Hikers enjoy a trail at Montaña de Oro State Park, one of many state parks supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund over the last 50 years. Congress failed to reauthorize the fund last week. Photo by Beedie Savage via Flickr
From the President
Fighting for Federal Funding
After 50 years, Congress failed to reauthorize the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) last week, putting its future in limbo. LWCF was intended by Congress to capture a portion of off-shore oil and gas fees and use it to support the protection of public lands. Though the intended funding level of $900 million annually was more honored in the breach than its execution, the program has still been the most significant source of federal dollars for conservation and parks nationwide.
What has this funding meant to the parks here in California? LWCF has provided over $2 billion in financial support for parks of every type from national to local and regional parks. Of that $2 billion, almost $290 million went to state-level projects and $1.77 billion to federal projects in California. Those federal projects have helped protect and enhance some of California’s key ecosystems from deserts to coastal redwoods.
On the state level, wonderful things have come into being because of LWCF and the other funds they leverage (such as parks bonds at the state and local level). For instance, at state parks, LWCF has provided funding for new cabins at Point Mugu State Park, as well as accessible trail systems at Montaña de Oro and Caswell Memorial state parks and Salton Sea State Recreation Area.
At the local level the project sponsors read like a who’s who of the cities of California: Riverside, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, Monterey, and counties up and down the state. I counted 39 of the state’s 52 counties in a quick review of the projects on the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) website. Funding has helped park systems from Humboldt County to Imperial County, through the San Joaquin County and across to Tulare County. And the funds have supported projects as diverse as the parks themselves from outdoor fitness equipment to land acquisition.
What is most unusual about the failure to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund is that it was NOT because of partisan infighting over the Fund. LWCF has bi-partisan support.
But we haven’t given up, nor have our other colleagues in the coalition supporting its reauthorization. While Congress is still in session, there is a chance to get LWCF reauthorized. Next week we will ask some of you to help. We will target both Democratic and Republican members of the House Natural Resources Committee with petitions. The committee chair Congressman Ron Bishop (UT) is taking his dislike of Federal agencies like BLM out on LWCF and is trying to undermine any efforts to reauthorize it by reforming it. Though there is certainly a case for some reform of LWCF, we have actually made some in the past, this is not the time. It should be reauthorized so that the program does not falter.
As always, we are enormously grateful to all of you for your support and action to support state parks. And in between those letters and emails to Congress, we hope you will have some time to enjoy our glorious state parks.
Children learn about animals during a summer learning program. AB 988, which would increase opportunities for youth to participate in outdoor environmental educational programs, was held as a two-year bill.
Governor Brown Signs Park Legislation
Governor Jerry Brown is working through hundreds of bills that were sent to his desk at the end of the legislative session last month. Yesterday, he signed two parks bills that CSPF supported: Assembly Bill (AB) 549 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and Senate Bill 204 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). We are very pleased with his decision.
Among other things, AB 549 encourages the CA Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) to develop more overnight accommodations in state parks and allows them to partner with nonprofits to operate such accommodations. The bill also clarifies that DPR may enter into partnership agreements with various kinds of partners, and may provide low cost or free access to parks in recognition of such partnerships. SB 204 acknowledges the important role of nonprofit organizations and removes the 2017 sunset on DPR’s authority to enter into operating agreements with nonprofits.
There was no such good news for AB 988 by Assemblymember Mark Stone and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins which creates the Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Program within DPR to award grants to public organizations and/or nonprofits for outdoor environmental education and recreation programs. This bill advanced with bipartisan support from the Assembly and through its Senate policy committee but failed to pass off the Senate Appropriations Committee’s “suspense file” and is being held as a two-year bill. CSPF will be working with the author and supporters on the bill this fall to develop a strategy to advance it in 2016.
Anthony Rendon, center, accepting CSPF's Legacy Award at Park Advocacy Day in May 2015.
A special congratulations to Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) for being named by his colleagues as the next Assembly Speaker! In a sign of strong support from his legislative colleagues, on September 3, Assembly Democrats announced that Rendon will become the next Assembly Speaker, effective after a January 2016 vote of the full Assembly. Park supporters will remember that CSPF honored Assemblymember Rendon as one of our two 2015 Legacy Award Winners during Park Advocacy Day this last May. CSPF congratulates Assemblymember Rendon and looks forward to working closely with him as he continues his support and leadership for state parks!
A young visitor explores Empire Mine State Historic Park. Photo by Claire Toney
Anchor Partnership Improves Parks
California State Parks Foundation’s partnership with Anchor Brewing Company, beginning in 2013, has led to the improvement and enhancements of state parks throughout California.
"As a brand with California roots dating back to the late 1800s, it’s very important to Anchor to be involved in initiatives that benefit the community and our local surroundings. Maintaining the beauty and accessibility of our state’s magnificent parks is part of that,” said Matt Canter, marketing manager of Anchor Brewing Company. “We are all benefactors of the work that has been done before us to preserve these natural treasures, and it’s our responsibility to ensure there’s a vibrant, accessible, and well-maintained park system for the future.”
Anchor Brewing Company’s generous support of CSPF’s Park Enrichment Grants program has made it possible for us to fund a number of important projects conducted by our local park partners, including:
- Empire Mine Park Association digitized historical interviews of miners and documents for future generations and preserves a key piece of California’s history from Empire Mine State Historic Park, one of California’s largest and most productive gold mines.
- Bodie Foundation and Friends of Mono Lake Reserve established a monitoring program of the nesting success and local movement of the Mono Lake osprey population through a partnership at Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve for best conservation and management practices.
- Coastside State Park Association upgraded a volunteer-run native plant garden that supports the restoration of parks in San Mateo County, including Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park and Half Moon Bay State Beach.
- Friends of the Elephant Seal led efforts at Hearst San Simeon State Park for the replacement of an old fence that creates a safe viewing area for visitors of northern elephant seal’s pupping and breeding rookery and serves to protect elephant seals from accessing Highway 1.
Thank you, Anchor Brewing Company, for helping to make these projects possible!
Experience Parks Year-Round With Our 2016 Calendar
Great things are happening all year long in state parks. Experience them wherever you may be with our 2016 state parks calendar, featuring 12 gorgeous color images of some of California’s most beautiful parks.
2016 calendars are now on sale in our online store!
Store proceeds go to support the work of CSPF on behalf of state parks, so you can shop with a purpose.
A Park Champions volunteer works hard at a recent workday in Rio de Los Angeles State Park
Fall Volunteers Needed in State Parks
Fall is officially here. Cooler temperatures allow us to plan different kinds of volunteer projects, and hold workdays to help warmer inland parks too! This October, join a Park Champions team to pick apples at Fort Ross State Historic Park (Sonoma) or Palomar Mountain State Park (San Diego), repair trails at Gaviota State Park (Santa Barbara) or Chino Hills State Park (Orange/Riverside), restore habitat at Half Moon Bay State Beach (San Mateo) or Rio de Los Angeles State Park (Los Angeles), help in a native plant nursery at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (San Francisco), build a new walkway at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park (Tulare), repair ramadas at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area (Riverside), or improve campgrounds at Picacho State Recreation Area (Imperial). Remote parks offer free camping opportunities for pre-registered volunteers.
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.
The Park Champions program is made possible in part by generous sponsorship from PG&E, Edison International, Capital Group, Southern California Gas Company, and Intel Security.
Trinidad State Beach by Vincent James
Photo of the Month
Congratulations to photo contestant Vincent James for winning the Photo of the Month for September!
His image, “Super Moon Set,” captures a lovely blue scene over Trinidad State Beach
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!
Greenwood State Beach by Barbara Matthews
Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa
Hike-In Hidden Beach
Blink and you'll miss some beach-blanket bliss—Greenwood State Beach. Hidden in the tiny town of Elk on scenic Highway 1, it's a half-mile walk down to the beach; but first, pick up picnic provisions directly across the street from the trailhead at Elk Store.
Get details at Weekend Sherpa.