Community youth leaders cultivate native plants at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area.
Shaping a Great Future for State Parks
Earlier this week I was at the California Academy of Sciences meeting with the Advisory Committee for a major interpretive planning project we’re leading at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. We have been working with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and a wide range of local, regional and statewide partners to develop and ultimately implement innovative, deep programming at the first urban park in the state parks system.
I was truly inspired by the kind of partnerships we have already begun to forge and the interest many newer potential partners are expressing. Imagine a Candlestick with some of the best programming in the state, such as a youth-driven digital storytelling program, or new interpretation that illuminates the impacts of humans on San Francisco Bay and vice versa. This community that has so often gotten the short end of the stick might be getting the best end of the stick!
Speaking of sticks, and in this case, stones, we are less than one month away from the most confounding election in recent memory. And at the risk of repeating myself, I urge you strongly to scour your ballot for the “down-ticket” initiatives that will affect parks. There are at least 14 of them that we know about from San Diego to Lodi. Most of them are seeking remedies for shortages in maintenance and operations funding for local, regional and, in some cases, state parks. In the service of making your voting preparation a little less onerous, here are some that CSPF is especially interested in.
Proposition 64: Adult Use of Marijuana Act
This initiative to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana has a little-publicized attribute we think you should know about. The initiative creates two taxes, one on the growing or production of marijuana and the other an excise tax based on the retail price of marijuana sold. The initiative requires that 20 percent of the excise tax be set aside to create the Environmental Restoration and Protection Account which will benefit California Departments of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Fish and Wildlife. Priority in the early years is on cleanup, remediation and restoration of the damage sustained from illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands and watersheds. Then the fund may be applied to stewardship of state parks and state-owned wildlife habitat lands. The projections for possible revenues to the Environmental Restoration and Protection Account have varied from $150 million to $230 million, ANNUALLY. In addition, this funding has to be on top of the General Fund allocations that DPR and Fish and Wildlife receive. You may remember the failed Proposition 21 in 2010 was forecast to generate $250 million annually, so this may be an indirect means to the same end.
Proposition 67: Protect California’s Plastic Bag Ban
CSPF has endorsed this initiative and recommends voting YES. Plastic waste is a blight on our state parks and our ocean waters. In 2014, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed the first ever statewide ban on plastic bags. However, the implementation of the law has been held up. Single-use plastic bag bans at the city level have been highly effective in reducing plastic pollution. This is our chance as citizens to speak our mind and get plastic bags banned once and for all throughout California. (Note to the wise: Don’t confuse this initiative with the deceptive Prop 65, sponsored by the plastic bag manufacturers, that comes before it on the ballot.)
Read further information here.
And on local ballots, these are some initiatives we hope you will join us in supporting:
Measure A: Los Angeles Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, River Protection and Water Conservation
CSPF has endorsed this measure and recommends voting YES. This Los Angeles County ballot measure would allow for the authorization of an annual assessment on virtually all parcels of real property within the county. Voters approved similar propositions in 1992 and 1996 that have provided critical funding for parks for the past 25 years. A portion of that dedicated funding has already expired and the remaining funding will expire entirely in 2019, leaving no dedicated funding to address these critical park and resource needs. Measure A will provide support for local parks, beaches, open space, and water resources. As you may know, Los Angeles County manages many state beaches and parks without state funding. This measure is a way to ensure that those parks, as well as the rest of the county system, are adequately funded.
Read further information here.
Measure J: Sonoma County Regional Parks and Water Quality Improvement Measure
CSPF has endorsed this measure and recommends voting YES. This Sonoma County ballot measure will create a half-cent sales tax in unincorporated parts of the county to support parks. The measure includes a detailed plan to expand, maintain and improve Sonoma County Regional Parks; to protect drinking water sources, streams and rivers; to preserve and enhance natural areas and fish and wildlife habitat; and to increase local trails and recreational opportunities. Sonoma County is a glorious patchwork of regional parks, state parks and other protected lands. As a result we are confident that this measure will enhance the area’s entire network of public lands.
Read further information here.
Park Champions volunteers at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area prevent invasive plants from spreading downstream. © Betty Di Regolo
Protect State Parks — On Foot or by Kayak!
Hats off to our very productive Park Champions habitat restoration team at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area near Sacramento! In the past year, they’ve organized 16 projects to remove trash and invasive plants as well as clear the waterways for recreational boaters at Lake Natoma. Last month a team of 20 volunteers worked in kayaks to remove the plumes of invasive pampas grass from more than a mile of shoreline to prevent the plants from spreading their seeds downstream. They cleared plumes from more than a mile of shoreline on Lake Natoma and then bagged them for disposal.
In addition to being champions for the natural ecosystem, volunteers also have a lot of fun! If you would like join them, and help remove invasive plants either by kayak or with both feet on the ground, there is plenty of work to be done! October is one of the busiest months of the year for Park Champions, and nearly all of our projects could use additional volunteers:
- Beautify a historic orchard at Burleigh H. Murray Ranch (San Mateo)
- Paint historic buildings at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park (Tulare)
- Run booths at the Apple Festival at Palomar Mountain State Park (San Diego)
- Assist with landscaping at Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park (El Dorado)
- Protect trails and sensitive park areas by building attractive split-rail fences at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (San Diego) or Chino Hills State Park (Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside)
- Restore trails at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (San Francisco), Leo Carrillo State Beach (Ventura), Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area (San Bernardino), or China Camp State Park (Marin)
- Preserve habitat for plants and animals at Half Moon Bay State Beach (San Mateo), Rio de Los Angeles State Park (Los Angeles), Silver Strand State Beach (San Diego), Folsom Lake State Recreation Area (El Dorado, Placer, and Sacramento), Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (San Diego), or Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (Los Angeles)
There is something for everyone who wants to get involved! Click here to see a calendar and descriptions of upcoming Park Champions projects, as well as a map of where they are located, and visit our Flickr page to see photos of what Park Champions are accomplishing at parks across the state.
© Phillip Oakley Otto
State Budget Tackles Deferred Maintenance in State Parks
Over the summer, Governor Brown signed the 2016-17 Fiscal Year State Budget, which includes funding for several projects and initiatives near and dear to CSPF’s heart. This is the final article in a three-part series taking an in-depth look at these projects to tell the story of why advocacy for state parks matters. #advocacymatters #yourvoiceforparks
The previous articles of this series dug into how the state budget will bring solar energy to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and discussed the new funding enabling the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to create a two-year Community Liaison Pilot Project at two of the largest urban state parks in California.
The final installment dives into an issue of great concern to CSPF, our members, and the entire state parks community: deferred maintenance. The 2016-17 state budget includes $60 million of funding to address the existing backlog of deferred maintenance projects, as part of a larger $688 million budget allocation to address the state’s most critical infrastructure projects.
It is important to note, however, that this $60 million addresses just 5 percent of the current needs identified by DPR, which estimates the deferred maintenance backlog to be over $1.2 billion!
To learn more, read part three of our budget series on the CSPF Your Voice for Parks blog.
Artwork by Vivian Chan, age 10, one of the winners of last year’s contest
Calling All Youth Artists!
Our 2016 Youth Art Contest is now open! This year’s theme is ‘”Discover State Parks,” and youth ages 4-18 are invited to participate by creating artwork that shares their experiences in state parks and what they have discovered during their visits.
First, second, and third place winners will be announced for each age category. Winners will receive prize packages from our online store and have their art showcased online, in print, and in venues throughout California.
We hope that our Youth Art Contest will bring students outdoors to seek inspiration in California’s state parks. We encourage parents, teachers and youth leaders to help spread the word!
For more information and to download a 2016 CSPF Youth Art Contest entry form, visit calparks.org/youthartcontest
“Owl Impressions” © James Kuester is the challenge winner!
The Discover California State Parks Photo Challenge Has a Winner!
Congratulations to James Kuester, winner of our Discover California State Parks Photo Challenge! He shared a fascinating discovery he uncovered during a visit to El Capitán State Beach in Santa Barbara. What looks at first glance like owl impressions is actually eucalyptus nuts! James will receive a prize package from our online store.
This photo is just one of 225 currently displayed in our Photo Challenge Gallery. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to browse through the photos here — perhaps you’ll discover something new about California’s state parks or be inspired to experience a park you’ve never visited before.
More about El Capitán State Beach
El Capitán is located 17 miles west of Santa Barbara. With a beautiful sandy beach, rocky tide pools, and stands of sycamore and oaks, the park offers visitors opportunities for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking and camping.
DPR provides beach wheelchairs at no cost. With this specially designed chair, wheelchair users may access the beach at several locations.
More about Eucalyptus Trees
More than 250 species of eucalyptus (native to Australia) have been planted in California. Eighteen species are now naturalized and reproduce on their own. According to the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR):
"Many of the eucalyptus trees in our state parks contribute to cultural landscapes that demonstrate how land was used during a particular period of history. However, the fast growth and drought tolerance of the trees make its management difficult. Parks staff may thin stands of eucalyptus, trim lower limbs, or remove entire groves. Fire management in developed areas sometimes calls for removal of these naturalized non-native trees, followed by native plant restoration." Read more…
A preserved building at Bodie State Historic Park, located in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierras © Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr
Governor Brown Signs California Heritage Protection Act
Over 1,500 individuals throughout California used our online Action Center to send Governor Brown letters urging him to sign Assembly Bill 2249 (Cooley), the California Heritage Protection Act. We are pleased to report that, thanks in part to our members’ support, he has signed this legislation into law!
AB 2249 responds to the surprising development that created a legal tug-of-war over the identity of renowned facilities and spaces in Yosemite National Park. It will make sure that a similar situation never happens in a California state park by prohibiting state park concession contracts from providing, or serving as the basis for, any claim of a trademark right in the name or names associated with a state park. The contract currently used by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for state park concessions already prohibits such copywriting or trademarking, and AB 2249 ensures that this standard is codified.
“Meteor over Red Rock Canyon” © Thomas Haraikawa
Photo of the Month
Congratulations, Thomas Haraikawa — your out of this world photo "Meteor over Red Rock Canyon," taken at Red Rock Canyon State Park, is this month's winner!
Thomas "watched the Perseid meteor shower while staying at the Ricardo campground" and captured this incredible shot.
Thank you to our contest sponsor Lowepro!
Humboldt Redwoods State Park © Della Huff
Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa
Parks We Love: Humboldt Redwoods State Park
The remote beauty of Humboldt County’s Lost Coast inspires a mystique unlike any other place in the state; it’s 80 miles of spectacular sea-to-summit beauty. And autumn is one of the best times to visit because the weather is typically Indian summer–warm.
Drive alongAvenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, where you’ll find abundant hiking trails for viewing the largest old-growth redwoods in the world! You can also picnic, fish, and swim along the Eel River here. Lost Coast? More like Paradise Found.
Get details at Weekend Sherpa.