The view from the Providence Mountains
Celebrating the reopening of Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
After six years, Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, home to Mitchell Caverns, reopened earlier this month. In 2011, the park was closed because of necessary repairs, made more challenging by the park’s remote location surrounded by the Mojave Desert.
In 2013, California State Parks Foundation awarded the Committee to Reopen Mitchell Caverns (part of the Poppy Reserve/Mojave Desert Interpretive Association) a matched grant totaling $10,000 to support plumbing infrastructure and other repairs, all with the goal of bringing visitors back to this special park and the only limestone caverns in the state park system.
Thanks to the work of so many people and organizations dedicated to this park, that goal has been reached. Now, visitors can again enjoy the public trails or make reservations for limited tours of the caverns - limited to two a day to minimize degradation to the caves which are estimated to be millions of years old.
CSPF’s executive director, Rachel Norton, was invited to attend a private reopening ceremony. Read about her experience at Providence Mountains State Recreation Area on our blog.
Photo of Yosemite's Half Dome by Daniel Schwen/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Let National Parks Service know what you think about increased fees
National Parks Service recently shared a proposal announcing fee increases at 17 of America’s most popular national parks. Starting in May 2018, vehicle fees during peak season will be increased from $25 for a seven-day pass to $70, and per-person fees will double from $15 to $30. In California, three parks – Joshua Tree National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park – will be impacted by this proposal.
The increase in costs may mean fewer Americans will be able to visit these special places. Our parks are for all of us and we need to protect equitable access to the beauty and benefit of parks for all Californians! We understand that collecting user fees is critical to the support of parks, and we encourage a more thoughtful process to determine fees that engages the community for input and considers the needs of park visitors.
National Parks Service is accepting public comments on this proposal through November 23, 2017. You can share your comments on the proposal and help send a strong message that we support our parks. To add your voice, go to NPS comment webpage and enter in your contact information and comments.
Mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday
On Tuesday, November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, give thanks for our state parks by giving back on #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is a global movement to celebrate helping others in our communities. When you support the California State Parks Foundation on #GivingTuesday, not only will you help more people enjoy our treasured state parks, but your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar as part of our 2018 State Parks Improvement Campaign!
Last year, more than 1.6 million gifts were made to organizations around the world on this single day – save the date to be a part of something huge this #GivingTuesday!
Tell a friend and learn more at givingtuesday.org
Volunteers at Los Angeles State Historic Park
Fall fun with Park Champions
Fall rains herald the beginning of the planting season in California and our Park Champions habitat restoration teams are so excited! They need helping hands to get thousands of native plants in the ground this month, and would love to show you why this work is so important. You can also show gratitude for state parks during this season of giving by repairing popular trails and improving park facilities. Our dedicated volunteers have planned a wide variety of fun and impactful projects. There is something for everyone who wants to get involved. You could:
- Plant California native plants at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles State Historic Park, and Half Moon Bay State Beach
- Build a gazebo and help with other carpentry projects at Picacho and Silverwood Lake state recreation areas.
- Maintain and repair trails at China Camp, Chino Hills, or Cuyamaca Rancho state parks.
Click here to see a calendar and more descriptions of upcoming Park Champions projects, as well as a map of where they are located. Check out our Flickr page to see photos of what Park Champions are accomplishing at parks across the state! Hope you can join us for a workday soon.
The coastline at Salt Point State Park
Governor Brown signs legislation that places a water and park bond before California voters in June 2018
The state legislature adjourned for the year on September 15, passing important legislation until the very end of session. Governor Brown then had until October 15 to sign or veto legislation.
Senate Bill (SB) 5, a water and park bond that will go before voters in June 2018, was passed by the Legislature on the last day of this year's legislative session and Governor Brown signed this important piece of legislation. As you know, with an aging state park infrastructure, our parks continue to need critical repairs to keep them available and well maintained. It has been 15 years since California voters approved the last legislatively crafted park bond. The $205 million allocated specifically to the state park system in SB 5 will address deferred maintenance, protect and restore natural resources, and fund repairs and improvements that will help facilitate better visitor experiences. We look forward to working with you over the coming months on this important investment for our parks.
Increasing Californians opportunities to our coast, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 250 (Gonzalez Fletcher). AB 250 authorizes the State Coastal Conservancy to create a new Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program. California has 1,100 miles of coastline, but coastal access is not equitable for all Californians. Since 1989, nearly 25,000 economy hotel/motel rooms have been eliminated. Coastal state park campgrounds are some of the lowest cost overnight coastal accommodations, with fees ranging from $40 to $65 per night. Yet the supply of coastal state park campgrounds isn’t enough to meet demand, as campsites often sell out months in advance and are usually booked every weekend throughout the summer. In addition to traditional motels/hotels and campgrounds, increasing the availability of group campsites within state parks and expanding innovative alternatives such as affordable cabins, rustic shelters and yurts, will allow more Californians to access and enjoy our coastlines and beaches. We strongly support AB 250 for its efforts to break down the economic barriers preventing equitable access to California’s coast.
Senate Bill (SB) 50 (Allen) was signed by Governor Brown, protecting all our public land. SB 50 requires 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. Because of an April Executive Order by the Trump administration, six of California’s national monuments are under review and possibly under threat by the US Department of Interior. Our parks and monuments are for all Americans, preserving America’s heritage and history, as well as safeguarding irreplaceable wildlife, habitat and natural resources. Removing national monument status from these six important California places and/or opening them up for inappropriate commercialization sets a bad and dangerous precedent that will harm California.
Unfortunately, Assembly Bill 1358 (Cooley), which would have made day-use admission to state parks half-price on California’s Admission Day (September 9) was vetoed by Governor Brown.
See the full list of key bills we are closely watching here.
Autumn sun filtering through colorful dogwood leaves © Tom Fletcher
October Photo of the Month
Congratulations Tom Fletcher of Mountain View, whose photo of the autumn sun filtering through colorful dogwood leaves taken at Big Trees Calaveras State Park is October’s Photo of the Month!
Big Trees is one of Tom’s favorite parks, which he’s been visiting with his family for more than 30 years. “We camp and hike there spring, summer and fall,” he says. “With enough snow in the winter, cross country skiing through the redwoods is an awesome experience! We are proud supporters of the California State Parks Foundation and appreciate all of the hard work it does to keep our state parks open.”
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!