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Parks provide cheap entertainment

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By Christina Espinoza / Staff Writer

Walk in the park (Christina Espinoza / Staff Writer)

By Christina Espinoza / Staff Writer

It seems we are all so busy these days with the hustle and bustle of life, we may forget to take the time to stop and smell the orange blossoms.

California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside may be the perfect place to provide an affordable escape from today’s inflating prices and hectic life-style.

Whether you’re seeking inspiration, recreation or just a walk in the park, California Citrus State Historic Park has something for everyone.

Opening in August 1993, the park spans 377 acres and includes 186 acres of golden orange groves, stone paved trails, romantic rose gardens, family picnic areas, tree shaded pathways and open grass landscape.

Visitors can also enjoy the park’s historical museum which includes an interactive tour complete with life-size displays and life like murals.

The park’s quaint Sunkist gift shop which is attached to the museum, is decorated with colorful citrus themed Sunkist merchandise, souvenirs and delectable candies.

“It’s wonderful. It’s not your typical state park because it’s so quiet and because of the citrus heritage here,” said Gene Villarreal, park visitor and San Bernardino resident. 

The citrus heritage of California Citrus State Historic Park began long before their gates opened to the public and continues still today.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, gorgeous orange groves spread throughout California and provided the state with a primary role in agriculture.

“My family was involved in the citrus industry,” Villarreal said, whose ancestors contributed to the California citrus heritage by picking oranges in the mid 1900s. 

California Citrus State Historic Park officials explained that as a result of the decreased state budget the park had to increase it’s day usage fees. 

Still, California Citrus State Historic Park manages to maintain an affordable day usage fee of $8 per car.

“I know they also talked about starting a shuttle service from downtown Riverside to the park,” said Vickey Tuey, California Citrus State Historic Park volunteer.

“The shuttle services would increase visitation,” she said.

Old programs have been cut and new programs have been implemented to help with the state reductions.

“Due to the decreased state budget, our yoga classes were cut early this year,” Tuey said.

Tuey also confirmed that in an effort to keep the park open and maintain staffing, California Citrus State Historic Park employees agreed to Furlough Fridays, a new program within the park which constitutes “a day without pay” for park employees every Friday. 

 Schwarzenegger origianlly ordered the furloughs in early February to reduce the average state worker’s salary by 9.2 percent. 

“I think it’s a great program. It would be a bad idea to close the park,” said Bertrand Billups, Riverside local and supporter of the new California Citrus State Historic Park program.

Of the 278 parks in the California State Park system, California Citrus State Historic Park is the only state park which uses it’s orange groves to generate profit for future development of historic portions of the park. 

“It’s a good part of the state and city culture. The park isn’t just for us, it’s for the future, our children, and our children’s children,” Billups said.

For more information about California Citrus State Historic Park, visit their web site at http://www.citrusstatepark.org.


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