E-News April 2016

Volunteer with us on Earth Day and make a lasting impact.

Let's Make Earth Day Meaningful

Earth Day is almost upon us. We always celebrate by holding volunteer events in state parks across California—this year on April 16—doing everything from planting native plants to rebuilding trails and just plain cleaning up. That Saturday morning each April is one of my favorite days of the year. We gather along with thousands of Californians in parks across the state to do hands-on good together. The event has statewide impact, but each project is community focused.

We have wonderful sponsors for Earth Day that make the event possible, like PG&E, Edison International, SUBWAY Restaurants, and Oracle. These sponsors are doing more than simply taking a bow. They bring hundreds of their employees out to volunteer in state parks across the state and help make them better. They bring their partners and their children and work alongside their neighbors. They want to do something for the community, and that is pretty great.

But it's not just the sponsors, it's all our amazing volunteers, members and partners who make this event truly special. You bring your families out to volunteer, help spread the word, and support the Earth Day project grants with generous donations. At the end of the day, state parks across California are better off because we joined together to make a big impact for Earth Day.

Volunteer programs will never be a substitute for enough money for state parks. But even when we are successful at achieving that important goal—and I am confident we will one day soon—volunteers in parks will continue to be greatly important. Parks are different from roads and sewer systems. Parks are often at the heart of the community. The personal connection that all of us have to parks and our willingness to do a little extra for them is what gives them that something special that other public infrastructure will never have.

I hope you will support our efforts even if you can’t join us at a park on April 16. It makes a huge amount of difference. If we keep at it, we can make every day an earth day.

Thanks for everything you do for state parks.

Elizabeth Goldstein


Register to volunteer for Earth Day by Tuesday, April 12. Photo by Bella Podolsky

Register to Volunteer for Earth Day

Where we need extra hands:

Northern California:
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

Jack London State Historic Park
Sonoma Coast State Park

Bay Area:
Benicia State Recreation Area
China Camp State Park

Central Valley:
San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area
Millerton Lake State Recreation Area
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

San Luis Obispo:
Montaña de Oro State Park

Santa Barbara:
Carpinteria State Beach
San Buenaventura State Beach

Orange County:
Chino Hills State Park
Doheny State Beach
San Onofre State Beach
Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Southern California:
Picacho State Recreation Area

We need volunteers (like you!) to join us on Saturday, April 16 to work on much-needed improvement projects as part of our 18th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup. Californians will work simultaneously at 27 state parks across the state on April 16. Join us for a great day outdoors in a park working side by side with fellow community members to make a real difference this Earth Day.

Earth Day is Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 27 state parks across California.

See a map of the parks, read project descriptions, and register to volunteer online.

Volunteering for Earth Day is a great way to do something meaningful for our planet and our community. This is a free, public event. We hope you’ll join us!

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of the following sponsors. Without their support this event would not be possible: Presenting Sponsor Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Associate Sponsors Subway, Edison International, and Oracle, Grant Providers Microsoft, Southern California Gas Company, Goldman Sachs, and The Nature Conservancy, and Refreshment Providers Lundberg Family Farms, Nature’s Path, Peet’s Coffee, SUBWAY Restaurants, and Chipotle.

If you can’t join us on April 16 but would still like to help, please make a donation to support our work on Earth Day (and every day).


AB 2249 would protect state parks from trademark issues like Yosemite National Park experienced this year. Photo by Bryce Edwards via Flickr.

Why You Matter This Legislative Season

As a supporter of California State Parks Foundation, you know that we need to speak up for parks together in order to make change happen. Lawmakers need to hear from people who care about state parks.

That’s why we work year-round in Sacramento to advocate for parks and participate in the legislative process. Over the past few months, our team has read and reviewed hundreds of bills to evaluate their potential impacts to state parks, park users and natural and cultural resources. We’ve attended and testified in legislative committee hearings and met with policymakers to make sure that the voices of park users are being heard.

Now is the time of year we develop a focused legislative agenda and unite our members together to speak up for parks.

Our 14th Annual Park Advocacy Day will take place on Tuesday May 3. This year over 140 park supporters from throughout California will join together at the state Capitol to spend the day lobbying policymakers on legislation and budget items related to state parks. But even if you can’t be there, know that we will be speaking for you, too.

When we visit the offices of state legislators, what makes them listen is the knowledge that we are representing tens of thousands of park loving California citizens, voters, activists and advocates—including you.

If you haven’t already, we hope that you will sign up to receive action alerts from CSPF so you can help us reach out to policymakers on state park issues, sign pledges and petitions, and stay up-to-date on the legislation we are supporting this year.

CSPF has taken a support position on the following legislation in 2016:

Assembly Bill 1972 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) clarifies that veterans who are disabled as a result of their military service—whether in wartime or not—should be eligible to receive the existing lifetime Distinguished Veteran’s Pass offered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).

Assembly Bill 2249 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) responds to the recent, surprising legal tug-of-war over the identity of renowned facilities and spaces in Yosemite National Park. CSPF believes strongly that the names and identities of iconic parks and their features must remain intrinsically linked to those places. We are disappointed to see that the former concessionaire obtained trademarks for facilities and park names that are an inseparable part of Yosemite.

Senate Bill 1111 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) furthers the Legislature’s support for new and different ways of managing state park units, specifically operations by nonprofit organizations. It removes a “cap” in the current law that right now allows DPR to enter into operating agreements with nonprofits for up to twenty parks. Under SB 1111, there wouldn’t be a numerical limit the number of parks involved in such agreements.

Senate Bill 1386 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), also known as the Natural and Working Lands Climate Solutions Act, declares it to be state policy that protecting and managing natural and working lands is a key strategy to meet California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

For more information on our advocacy efforts, please email us at advocacy@calparks.org.


Volunteers help build a new fence at Cuyamaca Rancho to protect sensitive habitats. Photos by Michele Hernandez

Grant Helps Restore and Protect Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Thanks to the generous support of CSPF members, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park has new fences to keep vehicles on roads and protect the sensitive meadows.

In 2003, the Cedar Fire burned more than 270,000 acres in Southern California and about 98% of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, including the protective fences. Reforestation and restoration efforts have been going on ever since.

CSPF awarded a Park Enrichment Grant to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association for a fence restoration project. The Interpretive Association co-led the project with volunteers and park staff to install the much-needed fences. Through this successful pilot project, the park’s robust volunteer corps, local students and park staff installed approximately 200 yards of fencing along the access roads to the visitor center and the Stonewall mine site.

The project showed that fencing can be erected using all volunteer labor, and that key park supporters can work together on big projects. An additional exciting outcome is that the success of this pilot project influenced a decision by the park staff to participate in the Park Champions program going forward. Under that program the fencing efforts will continue, and other deferred infrastructure needs will be met.

Congratulations to all who made this important project possible.

Learn more about our grant program here.


A Park Champion beautifies a garden during a recent workday.

Volunteer and Take It Outside, California!

CSPF is partnering with the California Council of Land Trusts for their Take It Outside California! weekend on April 30 and May 1. Take It Outside California! offers a wide range of social, educational, and stewardship activities designed to get the whole family active and having fun in public lands.

Park Champions is hosting five special workdays for Take It Outside, California! at Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Will Rogers State Park, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, China Camp State Park, and Angel Island State Park. No experience necessary; tools, training, snacks, and smiles provided.

Get involved! Take the pledge to #TakeItOutsideCA.

Spring has arrived and it is prime wildflower season in many California state parks. What better time to help parks get ready for spring, and enjoy the spectacular blooms, too! This April, Park Champions has 16 volunteer projects to choose from. Help us reopen campgrounds, build picnic tables, clear trails, paint buildings, assist with fire prevention, remove invasive plants, and restore a historic orchard! We’re especially excited to announce our first workdays restoring the backbone trail at Will Rogers State Historic Park (Los Angeles) and cleaning the beach at Angel Island State Park (Marin)!

Many parks also offer volunteers free weekend camping. Camping getaways are a great opportunity to help parks, make new friends, and have a meaningful experience.

Visit our website to see a map of upcoming projects at parks near you and our Flickr page for examples of Park Champions in action.


Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve by Bruce Goren

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Bruce Goren for winning the Photo of the Month for March 2016!

His image, “Mono Lake Cloudy Tufa,” from, you guessed it, Mono Lake, juxtaposes dark skies and water against a shining beam of sunshine.

Bruce describes the image: "Mottled sunshine breaks through the showery clouds hanging low over Mono Lake. It rained every day during our recent brief visit to the high eastern Sierras. These dramatic Tufa towers remind me of the moon crystal growing toys we had as kids in the '60s. Mono Lake is salty, super-alkaline and mineral rich because it has no natural outlet and does not get flushed. The Tufa forms under the water, as fresh water seeps in and up via underground springs and forms calcium carbonate 'stalagmites,' reminiscent of deep undersea volcanic formations."

You could be the next Photo of the Month winner! To compete in CSPF’s contest, simply complete your free registration on MyParkPhotos.com and be sure to check off "California State Parks Foundation" next to "Join Partner Contests." Thank you to our contest sponsor Lowepro!


Enjoy gorgeous ocean views at Wilder Ranch State Park. Photo by Stanislav Sedov via Flickr

Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Wilder Times

Stunning redwoods, huge ocean views, rolling hills, and gorgeous beaches … Santa Cruz has epic scenery! So how do you enjoy it all in one jaunt? Go Wilder! A 5-mile (round-trip) hike in Wilder Ranch State Park packs plenty of highlights.

Get details at Weekend Sherpa.


A surfer enjoys the waves at San Onofre State Beach. Photo by Roger Howard via Flickr

Parks We Love

San Onofre State Beach

There's a reason why this is one of the most-visited state parks in California with over 2.5 million visitors per year — it's gorgeous! San Onofre State Beach sits at the edge of a 3,000-acre scenic coastal canyon area and is popular with swimmers, kayakers, fishermen, campers, birders and bicyclists. The park includes a marshy area where San Mateo Creek meets the shoreline and Trestles, a well-known California surfing site.

California State Parks Foundation

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