Mount Diablo State Park © Stephen Woodward
Growth and Challenges at California State Parks
It’s hard to believe that we’re already more than halfway through the year! Looking back on everything we’ve achieved together so far, from reaching new Park Champions milestones to welcoming our new executive director to making our 15th annual Park Advocacy Day a success, we’re ready to take on whatever the rest of 2017 has in store.
This year has presented California state parks with both environmental challenges such as increased risk of forest fires due to a wet winter bolstering plant growth that is now drying out under the summer sun, as well as legislative challenges such as an ominous executive order to review National Monuments that creates the possibility of unprecedented rollbacks of public land protection.
But, just as we responded to the executive order with a chance to have your voice heard and join our Action Alert, we will continue to work to support and advocate for our parks and for increased access to them. This month, we’re fundraising for parks with the help of Chipotle Mexican Grill, coordinating dozens of volunteers for Park Champions workdays across the state, and sharing our state parks activities guide to remind you to slow down and make the most of your summer before it passes you by!
Print the flier, show it on your mobile phone, or just say, “I’m here for the California State Parks Foundation fundraiser” before you pay.
Eat Chipotle and Support Parks on July 27
On Thursday, July 27, it's as easy as choosing between black or pinto beans to support the California State Parks Foundation! Visit any Chipotle Mexican Grill across California on Thursday, July 27 between 10:45 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and Chipotle will generously donate 50% of sales to the California State Parks Foundation when you show them a flier or let them know you are there for the fundraiser before you pay.
Grab lunch with your co-workers, take your family out to dinner, or bring a friend - and don't forget the chips and guac, it's for a good cause. You can also order online, but make sure to choose the “pay in-store” option and let your cashier know.
Share the flier and Facebook event with family and friends to let them know that on July 27 you can support state parks just by ordering a burrito!
California State Parks Foundation staff were joined by park advocates, youth leaders and elected officials for a day at the capitol.
A Powerful Day of Advocacy
Every year, we’re joined by park advocates in Sacramento for a day of impact for California state parks. Last month, we gathered for our 15th annual Park Advocacy Day, and with 119 dedicated advocates of all ages from across the state meeting with a total of 110 legislative offices, it was a powerful day of speaking out for park protection and ensuring parks are available for all Californians.
This year, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia spoke passionately about the need to protect public lands, make parks accessible, and protect Californian values such as diversity and inclusivity. We also heard from the Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Lisa Mangat, who stressed that parks are as much about maintaining nature as they are about the human relationships that we build and the memories that we create when we visit them. The moving stories of youth leaders from Outdoor Outreach and Sonoma Ecology Center about their programs focusing on transformative outdoor experiences illustrated how important it is to make sure that parks are sustainably funded and available to all.
Park advocates engaged elected officials on different park related issues and legislation, focusing on three key points:
- Improving access to park facilities by supporting Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) to develop a parks and resources bond for the November 2018 ballot, and urging that the final funding level for state parks in Senate Bill 5 (de León) or any negotiated agreement between Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) and Senate Bill 5 (de León) include $330 million for state parks.
- Increasing affordable access through the support of Assembly Bill 250 (Gonzalez Fletcher) to create a new Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program for economic overnight options along the coast, and Assembly Bill 1358 (Cooley) to make day-use admission to state parks half-price on California’s Admission Day every September 9.
- Maintaining protections for park lands and National Monuments with support for SB 50 (Allen) to require the state to have the right of first refusal or option to arrange to transfer of any federal public lands that the federal government is attempting to sell.
For those of who couldn’t join us in person that day, we delivered 8,000 petitions to the governor’s office thanking him for his past leadership on recent funding for parks and asking him to support legislation that would allow California voters to support a new park bond.
To see more inspiring moments from this year’s Park Advocacy Day, check out our Storify or the highlights on our blog.
Find the parks and activities that meet your needs and make the most of state parks this summer!
Plan an Adventure with our Activies Guide
Between towering redwoods, crashing waves and unbelievable landscapes and views, California state parks are the perfect destinations to get away from it all. But with 280 options, it can be daunting to try to pick the perfect place for your adventure. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Find the best family friendly spots, unique campsites, historical experiences and more with our activities guide!
When planning your travels, keep in mind that some parks are still rebounding from a hard winter. Many parks in the Big Sur area are still closed, so be sure to check the status of the park before visiting. Rain and snow have also left many waterways flowing abundantly with cold, fast moving water. Practice caution around moving water and take notice of official warnings.
Looking for even more ways to figure out which park to visit? Check out the Department of Parks and Recreation California State Park Index.
Malibu Creek State Park is just one of the locations where Park Champions have been restoring trails. Photo © Philip Oakley Otto
Make a Difference as a Park Champion
From the San Diego Coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, our Park Champions volunteers are hard at work this summer helping parks keep up with their busiest time of year. Last month, Park Champions repaired weather-worn trails at China Camp and Malibu Creek state parks, and restored native habitat at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, to name a few!
Park Champions volunteers also contributed to some unique park projects: At Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, volunteers constructed a Kumaya Ewaa, a replica of huts used by the Kumeyaay people. At Plumas-Eureka State Park, volunteers participated in an archaeological survey collecting data on the area’s earliest gold mining efforts.
This month, we’re hosting workdays all across the state, and there are so many ways to get involved:
- Learn a new skill (or hone your craft) and lay adobe flooring at the beautiful La Purisima Mission State Historic Park (Santa Barbara)
- Remove invasive plants to improve the ecosystem at Fort Ord Dunes State Park (Monterey), Half Moon Bay State Beach (San Mateo), or Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (Los Angeles)
- Camp and clear trails at Cuyamaca Rancho and Palomar Mountain state parks (San Diego)
- Help maintain trails at Topanga State Park (Los Angeles) or China Camp State Park (Marin)
And that’s just in the next few weeks! Visit our website to see a map and descriptions of upcoming Park Champions projects near you, and check out the Flickr page to be inspired by the photos of volunteers' recent accomplishments.
Seaside daisies along the coast at MacKerricher State Park. Photo © Katie Eskridge
June’s Photo of the Month
Congratulations to Katie Eskridge, whose photo "Seaside Daisies in MacKerricher State Park" was chosen as June's Photo of the Month! MacKerricher State Park is in Mendocino County and is home to bluffs, dunes, forest and interactive tide pools teeming with life.
You could be our next winner! Join our My California State Parks Flickr group to become part of a community of photographers and park lovers sharing their images. Once a month, a winner is selected to win a prize thanks to our sponsor, Lowepro!