E-News January 2017

Eagle Falls overlooking Emerald Bay State Park

You Made Such a Difference in 2016

We’ve counted down the New Year, gone on our first hikes, and are planning many park adventures for 2017. Before we turn our attention to the important work ahead of us, we wanted to share with you some of the amazing work you’ve helped California State Parks Foundation accomplish over the past year.

  • After almost 15 years of pitched battle between the Save San Onofre Coalition (a stalwart collection of nonprofit environmental organizations, including CSPF) and the Transportation Corridor Authority (TCA), the fight over San Onofre State Beach finally came to an end, permanently protecting the park and other public lands from toll road development.
  • In 2016, 57 grants totaling over $272,000 were made possible by the ongoing and generous support of CSPF members, donors and funders. To date, the Park Enrichment Grants Program has now awarded $1.3 million to enhance the experiences of park visitors.
  • In 2016, we added 16 new parks to the Park Champions Program, and completed park improvement projects at 43 parks. Over 1,500 volunteers worked 2,955 shifts and 12,015 hours making parks more beautiful, well-maintained, and a better home for wildlife.

We made so much progress together last year! But there’s also much more work to be done — funding critical improvement projects around the state, mobilizing volunteers to keep parks healthy, protecting pristine habitats for wildlife, and ensuring our parks will be accessible for all to enjoy, for generations to come.

Thank you for your dedication to protecting, improving and advocating for California’s greatest treasures. We hope you enjoy your time with friends and family in state parks in 2017!


Volunteers cleared trails at Benicia State Recreation Area during an Earth Day event a few years ago © Bella Podolsky

Mark Your Calendar for Earth Day 2017

On Saturday, April 22, thousands of volunteers throughout California will build split rail fences, picnic tables and animal-proof trash enclosures; restore forest and coastal habitats; plant native trees, demonstration gardens and shrubs; and construct new trails during CSPF’s 19th Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). A total of 35 state parks will receive grant funding and much-needed helping hands thanks to the support of long-time partner PG&E, who will sponsor 10 Earth Day project sites in northern and central California. Volunteers are needed from 9am to 1pm to help complete much-needed park improvements. Some of the projects that volunteers can assist with include:

  • Gathering fruit in the citrus grove at California Citrus State Historic Park;
  • Removing graffiti at Malibu Creek State Park;
  • Installing interpretive panels at Auburn State Recreation Area;
  • Painting the visitor center at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.

Click here for a complete list of projects. Volunteer registration will begin in early March. Your participation will truly make a difference for our state parks and millions of park visitors!


Park Champions have helped prepare Los Angeles State Historic Park for its opening next month © Michelle White

Cross Volunteering Off Your Resolutions Checklist

Park Champions spent 2016 having fun while making improvements at 43 California state parks.  Highlights from last year include teaming up with Literacy for Environmental Justice to plant native species at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area and working on the Backbone Trail through the Santa Monica Mountains.  There are so many ways to get involved, so why not start your year by joining our Park Champions and giving back to the state parks you love!  

This year, there are even more parks to choose from with the additions of Malibu Creek State Park and La Purisima Mission State Historic Park to the program. There are plenty of workdays still in need of your help, including:

  • Clearing vegetation and helping with trail maintenance at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (San Diego)
  • Protecting wildlife through habitat restoration at Half Moon Bay State Beach (San Mateo), Salton Sea State Recreation Area (Riverside) or Border Field State Park (San Diego)
  • Removing invasive plants and restoring dunes at Silver Strand State Beach (San Diego) or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (San Diego)
  • Repairing trails at China Camp State Park (Marin)
  • Managing vegetation at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (San Francisco)

And many others!  Visit our website to see a map and descriptions of upcoming Park Champions projects near you, and check out the Flickr page to get inspired by the photos of what volunteers have already accomplished. 


California State Capitol © David Fulmer via Flickr

2017-18 State Budget Proposal Signals Long-term Shortcomings

Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 State Budget, cautiously preparing California for what he anticipates will be almost $6 billion in decreased revenue over the next 18 months.

His $179.5 billion budget plan includes $138.8 million in General Fund for California’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the state department in charge of California’s 280 state parks. 

In order to maintain state park services at their current level, Governor Brown is proposing to allow a one-time increase of $12.6 million to the State Parks and Recreation Fund and $4 million from the Environmental License Plate Fund.

The Governor has also signaled his support of several projects to be funded in the next fiscal year including:

  • Restoration and rehabilitation of the world's longest single span historic covered bridge located at South Yuba River State Park
  • Resolving  seasonal flooding of the Border Fields State Park entrance road and developing an outdoor educational plaza at Monument Mesa
  • Moving forward on plans to add up to 110 new campsites at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

While this budget plan will allow for the current level of service at state parks to continue into the new fiscal year, the Governor notes that a long-term budget shortfall for DPR remains.

During his state budget proposal press conference, Governor Brown faced repeated questions from reporters about how California would deal with potential fiscal impacts of the new presidential administration, such as the proposed elimination of the Affordable Care Act, changes to immigration policy and other issues.  Governor Brown indicated that his proposal doesn't specifically address any of those potential outcomes, and that he would be working with the Legislature to respond as needed.

While we are pleased to see that California’s state parks have been spared budget cuts this year, CSPF remains concerned for the sustainable future of the state park system, and for the uncertainties that face the state's residents and budget.  We will continue to steadfastly advocate for increased funding to address DPR’s longstanding deferred maintenance backlog, estimated to exceed $1 billion, to enhance both facilities and programs that welcome park visitors and engage new audiences.

We will continue to provide you with updates on the state budget and will alert you about ways that you can support funding for California’s treasured state parks.


The State Parks Improvement Campaign enables CSPF to rebuild trails, preserve historic buildings and connect kids to nature.

We Reached Our Campaign Goal Thanks to You

Every park improvement we make begins with a gift from a generous and dedicated park lover like you. And thanks to your commitment, we surpassed our goal and raised over $200,000 for the 2017 State Parks Improvement Campaign! 

Contributions allow California State Parks Foundation to fund critical improvement projects around the state, mobilize volunteers to keep parks healthy, protect pristine habitats for wildlife and ensure our parks will be accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.

We’ll also continue to be your voice for parks in Sacramento, where our advocacy work is helping to create policies and fund solutions to ensure that California's state parks system can thrive.

There is still more work to be done and we’ll keep you updated on how your contributions are making a difference at state parks.  And if you missed your chance to give during our matching campaign, you can always donate online. Thank you for your constant dedication to improving California’s state parks!


Garrapata State Park © Susan Taylor

Share Your Photos in the My California State Parks Flickr Group

We are excited to announce our new monthly photo contest! The My California State Parks Flickr Group is an online community that allows photographers to post their images, see the photos that other members have submitted and even discuss advice on snapping the perfect park photo! Once a month a winner will be chosen to receive a prize from our sponsor, Lowepro.

Winning photos will be featured in our e-newsletter and on our Flickr page.  All photos uploaded to the group are automatically entered to win, and you can also use hashtag #mycastateparks when uploading to be considered. 

We can’t wait to see your incredible California state park photos!



Don’t Miss This One Time Sale!

Everything in our online store is 60% off! Quantities are limited, so don’t miss your chance to get a great deal while showing your support for state parks!


California State Parks Foundation

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