The images won't appear in any California State Parks brochure.
MacKerricher State Park: Fifty elementary-school kids arrive for their annual end-of-year camping trip, only to find the drinking water contaminated.
Mount Tamalpais: A trail near the visitors center greets disabled visitors and families with a 12- to 50-foot sheer drop-off and no guardrail.
Hearst Castle: The marble Neptune Pool at California's most famous state park leaks so much that stalactites have formed in a cavity underneath.
Look beyond the crashing waves and towering redwoods, and California's 278 state parks are a tangle of troubles. The nation's largest state parks system is weighed down by a $1.3 billion maintenance backlog, according to a review of park records by McClatchy Newspapers.
Park visitors already have dealt with abbreviated schedules and services. Now decay and neglect in the parks endanger the environment, artifacts -- and even public health, as the students and parents of Skyfish School in Redway recently learned.
Read the complete story at mercedsunstar.com