E-News December 2016

Salt Point State Park was one of over 100 state parks that participated in Green Friday © Benjamin Pender via Flickr

Another Great State Parks Holiday Season

The day after Thanksgiving is becoming Green Friday thanks to a new collaboration between California State Parks Foundation, Save the Redwoods League and the Department of Parks and Recreation. We were thrilled to be a part of this effort to attract thousands of new visitors to enjoy state parks, for free! Folks had a great time and will be back — you can read more details later in this newsletter.

Now that we are entering the holiday season full tilt, I hope that you will look to our magnificent state parks as a place to clear your head, take your out-of-town guests and just plain work off all that food we tend to indulge in as we celebrate with family and friends.

As I prepare to step down as President of CSPF at the end of this month, I want to thank you once again for everything that you do to support state parks. It has been a delight to get to share this wonderful cause with you and the huge community of California state park lovers. 

Wishing you, your family and friends a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

Elizabeth Goldstein


A photo of Half Moon Bay State Beach from Green Friday shared by Instagram user @nogutmannsnoglory

Californians Kept it Green on Black Friday!

California’s state parks were busy the Friday after Thanksgiving!  We teamed up with Save the Redwoods League and the Department of Parks and Recreation to offer Californians free state park passes as an alternative to Black Friday — Green Friday.  And this Green Friday was bigger than ever, with over 11,500 day-use passes distributed for use to over 100 different state parks!  

Perhaps the most inspiring result of Green Friday is that over 60 percent of participants reported that it was their first time ever visiting the state park they went to. Imagine all of the people who discovered the wonders of California’s state parks that day and the memories they created!  We are so proud to have helped make those experiences possible.

We hope that Green Friday becomes a part of your holiday traditions!  Click here to see the photos and videos fellow park lovers have shared. 


Volunteers of all ages braved less than perfect weather at Half Moon Bay State Beach © John Salcedo

Making Great Things Happen at Parks — Rain or Shine

“The 38 volunteers who showed up on November 19 deserve a gold star for working on a very wet and windy morning at Half Moon Bay State Beach!” says John Salcedo, the Core Leader of this Park Champions workday, “After quick briefings on tool safety and planting techniques, arriving families and individuals began planting natives in a steady rain. It was heartening to see so many younger volunteers working along with their families — planting, collecting empty plant pots and helping move the empty pots to the truck for transport.”

Park Champions are that committed to improving and maintaining the parks they love!  Can you believe that our volunteers have organized 190 workdays this year alone? They have undertaken projects such as fire prevention, removing invasive species and planting native species, maintaining hiking trails, restoring structures and so much more, and they’ve had a great time along the way.  Show your appreciation for your local state park by joining them!  Upcoming opportunities to volunteer include:

  • Habitat restoration at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area  (San Francisco)
  • Clearing vegetation and maintaining trails at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (San Diego) or Malibu Creek State Park (Los Angeles)
  • Planting native species in the riparian zone of Los Angeles State Historic Park (Los Angeles)
  • Removing invasive plants and restoring dunes at Silver Strand State Beach (San Diego)
  • Our first ever workday at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park to repair adobe floors and turkey pen fencing (Santa Barbara)
  • Restoring habitats over the weekend at Salton Sea State Recreation Area, a two-day volunteering experience that includes free camping

There are projects for everyone so add volunteering to your list of New Year’s resolutions and sign up today!  Click here to see a calendar of projects, as well as a map of where they are located. Check out our Flickr page to see photos of what Park Champions have been up to at parks across the state!


Park Enrichment Grants support programs like the River Ambassador volunteers at South Yuba River State Park © Erin Johnson via Flickr

Your Generosity Makes Park Improvements Happen

Thanks to the generous support of our members and donors, along with corporate and foundation partners, we are able to award Park Enrichment Grants to enhance California's 280 state parks. Grants to state parks and park partners have connected the next generation of stewards to the outdoors and state parks, restored historical buildings, engaged new park visitors, updated and modernized interpretive displays and materials, increased organizational capacity and leadership of non-profit state park partners, restored critical wildlife habitat and so much more!  Here are some of the highlights of what Park Enrichment Grants made happen this year:

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Enjoy Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for free during select weekends through March 2017! In celebration of the park’s 50th anniversary, Anza-Borrego Foundation is hosting weekend events. All you need to do is download your free parking pass. Visitors have been enjoying their complimentary visits since October, and there are participating weekends planned into the new year. Learn more and sign up to receive your free parking pass through Anza-Borrego Foundation.

Henry W. Coe State Park
The Pine Ridge Association restored an old barn roof at Henry W. Coe State Park. The white barn is one of the first things many visitors see when they arrive at the headquarters of the park, but after 80 years, the roof was in desperate need to be replaced. Now repaired, the historic barn will be preserved as a special place for many years to come.

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Los Angeles Audubon hosted a weekly park exploration program at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area for elementary and middle school students throughout the school year, fostering a sense of stewardship among participating youth. Students engaged in discussions and interactive sessions that included learning how to use a compass and working collaboratively to solve problems.

McLaughlin Eastshore State Park
Citizens for East Shore Parks completed a twelve-month study of land birds and their habitat at Albany Neck and Bulb to establish a baseline of species and populations and to assess habitat needs. Surveyors identified 90 species of birds! Citizens for East Shore Parks, in collaboration with the Golden Gate Audubon Society also created a brochure from the study. The study will be used to advise and guide the Albany Bulb Transition Plan’s habitat and wildlife conservation and restoration goals.

South Yuba River State Park
The South Yuba River Citizens League’s River Ambassador Program ran every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day at key river crossings within the South Yuba River State Park. River Ambassadors (trained volunteer citizen stewards) greeted visitors at the heavily utilized park, answered questions, promoted good park stewardship, encouraged environmentally responsible recreation and removed trash, glass and dog waste.

These are just some of the ways that your generosity is making an impact in state parks today that will ensure their bright future for generations to come.  Thank you to all of our members, donors, partners and volunteers for making 2016 a great year for California state parks!


2015 Art Contest Winner Cora Lawrence, age 9, proudly visiting her artwork on display at the State Capitol

Don't Miss Out on the Youth Art Contest!

With a little over a week left until the December 17 deadline, there is still time for youth ages 4-18 to participate in our 2nd annual Youth Art Contest!  This year’s theme is “Discover State Parks,” and we are inviting young artists to create work that shares their experiences in state parks and what they have discovered during their visits.  

Parents, grandparents, teachers and other caregivers are encouraged to use the Youth Art Contest as a fun and engaging activity that fosters a love for the outdoors!

We hope that the Youth Art Contest not only encourages youth to seek inspiration in the natural wonders, cultural resources and recreational activities that state parks provide, but that their talent will also inspire others to visit California’s state parks.  Their artwork illustrates the importance of protecting and preserving state parks for generations to come.

For more information and to download your entry form, click here. Make sure your entry is postmarked by December 17! Winners will be announced for each age category in January, and winning artwork will be displayed online, in print and in venues throughout California in the spring of 2017.


Chino Hills State Park © Philip Oakley Otto

Double Your Impact Today!

Our state parks are wonders of nature and history, but they need our help. Regular usage and weather take a big toll, and over time many trails and wilderness areas, historic buildings, and visitor amenities fall into disrepair. Park facilities need improvements both to protect wildlife and to enhance visitor experiences.  That’s why we’ve launched our 2017 State Parks Improvement Campaign to help meet these growing needs.

When you donate to the campaign by December 31, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar. If you haven’t given yet, or if you have already given but would like to take advantage of this great opportunity again before time runs out, please help us meet our $200,000 campaign goal.

We can’t wait for enough state funding to fix the parks we love to enjoy. Instead, we must lead the way to addressing the most pressing deficiencies in our parks now.

Your contribution, plus the match, will allow CSPF to award Park Enrichment Grants for critical improvement projects around the state, while we also work to ensure our state parks system reaches its full potential by being your voice for parks.

Donate now!


Butano State Park © Martin Jambon via Flickr

Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

It’s easy to see why the state of California decided to protect the area now known as Butano State Park.  Over 4,500 acres of canyons and uplands will take you through patches of oak woodland, wet riparian and sunny chaparral ecosystems, not to mention miles and miles of towering coastal redwoods. 

Our friends at Weekend Sherpa recommend the five-mile Mill Ox Loop hike to a panoramic ocean view.

Get details at Weekend Sherpa.


Dennis Lint snapped this incredible shot from Font's Point in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Photo of the Month

Congratulations, Dennis Lint — your epic photo from California's largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is this month's winner! This photo captures the park's expansive otherworldly landscape.

Thank you to our contest sponsor Lowepro!


California State Parks Foundation

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