Bill Strang and Alison Philip came all the way from Scotland to see the Mining and Mineral Museum. In fact, they planned their holiday around Mariposa. Problem is, the museum wasn't open, until we showed up, for our scheduled interview. "Because you're here it's opening up to give us a chance to look at it."
What Bill and Alison didn't know is that the park may not be around for much longer. It's one of 70 of the state's 278 parks that's slated for shut down. "The mineral wealth in this area is fantastic, it is part of the heritage it should be looked after"
Looking after, is exactly what the mining and museum association president, is doing. The local non-profit runs the gift shop, and helps fund salaries for the few people who still work here.
Ron Iudice said, "Last week we turned in our contract to the state. I imagine the state attorneys are looking at it to see if we can operate this museum."
The state has worked out a few deals to keep other parks open. Iudice is hoping he can work out something similar. In the meantime, he and everyone else, are worried about what will happen to the thousands of ancient and precious artifacts, should the museum be forced to close. "There's a chance they're going to pack this thing up into boxes which is probably going to damage most of the fragile stuff and put in a warehouse and lost to the state of California."
There is one thing the state can't take should the museum close. The original Las Mariposas land grant. They may be able to keep the grant, but not much else. As for Bill and Alison, well, they were just happy the doors were open for their visit.