Fall at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County © Mike Ryan
How Your Vote this Fall Matters for State Parks
I’m sure that you too have either grimaced or laughed out loud at the political pundits now announcing that the electoral season has officially opened! Whatever your politics, this has been the weirdest election run-up I can remember, with highly unpredictable presidential campaigns and equally surprising political commentary.
However, there is much “down ballot” from the presidential race that is worthy of your careful consideration, as well. We begin this fall electoral season by sharing some of the statewide and local ballot initiatives that we hope all park lovers will take a good look at.
On the statewide ballot you will find two key initiatives that will affect state parks in different ways (in order of ballot number):
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.
CSPF’s Park Champions volunteers partner with youth leaders from Bayview-Hunters Point to steward Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. © Tom Wishing
State Budget Funds New Outreach at Urban 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 part two of 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
Last month we “dug” into how the state budget will bring solar energy to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park after a four-year effort.
This month we want to tell you about another budget victory that is enabling the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to develop and implement a two-year Community Liaison Pilot Project at two of the largest urban state parks in California, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in San Francisco and Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Learn more about the Community Liaison Pilot Project and CSPF’s role in the development of these groundbreaking urban state parks on our blog.
Congratulations to this week's photo challenge winner, Instagrammer @razzamora. Her photo was taken via drone at one of California's Lake Tahoe area state parks over Labor Day weekend.
Take the Discover California's State Parks Photo Challenge!
What did you discover in California’s state parks this summer? A new favorite campsite? Hiking trail? Swimming hole? Join CSPF’s Discover California’s State Parks Photo Challenge and share your park photos to help other Californians discover new things about state parks. Not only will you help spread the word about all of the amazing things to see and do in our state parks, you’ll also become eligible to win fun prizes from CSPF’s E-Store.
Participating in our photo challenge is fun and easy.
Option One: Simply use the hashtag #discovercastateparks with any of your state park photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can tag new photos or photos you uploaded earlier this summer. (Please make sure your photos are public; if they are set to private we won’t be able to see them!)
Option Two: Visit our Facebook page and upload your photo or photos directly into our Photo Challenge Gallery.
The Discover California’s State Parks Photo Challenge will accept photos until September 21. One weekly winner will be randomly selected, and at the end of the challenge the images with the most votes will also receive prizes.
Take the challenge today!
CSPF's intrepid Mount San Jacinto State Park Trails Restoration Team backpacked 10 miles in the backcountry to clear the overgrown Wellman's Divide Trail.
Want to Get Your Hands Dirty Helping State Parks?
A huge thank you to our intrepid Mount San Jacinto State Park Trails Restoration Team! Last weekend they backpacked 10 miles into the backcountry at over 9,000 feet elevation — carrying all their own water, food, tools and camping supplies — to clear the Wellman’s Divide Trail. (See a video on our Facebook page.)
The trail was overgrown with shrubs, and in some areas was only 12 inches wide and difficult to see. Volunteers widened the trail to two-to-three-feet across, making it more enjoyable to use and helping prevent hikers from losing their way. Volunteers enjoyed beautiful views, perfect working weather and amazing starry skies. Volunteer Peter Celli says, “This was epic. If, after two days of hiking many miles with packs at 9,100 feet combined with hard labor, the participants are asking where to sign up for the next round, then clearly you've done something right.”
Would you like to get your hands dirty helping state parks? Join us for a Park Champions project near you this fall. Help us pick apples for the Apple Festival at Palomar Mountain State Park (San Diego), build a split rail fence at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (San Diego), repair picnic tables at Carpinteria State Beach (Santa Barbara), groom trails at Will Rogers State Historic Park (Los Angeles) or China Camp State Park (Marin), restore a picnic area at Henry Cowell State Park (Santa Cruz), or improve habitat at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area (Sacramento), Candlestick Point State Park (San Francisco), or Half Moon Bay State Beach (San Mateo)!
We’re excited to announce our first Park Champions workday at Border Field State Park in San Diego on October 1. We’ve been asked to remove invasive arundo (giant reed), which crowds out native plants and reduces wildlife habitat. This workday is a great opportunity to discover a new park, make new friends, and learn about the importance of native plants to natural ecosystems. We would love to see you there!
Visit our map to see locations and description of upcoming Park Champions projects near you, and our Flickr page for examples of Park Champions in action. We hope to see you at a workday soon.
A legal tug-of-war over the identity of Yosemite National Park's historic Ahwahnee Hotel, now known as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, has spurred proposed legislation to protect California state parks' heritage. © Jessica Merz via Flickr
You Can Help Protect State Park Heritage
The 2015-16 legislative session wrapped up on August 31, with legislators sending nearly 800 bills to Governor Brown’s desk for final decision.
One of the many bills awaiting action by Governor Brown is Assembly Bill 2249 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), also known as the California Heritage Protection Act.
AB 2249 was approved unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly and responds to the recent situation at Yosemite National Park, where a former private concessionaire was able to obtain trademarks of facilities and park spaces resulting in the renaming of iconic park facilities such as the historic Ahwahnee Hotel.
CSPF strongly supports AB 2249, which will ensure that a similar situation will never happen in California’s state parks. If you haven’t already, please visit our action center to send a quick message to Governor Brown urging him to sign this bill.
For updates on other legislation impacting California’s state parks, please visit our website.
Your Impact in State Parks: 2015-16 Annual Report
CSPF’s 2015-16 Annual Report issue of Parklands is now available online. We hope you will take a few moments to read this special report to learn more about the recent impact you have made possible, as a CSPF supporter, in parks throughout the state.
As a CSPF supporter, you’ve helped:
- Rally thousands of volunteers for Earth Day cleanup projects and Park Champions workdays
- Advance wetlands restoration at Yosemite Slough
- Achieve increases in park funding in the 2016-17 State Budget
- Expose nearly 15,000 urban youth to the beauty, adventure and learning opportunities our state parks offer
- Provide dozens of much-needed grants to partner organizations to improve parks and visitor experiences
- And much more
These are just some of the successes our members and supporters have made possible over the past year. You can read more about these results, and many others, in the 2015-16 Annual Report.
Thank you for helping to improve, protect and preserve the state parks we all love!
Tahoe State Recreation Area © Sally Cullen
Photo of the Month
Congratulations to photo contestant Sally Cullen for winning the Photo of the Month for August 2016 for her image “Shades of Blue.”
This stunning photo was taken at Tahoe State Recreation Area in February, as Sally hoped for “another good year of snow and rain in the Sierras.” Unfortunately, her wish didn’t come true last winter — here’s hoping for better news for the California drought this year.
You could be the next Photo of the Month winner! To compete, 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!
Emma Wood State Beach © Steve Sieren
Weekend Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa
Parks We Love: Emma Wood State Beach
Get details at Weekend Sherpa
Tightly wedged beside the 101 Freeway and downtown Ventura, and divided by the Southern Pacific Railroad, Emma Wood State Beach is home to a little gem! The 1.5-mile out-and-back Sandy Ocean’s Edge Trail hike starts from the group campground at Emma Wood’s south end and leads to a cobblestone beach, sand dunes, riparian wetlands, and remnants of history.