers from the Piercy and Leggett communities, in partnership with the Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA), have a proposal to manage Standish-Hickey SRA awaiting sign-off by state officials in Sacramento.
Local state parks officials, including Gardner and North Coast Redwoods District superintendent Dana Jones, have been working closely with Team Standish and MAPA on this proposal. Gardner is cautiously optimistic about getting the go-ahead to open Standish-Hickey by mid-July.
Originally they were hoping to be able to open Standish-Hickey in time for the Independence Day holiday week from June 30 through July 8, usually the busiest week of the season.
When Gardner spoke with the Redwood Times last Thursday, she said that they had not given up hope but an earlier opening seemed unlikely.