E-News June 2014

California Parks Forward Initiative wraps up public workshops today

Photo courtesy Outdoor Outreach

Last June California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird and California State Parks Director Major General Anthony L. Jackson announced the creation of the Parks Forward Commission. It was tasked with designing a long-term plan for a financially sustainable and relevant state parks system that meets the needs of a changing California population. Since then the Commission, in conjunction with the California State Park and Recreation Commission, has held a series of statewide public workshop to gather ideas on a variety of issues, including how to achieve financial stability for state parks, how to improve and update both the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the parks system as a whole, and leverage partnerships.

The Parks Forward Commission issued a staff draft report on April 23 that included a frank assessment of DPR and the challenges before us. Since the report’s release, the commission held two public workshops in San Rafael and Los Angeles to gather public comments on the draft. CSPF testified at both hearings. Today, at 3 p.m., the Commission will hold their third and final public meeting in Sacramento. You can watch or listen to today’s meeting via CalSpan. If you can’t watch today, read the draft report, and stayed tuned to CSPF updates for more information on this effort which will potentially impact our state parks for years to come.

In other state parks news, Director Jackson announced his retirement as of June 30. CSPF wants to thank the General for stepping in during a very challenging time for state parks, calming the waters, and pushing for a modern parks system that meets the needs of all Californians.

Legislative Update

Photo ©Adonis Villanueva

This past Friday, May 30, was the Legislative deadline to pass bills out of their house of origin, which means there has been quite a bit of activity on bills we lobbied on during PAD 2014. The following are the latest updates.

Legislative Updates:

AB 1603 (Stone): This bill, which would have established the Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Program, was held in the Appropriations Committee on May 23, and is now unfortunately considered to be a dead bill and will not be moving forward.

AB 2150 (Rendon): This “omnibus” state parks bill was successfully passed out of the Appropriations Committee (Y:12 N: 4 A:1) and then off of the Assembly Floor (Y:56 N:16 A:7). It is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 1086 (De Leon): The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2014 passed out of the Senate Appropriation Committee (Y:7 N:0 A:0) and will next be up for a vote on the Senate Floor. (Because this is a bond bill, it was not subject to last week’s deadline)

State Parks are Great Places in the Summer

Photo ©Barbara Cooper

It's the best time of year to enjoy all of the great places in California state parks!

As we head into the summer months, we want your help spreading the word about why state parks are great.

Since January we have been collecting photos and stories from park users as part of our “California’s State Parks are Great Places” campaign. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Great Places flickr photo gallery and view photos submitted from park users and add your own.

As you visit parks this summer, please continue to submit your photos to our "Great Places" campaign.

Volunteer in a State Park

Spring into action by volunteering with Park Champions! Help repair trails at Mount San Jacinto (Riverside), Standish Hickey (Mendocino), China Camp (Marin), or Fort Ross (Sonoma). Restore habitat at Palomar Mountain (San Diego), Henry Cowell Redwoods (Santa Cruz), or Half Moon Bay (San Mateo). Break out your work gloves and repair a retaining wall at San Juan Bautista (San Benito) or help with general maintenance at Candlestick Point (San Francisco).

Many volunteer workdays include free camping opportunities, and other perks! 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.

CSPF Honored with Award

During Park Advocacy Day 2014, the South Yuba River State Park Association (SYRSPA) honored CSPF for its ongoing support. CSPF, through the Discretionary Grants, has awarded SYRSPA multiple grants that have included new interpretive signs and the restoration of the historic covered bridge at the South Yuba River State Park. Elizabeth Goldstein, along with CSPF board members, accepted the award on behalf of CSPF.

A heartfelt thank you to SYRSPA for this award!

Art Contest Will Determine State Park License Plate Design

See your artwork on license plates across California! DPR has launched an art contest to design the next special interest license plate dedicated to state parks. The donated artwork for the special state parks license plate should be a full-plate design incorporating a California redwood tree and should not obscure the readability of the license plate. The artwork must be an original and unpublished work.

The deadline for the contest is June 15, 2014. The design will be judged on creativity, inspiration, reproducibility, legibility of the lettering and numbering on the plate, and uniqueness demonstrated that best captures a California redwood tree. The winner of the contest will be announced June 30, 2014.

Following approval of the artwork and final design of the new license plates, the DMV will begin issuing the license plates upon receipt of 7,500 paid applications. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will help support the restoration and preservation of California’s 280 state parks.

More information about the contest and artwork requirements.

Donate a Picnic Table or Bench to a State Park

Support our state parks by donating a picnic table or bench! For a tax-deductible gift of $2,500, you can donate a personalized redwood picnic table or bench to be placed in a state park. Your donation not only provides you with a personal table or bench, but also supports CSPF and California state parks.

Featured Parks:

  • Annadel State Park needs a new table at Lake Ilsanjo.
  • McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park needs tables and benches at Lake Swim Beach.
  • Wilder Ranch State Park needs two tables at Tiger Beetle Meadow.

Most state parks in California are able to accept tables and benches. Please contact us if you would like to inquire about a park that is not listed above.

Tables and benches are eight feet long, made of redwood, and can have a personalized message. If you are interested in placing a table or bench, please contact Allison See at allison@calparks.org or 415-262-4409 to begin the process.

A Big Estate Planning Goof

Photo ©Vincent James

You probably didn’t forget to visit your favorite state park this spring, but you may have made a giant estate planning mistake without even knowing it — forgetting to complete or update your beneficiaries for your employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRAs, life insurance policies, mutual funds, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, annuities and 529 college savings plans. If your beneficiary designation forms are out-of-date, when you die, your assets could go the wrong people no matter what your will says. Click here to learn more.

Photo of the Month

Photo ©Sally Cullen

Congratulations to photo contestant Sally Cullen for winning the Photo of the Month for May! Sally’s photo, “May Flowers,” from Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park has a beautiful springtime vibe.

To participate in our contest, simply complete your free registration on MyParkPhotos.com and be sure to check off “California State Parks Foundation” next to Join Partner Contests.

Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Photo ©Dirk Janssens

Castle Black may be for the banished, but the stunning sandstone rock formations at Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains provide a more optimistic outpost. The stunning Castle Rock caves, a highlight of the 5,200-acre wildlands with 35 miles of hiking trails, can be reached on a short and sweet 1-mile loop. The natural outcrops, once deposits on the continental shelf about 40 million years ago, surfaced after repeated tectonic shifts from the nearby San Andreas Fault. Moss-covered trees, madrone, Douglas fir, and coast redwood are also part of the scenery. You can opt to add adventure and length to this trek by extending it toward Castle Rock Falls, featuring a breathtaking plank jutting out over the cavernous, slender falls, and the vast, vulture-laden, cliff-hugging Saratoga Gap Trail, passing even more stunning rock formations and a landscape to rival Westeros and Essos. As George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series, says: “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

Find out more at Weekend Sherpa.

California State Parks Foundation

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