E-News May 2016

Looking out from Mt Diablo State Park

You Make Our Springtime Programs Bloom

Spring is always an exciting time at CSPF, and this year is no exception with major annual events and preparation for summer programs. We had one of our most successful Earth Day events ever on April 16. Two weeks later, 170 activists joined us in the halls of the state Capitol for Park Advocacy Day. You can read more about both of these great events below.

And just as April showers bring May flowers, your support is what makes our programs possible this season. In the coming weeks, we look forward to kicking off the Summer Enrichment Program, awarding a new round of grants to park partners, and expanding our Park Champions volunteers into new parks. Thank you for your partnership!

As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial beginning of summer, it is a wonderful time to start planning outdoor trips and getaways. I know I look forward to seeing some new state parks this year. I hope you, too, will make time to explore a park you have never been to before, and to experience first-hand the on-the-ground impact your membership and support have on our state parks. We’d love to hear about your adventures! You can share with us on Facebook or email us at members@calparks.org.

Happy Spring,

Elizabeth Goldstein


Earth Day volunteers worked at 27 parks on Saturday, April 16

2,000 Volunteers Lend a Hand for Earth Day

Earth Day is made possible by:

Presenting Sponsor
Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Associate Sponsors
SUBWAY Restaurants
Edison International

Grant Providers
Southern California Gas Company
Goldman Sachs
The Nature Conservancy

Refreshment Providers
Lundberg Family Farms
Nature’s Path
Peet’s Coffee
SUBWAY Restaurants
Chipotle Mexican Grill

Thank you, CSPF members, supporters, and volunteers — you pulled off another great Earth Day event!

Over 2,000 volunteers rolled up their sleeves and tackled dozens of improvement projects at 27 state parks from Mendocino down to Los Angeles. They planted 78 native trees and 1,744 native plants, removed over 2,200 cubic yards of non-native plants, collected more than 400 bags of trash and 50 bags of recycling, built split rail fences, installed new signage and trail markers, refurbished campgrounds, removed graffiti, repaired restrooms, built animal-proof food storage lockers, and beautified parks for all to enjoy.

See photos and details of each park here.

These thousands of contributed volunteer hours helped get parks ready for the busy summer season, which is especially important given the continued budget restrictions affecting the state parks system.

Thank you one and all for your generosity! You're making great things happen for the parks we all love.

Thank you to our Media Partners: Auburn Journal, Chino Hills Champion, Coast 101.3 FM, Folsom Telegraph, Half Moon Bay Review, iheartmedia Fresno: KSOF-FM, KSTT-FM, iheartmedia SF, 93.1 Jack FM, KHITS, KTVU-TV Channel 2, La Network Campensina, Marin Independent Journal, Picket Fence Media, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Santa Barbara News Press, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Soft Rock 98.9, Sonoma Index-Tribune, and World Journal.


Participants and speaker Senator Fran Pavley (bottom left) at Park Advocacy Day on May 3

Park Advocates Lobby Together at the Capitol

Winners of the 2015 CSPF Youth Art Contest went on display at the state Capitol on the 3rd floor near the Rotunda. Legislators, staff and visitors were able to enjoy the artwork by some of California’s youngest artists. We received great feedback that the artwork was inspiring (and adorable)!

Over 150 park supporters from throughout California joined CSPF in Sacramento on May 3 for our 14th Annual Park Advocacy Day. Together we made a strong statement of support for California’s 280 state parks, urging legislators to support legislation that will:

  • Fund California’s state parks for the future
  • Increase park access and park relevance
  • Support efforts of state park partners
  • Ensure that the names of public state parks and key state park facilities cannot be claimed for private gain or purposes.

With the help of our park advocates, we had meetings with over 120 policymakers during Park Advocacy Day! These meetings will have a lasting impact as policymakers make important legislative decisions about state parks. Thank you to all of our advocates for helping to make this day a success.

In addition to walking the halls of the state Capitol and meeting directly with lawmakers, we were pleased to have a robust program of speakers during our morning and afternoon programs at the Sacramento Convention Center, including the leaders of both houses, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Senate pro Tempore Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles). Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), Assemblymember Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) and California State Park and Recreation Commissioner Elva Yañez also addressed our advocates. Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and Director of California State Parks Lisa Mangat spoke at our closing session.

Learn more about the legislation we lobbied for at Park Advocacy Day and to find ways to become involved in our ongoing advocacy efforts.


Students on a recent outing to Calaveras Big Trees with Latino Outdoors

Grant Connects Young Californians to Parks

Parks communities across the nation are emphasizing the importance of engaging and connecting diverse communities and students to the outdoors.

CSPF members are supporting this kind of inclusivity in our California state parks by providing funding for our Park Enrichment grant program. Through our grants program, we support partners and programs that are directly connecting community members to parks in new ways.


"There were also several participants, primarily youth from a local high school, who had never visited a wilderness area before. This was their first time in a forest, and the experience ignited their curiosity."


Graciela Cabello, Latino Outdoors


A recent Park Enrichment Grant to California-based nonprofit Latino Outdoors is connecting underserved communities in Sacramento to nearby state parks. Latino Outdoors is overcoming barriers such as language or transportation that prevent disadvantaged students from visiting parks. By organizing day outings and overnight camping trips, they are giving students an opportunity to experience parks that they otherwise would not be able to. The grant covers programmatic costs like transportation, entrance fees, and supplies needed to have successful outings.

Latino Outdoors is the first national Latino-led organization of its kind. It engages, supports and empowers the Latino community to explore and share their outdoor stories.

“Our work is important because it has the potential to provide transformative experiences in nature,” said Graciela Cabello, National Director for Latino Outdoors. “Approaching community engagement from a cultural lens creates safe and welcoming spaces that leave room for exploration and deeper connections.”

One recent Latino Outdoors outing in April brought families and youth from Sacramento to Calaveras Big Trees State Park to experience the giant sequoias.

“Three generations of one family were able to join us,” said Cabello. “This matters because we must encourage family engagement if we want parents to support their children in conservation and nature-based careers. There were also several participants, primarily youth from a local high school, who had never visited a wilderness area before. This was their first time in a forest, and the experience ignited their curiosity.”

Thank you to our members and donors who make supporting the good work of partners like Latino Outdoors possible!

Learn more about Park Enrichment Grants.


Park Champion volunteers at our first-ever workday on Angel Island.

New Opportunities to Volunteer

Spring has arrived and it is a great time to be out enjoying our parks. Be a Park Champion and help your favorite parks with some spring cleaning! May offers several opportunities to choose from, including the first-ever workday at a new location: Santa Susana Pass.

Many parks also offer volunteers free weekend camping. Camping getaways are a great opportunity to help parks, make new friends, and have a meaningful experience.

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.

Thank you to our intrepid Park Champions teams for making our participation in California Council of Land Trusts' #TakeItOutsideCA. a great success.

At 5 special volunteer events on April 30 and May 1, Park Champions:

  • Cleared brush to assist with fire prevention at Mt. Diablo
  • Repaired the Oak Ridge Trail and replaced a rotting split rail fence at China Camp
  • Picked up trash on the beach at Angel Island
  • Repaired the Backbone Trail at Will Rogers
  • Restored habitat at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
  • Cared for three native plant showcase gardens at Rio de Los Angeles


Folsom Lake State Recreation Area by Sally Cullen

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Sally Cullen for winning the Photo of the Month for April 2016.

Her image, “Poppies,” from Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect scene for the season. As Sally said, “Nothing quite says spring in the foothills like a field of poppies.”

Sally lay on her stomach and shot up into the flowers to get this photograph. The crisp color and detail of the flowers are a visual treat.

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.


A state park alternative to Muir Woods awaits you. Photo by Nabeel Hyatt via Flickr

Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

If Muir Woods has a doppelganger, it’s Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Sonoma County’s Russian River. This 805-acre park is home to some seriously old (1,400 years!) and seriously tall (310 feet!) redwoods.

Get details at Weekend Sherpa.


US Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Education Specialist gives an orientation on the Tijuana Estuary. Photo by Pacific Southwest Region USFWS via Flickr

Parks We Love

Tijuana Estuary Nature Preserve

The Tijuana Estuary is the largest coastal wetland in Southern California and is located on the international border between the United States and Mexico. The Tijuana River Estuary is one of the few salt marshes remaining in Southern California, where over 90 percent of wetland habitat has been lost to development.

On Saturday, May 14, head to the Estuary from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a free, family-friendly celebration of International Migratory Bird Day. More info here.


Share your thoughts on the work CSPF is doing on Great Nonprofits. Photo of Garrapata State Park by Kathy Yates

Share Your Thoughts

If you love our work then tell the world! Stories about us from people like you will help us make an even bigger impact in our community. GreatNonprofits – the #1 source of nonprofit stories and feedback – is honoring highly regarded nonprofits with their 2016 Top-Rated List. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a brief story of your experience with us? All content will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes! Go here to get started.

California State Parks Foundation

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