Jack London State Historic Park has been saved from closure, officials announced Tuesday. The park in Sonoma County joins 11 other state properties that have been temporarily spared from a list of 70 set to close this summer due to budget cuts.
The Valley of the Moon Natural History Association has entered into an agreement with the state to operate the park by keeping the gates open at least 36 hours per week for five years (with the option of a one-year extension) starting May 1. The group, which is the first to takeover a park under a recent law that allows state parks to enter into agreements directly with non-profits, will be responsible for daily maintenance, visitor services, volunteer staffing, protection of natural and historic resources, and interpretation.
"We are pleased the Association has stepped forward and we are confident they will do all possible to care for this remarkable historic home during their tenure," said State Parks Director Ruth Coleman in a news release.
Agreements with other groups around the state could lead to over 20 more state parks seeing reprieve.
Once part of Beauty Ranch, Jack London State Historic Park is a memorial to the writer and adventurer "who made his home at the site from 1905 until his death in 1916," according to the park's webpage. "The park contains the cottage residence where he wrote books, short stories, articles and letters while he oversaw various agricultural enterprises. After London's death, his wife, Charmian, continued to live in the cottage until her death in 1955. It was her wish that the ranch be preserved in memory of Jack London and his work."
The historic park includes a museum, London's grave, ruins of the Wolf House, and, among other amenities, more than 10 miles of fire road and trails for hiking.
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