E-News December 2014

From the President

Image: Crystal Cove State Park by Susan Liepa

What do parks have to do with it?

The Ferguson decision coming down in the week that normally kicks off the holiday season set an unusual tone for many across the country. It threw into stark contrast the shoppers and the angry. Here in the Bay Area that contrast was quite literal.

I got to thinking about what parks mean in the midst of this civil crisis. Are parks just a luxury at times like this? Or do the grand landscapes and rich tapestry of historic sites of California add anything to the dialogue concerning civil life?

I believe they do the latter. Parks are one of the last civil institutions that bring us all together on neutral ground. They are safe social space for getting to know those who are different than you are.

They are places that give us pleasure, solace and moments of inspiration. You don’t have to be an expert hiker to understand the power and beauty of our gorgeous state. Here in California there is a landscape for everyone, from majestic redwoods to stark deserts and from striking mountains to welcoming urban greenways. And state parks are some of the easiest way to get a dose of those landscapes.

And if these varied landscapes provide solace and contemplation, our historic sites can and should provide the fodder from which profound discussions of our civic institutions and character’s strengths and weaknesses will emerge. Our willingness to learn from historic events and press those lessons into service is fundamental to making these sites more than just an artifact of the past, but an illuminator of the future.

So as we enter the holiday season, I hope that you will join me in not only enjoying the respite that our state parks provide but to also listen to the deeper stories in the voices of our collective past. We all have much to learn and in turn much to teach.

I am sure that you, as I am, are receiving a deluge of end of year requests for funds from many worthy causes. We are humbled and honored to have your support for the California State Parks Foundation. Everyone here on the staff and on the board of CSPF do this work because it is something we believe in deeply. However, without your confidence in our work, we would be not only lonely but far, far less effective. Thank you.

We wish you and your friends and family a holiday season of joy and warmth.

Elizabeth Goldstein, President

Give a Gift that Goes Twice as Far for Parks

Image by Mike Shoys

This month, as we count our many blessings, we at CSPF are grateful for our 280 magnificent state parks—and for the opportunity to partner with members like you to preserve and protect the invaluable habitats, wildlife, and history they contain.

Our goal for the months ahead is to build on the legacy of the past 150 years to ensure that California’s parks are adequately funded, fully accessible, and recognized as a hallmark of state pride for generations to come.

But we can’t do it without your support.

You can make a large impact this holiday season. Thanks to a generous matching grant from the Donner Foundation, your year-end gift will go twice as far for parks! Please make a tax-deductible donation to CSPF before December 31 and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.

You may even want to consider joining our Californians Leadership Circle this year with a gift of $1,000 or more, which will also be matched. This group of committed park lovers plays a major role in shaping the future of our state parks—and enjoys special benefits as well.

Thank you, and happy holidays!

CSPF Grant Supports Barn Restoration

Image: Barn at Wilder Ranch State Park by Martha Henderson

CSPF was happy to provide a Park Enrichment Grant to Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks for the exterior restoration of a horse barn at Wilder Ranch State Park, pictured above. Formerly a dairy farm, Wilder Ranch State Park today features a number of the farm's original structures, with interpretive activities and trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The restoration work included preparing and painting the horse barn.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, celebrated the park’s 40th Anniversary with the Heritage Harvest Festival on October 24, which also showcased the barn restoration. Funding for this project was made possible from the generous support of Anchor Brewing Company and the Margaret Spencer Donner Endowment.

Save the Date for Park Advocacy Day 2015

Save the date! CSPF’s 13th Annual Park Advocacy Day will take place at the state Capitol on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. We hope you will plan to join us this year for a full day spent advocating in support of California’s 280 state parks.

Participants come from a variety of backgrounds and affiliations, and typically include park users, park volunteers, and representatives from state park related nonprofit organizations and cooperating associations, environmental and recreation organizations, as well as local business leaders, educators and students.

Registration for Park Advocacy Day will open online in January. If you have any questions before registration opens, please contact advocacy@calparks.org.

’Tis the Season to Volunteer in a State Park

Ring in the New Year by volunteering with Park Champions.

The winter season allows for important special projects that are not possible in the warmer months. Winter rains make this the best time to plant new native plants. Bring out your galoshes and join one of our habitat restoration teams at Half Moon Bay State Beach, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, or Rio de Los Angeles State Park. Winter camping is fun too! Help spruce up campgrounds at Salton Sea State Recreation Area, or help with a major trails renovation at China Camp, and camp for free!

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.

Give a Gift, Help State Parks

This holiday season, find great gifts for friends and family in our online store. Store proceeds go to support the work of CSPF on behalf of state parks, so you can feel good giving gifts that give back. Take a look today as new sale items are now available.

Plus, CSPF members get 15% off all merchandise until Dec 31.

And as our gift to you, all orders over $25 will receive a free 2015 calendar.

Thank you for shopping with a purpose.

Funding your Gift with Stock

Image: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park by Jeff Spence

Did you know you can donate stock to CSPF and avoid capital gains tax?

When you contribute shares of appreciated stock that you have owned for at least a year, you receive an immediate income tax deduction for the fair market value on the date of transfer, regardless of what you originally paid for the stock. This means you may avoid paying capital gains tax on the increase in value. With a gift of stock, you can support state parks while enjoying even greater tax savings – something we can both appreciate!

Find more details on how to contribute stock here, or call Martha Henderson at (415) 262-4404 or Mike Bankert at (415) 262-4402.

Photo of the Month

Image: Point Lobos State Reserve by Steve Zmak

Congratulations to photo contestant Steve Zmak for winning the Photo of the Month for November!

His abstract image, “Dreaming Big Sur,” from Point Lobos State Reserve shows a unique view of all the color, movement and life of our beloved ocean.

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!

Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Image: Mount Diablo State Park

Rise and Shine: It has one of the grandest views in all of California, and clear fall and winter days are when the panoramas are at their best. Mount Diablo's summit can be reached by car, but you’ll get far more jaw-dropping vistas by reaching it on two feet.

Summit Up: Samuel P. Taylor State Park has a fabulous peak hike that includes a side-trip to a waterfall, a chance to spy spawning salmon, and very few people!

Large and In Charge: California's largest state park is in peak form during winter, sprawling with 600,000 acres of magical rock terrain, hiking trails, slot canyons, and remote wilderness.

Torrey Glory: Torrey Pines' gorgeous coastline rivals Big Sur's. See its most dramatic scenery in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (and score a little beach time at nearby Torrey Pines State Beach) by setting out on a 2.25-mile loop to marquee overlooks at Razor Point and Yucca Point.

Uphill, Both Ways: The story of Phantom Trail in Malibu Creek State Park sounds a lot like the story your grandfather told about his walk to school (uphill both ways). There's a mountain in the middle of the 4.5-mile (round-trip) trail with dips at both ends. Unlike grandpa, you won't have to trudge through sleet and snow, just crisp autumn atmosphere with panoramic views.

Find out more at Weekend Sherpa.

California State Parks Foundation

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