E-News February 2015

From the President

Image: ©Kenneth Carper

A New Era for Parks Begins Now

After 18 months of study, hearings and discussions, the Parks Forward Commission issued its final draft report last Friday. Tomorrow, Friday, February 6, the Commission will deliberate after they have heard from the public and stakeholders. CSPF will give formal comment at the meeting. We commend the Parks Forward Commission for their hard work and their thoughtful perspective. We look forward to working with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, their newly formed Transformation Team, and the broader parks community to take state parks to excellence. Our full statement on the report may be found here.

We look forward to tackling the work ahead together with you.

Elizabeth Goldstein, President

Register to be part of Park Advocacy Day 2015

We invite you to join CSPF and state park supporters from throughout California in Sacramento on May 5 for our 13th Annual Park Advocacy Day. As a Park Advocacy Day participant, you will have a unique opportunity to spend a day at the state Capitol meeting policymakers and lobbying on policy and budget issues impacting state parks. Participating in Park Advocacy Day is a wonderful way for Californians to speak up for state parks and influence the decisions of policymakers in regards to the future of state parks.

During Park Advocacy Day 2015, participants will spend the morning hearing from speakers and learning more about issues impacting state parks. At lunchtime, participants will enjoy our Park Advocacy Day Expo, taking place on the Capitol’s North Lawn. After the Expo, participants will split up into teams of 4 to 6 people and spend the rest of the afternoon attending meetings with policymakers at the Capitol.

The work of park advocates on Park Advocacy Day makes a strong, positive impact on the year-round advocacy work of CSPF. We hope you will consider being part of this special event!

You can find more information about Park Advocacy Day, including registration information, here. (Please note that due to space and team size limitations, registration for Park Advocacy Day will be open until March 1, or until maximum event and/or team capacity is reached.)

Governor Brown’s FY 2015-16 State Budget Proposal

On January 9, Governor Jerry Brown released his Fiscal Year 2015-16 state budget proposal, and state parks fared well. CSPF is pleased to see the era of state park closures behind us, and we are sure you are, too! The overall tone of the budget for state parks is one that anticipates state government focusing on building a better future for our state parks. We couldn’t agree more that focusing on that future is the collective priority for all of us in the state parks movement.

CSPF is pleased to see the commitment for $20 million in General Fund monies for deferred maintenance in parks. Although it is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated backlog of more than $1.3 billion, it is welcomed. Especially in light of last year’s proposal for $40 million for deferred maintenance needs that was never enacted. The state parks budget also includes a modest increase of $16 million in funding from the revenues that parks earn every year, and directs that specifically to continue existing service levels in parks. However, this proposed increase is only one-time, and falls short of complete restoration of visitor services, hours of availability, and park amenities that will attract current and new visitors.

We thank Governor Brown for a budget proposal that will encourage important dialogue in the state Legislature about the future of our parks, and how to fund that future. We look forward to working with the governor’s office, the Legislature, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and all our park partners and stakeholders to support this budget proposal and bring about positive and much-needed changes for our state parks.

Earth Day is April 18

Image: Earth Day volunteers at Candlestick Point

Plans are underway for CSPF’s 17th Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by PG&E. State parks throughout California will be seeking volunteers for environmental improvement projects Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year, trails will be cleared for greater public access, campgrounds improved prior to the busy summer season, native and drought tolerant vegetation planted, and trash removed to create a more welcome environment for visitors.

Volunteer registration will begin online in March. More information.

Grants Bring Kids to Salton Sea

Image: Salton Sea State Rec Area ©Connie Brooks

Several grants CSPF has recently awarded are helping kids access and explore state parks. Through three grants totaling $33,500, in both Park Enrichment and Park Partnership Grants, CSPF has supported Friends of Salton Sea State Recreational Area's increased access for kids to enjoy Salton Sea. The awarded grants have supported the development of the Salton Sea Kids Camp through establishment of a group camp area, a new ramada, ADA fire rings, walkways and bathrooms. Even more, Park Enrichment Grants have supported transportation to increase youth access to the park and enjoy these new areas.

Now in the second season, the Salton Sea Discovery Kids Camp, kids learn about the Salton Sea State Recreational Area, the natural history of the amazing desert scorpion, bird migration, area geology, and giving back to nature. The Discovery Kids now have their own “Critters of the Desert” on display at the park, which consists of a gopher snake, scorpions, crawfish, pollywogs and two ant farms. Student’s overnight graduation camp-out features a glowing scorpion hunt and name that bug game contest, with paddle boarding and kayaking. The second half of the second season of Discovery Kids Camp is about to begin with 101 fourth graders coming from Coachella Valley Schools. The awarded grants have helped support transportation and volunteers, so that school children could participate in two educational tours.

Take Your Valentine to a State Park

Image: MacKerricher State Park ©Carolyne Cathey

For an amazing Valentine's Day this year, look no further than the California state parks! Picture this: You and your special someone start off with a romantic hike through your favorite state park. Next you lay out a tapestry throw for a picnic and play some games with our Local Birds playing cards while waiting for the sunset. At dusk, you snuggle up and keep warm with a fleece jacket or vintage hoodie. Pack it all in a convenient tote bag when you're ready to head out.

You can find everything you need for this fun Valentine date in our online store. Purchase any or all of these items and get a free calendar and a notecard to write a love letter to your special someone.

Show You Love Parks: Volunteer

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with California State Parks! Celebrate your adoration by helping local Park Champions maintain and beautify beaches, mountains, and historic parks.

Get your hands dirty and have fun installing a butterfly garden at Rio de Los Angeles (Los Angeles), improving campgrounds at Salton Sea (Imperial), building fences at Henry Cowell Redwoods (Santa Cruz), pruning trees at Picacho (Imperial), fixing trails at China Camp (Marin) or Chino Hills (Orange/San Bernardino), assisting with general park maintenance at Candlestick Point (San Francisco) or Carpinteria (Santa Barbara), or repairing plant and animal habitat at Jack London (Sonoma), Half Moon Bay (San Mateo), or Baldwin Hills (Los Angeles). FREE CAMPING is available at Salton Sea, China Camp, and Picacho. We would love to see you there!

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.

Photo of the Month

Image: Bean Hollow State Beach ©Mike Ryan

Congratulations to photo contestant Mike Ryan for winning the Photo of the Month for January!

His funky and fun image, “Natural Collection,” from Bean Hollow State Beach is a close up of the pebbles collected naturally on tafoni rock after high tide. They were untouched by humans!

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: Crystal Cove State Park ©Claire Toney

Captivating coastline, charming cottages, clear waters, and quaint wooden staircases: It’s just another day at the beach on this 6-mile (round-trip) seaside stroll in Crystal Cove State Park. Located between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, this wild and beautiful state park has more than 3 miles of glistening beaches and outstanding views of the Pacific.

Find out more at Weekend Sherpa.

California State Parks Foundation

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