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California Parklands is our premier member publication produced three times a year featuring events, advocacy updates, membership offers and more.
As most of you who follow these pages know, a new independent commission, the Parks Forward Commission, was appointed last summer to focus on the creation of a long-term plan for a financially sustainable and functionally relevant state parks system. The panel of 12 luminaries was appointed by Secretary of Resources John Laird. The Parks Forward Commission is ably co-chaired by former Senator Christine Kehoe (now the Executive Director of the California Plug-In Vehicle Collaborative) and Lance Conn, a Bay Area businessman and conservationist. Since September the Park Forward Commission has gathered information, heard from experts and consultants, and listened to organizations from all over the state. CSPF has attended every hearing, met with individual commissioners and shared our views on the challenges and opportunities facing state parks.
The Parks Forward Commission issued a staff draft report in late April. The draft report gives a blunt overview of the challenges facing state parks and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). It also provides some insight into the themes that are emerging in the Commission’s work. There are a lot of emerging themes we like, and some we think need more development.
The draft report has yet to do more than layout a laundry list of worthy initiatives, many of which are familiar, such as the need for more urban parks and public transportation to parks. Among the report’s themes is a focus on ensuring access to state parks for all Californians. It moves Californian’s engagement in state parks as visitors and supporters into central focus. This theme of ensuring access to state parks for all, coupled with the draft report’s other themes of encouraging healthy lifestyles and engaging youth, leave me with a palpable sense that this could be a promising new direction for state parks. But the draft report does not yet define a comprehensive approach that feels scaled to the challenge. This concept is vital.
Though still general, the draft report also identifies the following needed improvements which CSPF agrees are needed: create a sustainable funding source for state parks; shift the focus of DPR from a direct service agency to on that is more a leader/facilitator focusing its work on the core functions of natural and cultural resource management; and have DPR step more firmly into a role of skillfully guiding the work of others, partners of every stripe, from local government operators to nonprofits to concessionaires.
The recommendation that needs the most work is one that calls for a new support entity for state parks. The draft report lists a collection of functions to be performed by a new support entity that don’t seem to fit neatly together. Some of them are duplicative of functions that we and other organizations have been doing for decades, like fundraising and land acquisition. There is, at the core of this recommendation, an interesting and worthy concept of moving functions that might be better achieved by non-governmental personnel into the support entity. That is worth exploring. It is consistent with some ideas that CSPF and Save the Redwoods League have raised in our Parks Excellence Report. However, it needs a sharper focus and to be mapped more clearly to the roles already played by others in the community.
We have found the Commissioners accessible and open to talking through their ideas, as well as ours. The draft report has already engendered some strong dialogue amongst state parks stakeholders. We look forward to the evolution of the Parks Forward Commission’s recommendations. The Parks Forward Commission will distribute its next draft report in late July for comment and hopes to approve its final report in October 2014.
Meanwhile, I hope that the summer finds you on the way to some wonderful state parks destinations. Thanks for your support!
Friday, May 30, was the legislative deadline to pass bills out of their house of origin, which means there has been quite a bit of activity on bills we lobbied on during PAD 2014.
AB 1603 (Stone): This bill, which would have established the Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Program, was held in Appropriations Committee on May 23, and is unfortunately now considered a dead bill and will not be moving forward.
AB 2150 (Rendon): This “omnibus” state parks bill was successfully passed out of the Appropriations Committee (Y:12 N:4 A:1) and then off of the Assembly Floor (Y:56 N:16 A:7). It is now in the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 1086 (De León): The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2014 passed out of the Senate Appropriation Committee (Y:7 N:0 A:0) and will next be up for a vote on the Senate Floor. (Because this is a bond bill, it was not subject to the legislative deadline).
CSPF’s 12th annual Park Advocacy Day was a great success!
On May 6, 135 Participants from over 100 cities throughout California joined CSPF in Sacramento for our 12th Annual Park Advocacy Day. Park advocates spent the day learning about important state park issues and lobbying legislators in support of California’s 280 state parks.
Tuesday morning, park advocates attended an information session that included a presentation by Parks Forward Co‐Chair Senator Christine Kehoe (ret.) about the Parks Forward Initiative and the recently-released draft report from the Parks Forward Commission.
Later, CSPF presented our 2014 Legacy Award to Senator Kevin de León in recognition of his long-standing work protecting and advocating for California’s state parks. For several years, he has been a leading voice in the Los Angeles region and the Capitol for developing Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP). In the budget process last year, Senator De León helped ensure state funding for the development of LASHP was approved, facilitating progress toward a fully-implemented design for the park that will lead to enhanced community, regional, and statewide use. He authored Senate Bill 783 in 2013 to raise visibility about the need for additional investments in local, regional and state park infrastructure, and has introduced an updated park bond bill this session, Senate Bill 1086.
Following the presentation of the Legacy Award to Senator De León, advocates walked to the Capitol for our “California’s State Parks are Great Places” expo.
The expo featured booths related to themes from CSPF’s “California’s State Parks are Great Places” campaign that were staffed by partner organizations. Hundreds of people participated in the expo and learned more about the great things going on in California’s state parks. Participants enjoyed the expo activities such as solar astronomy and old-fashioned butter churning, as well as live music and talks.
Following the expo, advocates split into teams of three to five people to meet with legislative offices in the Capitol, where they spent the majority of the afternoon. Collectively, park advocates met with 116 legislative offices during Park Advocacy Day!
During their meetings, park advocates called on policymakers to:
When park advocates finished their meetings with legislators, they gathered together again one last time to hear from a robust panel of legislators including Senator Noreen Evans, Senator Fran Pavley, Assemblymember Ian Calderon, Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez and Assemblymember Mark Stone. DPR Director Major General Anthony Jackson also addressed the crowd following the legislative panel.
More information about Park Advocacy Day can be found online at http://www.calparks.org/whatwedo/advocacy/pad/.
California’s State Parks are Great Places to ...
In January 2014, CSPF launched a new campaign, “California’s State Parks are Great Places,” which celebrates all the amazing experiences that California’s 280 state parks offer us.
As part of our “California’s State Parks are Great Places” campaign, we asked state park users to submit photos and stories that help tell why state parks are great. To date, hundreds of photos have been submitted.
Many of the photos were displayed at the state Capitol during our expo held in conjunction with Park Advocacy Day. Photos will be on display at Yosemite National Park during the State Parks 150th Anniversary Celebration on June 30, as well as at the California State Fair taking place in July.
To view photos submitted, or to add your own photos to the collection, please visit calparks.org/greatplaces.
California’s State Parks are Great Places to ...
The Packard Summer Enrichment Program has completed its fifth successful year of getting kids outdoors and into parks.
Since its inception in 2009, more than 7,500 urban and low income youth – most of whom had never visited a state park or gone camping before – have had the opportunity to engage in a variety of educational experiences related to science, natural resources, ecology and more, all designed to improve their academic performance during the school year.
In February, CSPF convened state-wide educators, youth program providers, park professionals, policy experts and funders for a day-long conversation about park-based programs, summer learning, and ways to continue this vital and engaging partnership.
More than 50 educators, park professionals, policymakers, educators and funders gathered at the California Endowment in Oakland to share knowledge at a conference entitled "How to Pitch a Tent: Forging a Lasting Partnership between Park-Based Programs and Summer Learning," jointly sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Summer Matters Initiative. Participants heard from a range of experts in the field, and shared their own learnings through a creative and open process. The results from this day of learning will be used to help inform CSPF's efforts in summer learning as this programmatic initiative evolves and moves forward.
The Half Moon Bay Core Team members (from L to R): Tom Florek, John Salcido, Susan Boyer, Paula Tesch and Sandy Bigelow.
In 2012, CSPF added Half Moon Bay State Beach’s robust invasive plant removal effort to its Park Champions list of projects. Two years later, our new Core Leadership Team is helping take the park’s habitat restoration program to the next level.
Half Moon Bay State Beach staff has relied on volunteer assistance to repair the natural beach ecosystem since the early 1990s. The San Mateo Coast Sector has a shoestring staff and a small but dedicated volunteer team who work together to restore 40 miles of coastline and regain lost biodiversity due to development and the proliferation of invasive plants. Restoring native vegetation provides shelter and food for native wildlife, and helps protect the park’s endangered and threatened species, such as the snowy plover.
When asked about adding a Park Champions crew to the park’s existing volunteer team, San Mateo Sector Superintendent Paul Keel was uncertain. However, the Park Champions model for developing volunteer leadership has expanded the impact of established volunteer teams by allowing them to devote their focus to specialized projects, including growing native plants in the greenhouse, without placing an excessive burden on limited park staff.
“We had a little concern at the beginning about extending out further into a new partnership,” said Keel. “But after working together for the past couple of years, I couldn’t be happier with the results and look forward to even more success.”
Senior Environmental Scientist Joanne Kerbavaz has been equally impressed with the program and the new leadership team.
“The Park Champions Program has done just what it says, bringing us new champions to help protect and restore state parks,” said Kerbavaz. “The Park Champions volunteers have incredible dedication and skill. This program has brought us fantastic new Core Leaders who have taken on additional jobs beyond the scheduled work days; we have been able to take on projects that simply would not have been done without them.”
In addition to attending a Core Leader training to learn how to plan and lead Park Champions workdays, our leadership team has also participated in in-depth workshops about habitat restoration and native plants. Although they share a love of being outside and an interest in the environment, none of our new leaders had a background in native horticulture before volunteering in state parks. Avis Boutell, a volunteer who has worked in the at the Half Moon Bay native plant nursery for more than a decade, offered the team classroom training and hands-on field study exercises to help them learn how to independently lead small weeding and planting crews. It was an instant win-win partnership between Park Champions and the established volunteer team. As a result of Park Champions agreement to lead regularly scheduled weeding and planting days at Half Moon Bay, Avis and the nursery team can focus their efforts on growing native plants for Half Moon Bay and other parks on the San Mateo Coast.
Meet our new Core Leader team! Each of our new leaders bring unique skills and interests to Park Champions.
John Salcido recently retired from 25 years as a project manager and quality manager at AT&T. Park Champions and his fellow Core Leaders benefit from his years of project planning experience and organizational and team building skills. He created an online Dropbox for Core Leaders, where they can share planting guides, work plans, and reports on past events. To reduce the amount of pre-event preparation, he filled a backpack with all the supplies Core Leaders need to run a typical event. Currently, he is working on developing a more effective system for delivering water to the new planting sites, in order to enable work crews to maximize their time and impact. In the future, he would like to learn enough about habitat restoration to develop a plan with park staff for Park Champions to help them meet their larger goals. He started as a Park Champions volunteer because he wanted to work outside in a beautiful location. He’s continued volunteering and taken a leadership role because it’s less time consuming than many other kinds of volunteering, is a cause he believes in, and the other volunteers are friendly and welcoming.
Tom Florek is a “roving” Core Leader. He helps lead a wide range of Park Champions projects across northern California, although he enjoys working as a regular Park Champion volunteer just as much. He describes himself as coming to the program with a “brown thumb,” but really enjoys learning about native plants and is starting to be able to recognize a few common natives and invasives. He volunteers with Park Champions because he likes to joke around with his fellow volunteers, and is impressed by their dedication and pleasant attitudes. He also enjoys working with park staff, and learning more about park and area history every time he visits. If he wasn’t so happy living in San Francisco, he would move to Half Moon Bay.
Sandy Biglow became a Core Leader because she likes volunteering with people who share her enthusiasm for nature and working in a beautiful environment. In a world surrounded by machines, with a seemingly endless number of tasks keeping us busy in everyday life, volunteering in parks is a way for her to find balance in life and be in nature. Attending trainings has given her a greater understanding of the value of volunteer contributions to the parks; volunteer projects can “make a big difference for the parks and the state of California. It’s grand!”
Paula Tesch works full time as a Content Developer/Writer at Duarte, Inc., a presentation development agency based in San Francisco. As a Core Leader, she brings a wealth of experience working with different kinds of people, a pragmatic and sunny disposition, and youthful energy to her projects. “I always loved volunteering on my own, but being a Core Leader gives me a chance to work with a dedicated team and really get to know them. We get to hang out, help keep our parks beautiful, and share our enthusiasm with other people. You're doing a good deed, and you've got an ocean view. You can't beat the work days at Half Moon Bay.”
“Not only are our Park Champions Core Leaders well organized and hardworking, they are also a lot of fun to be around. The park employees thoroughly enjoy working with these new Super-Volunteers,” said Kerbavaz.
We’re certain you would enjoy volunteering with them, too. But even if you don’t have time to volunteer, they encourage you to visit Half Moon Bay and the surrounding beaches and enjoy the wide variety of wildlife activity you can find there. Go Park Champions!
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has an ongoing commitment to environmental leadership and supporting state parks. April marked the 13th year PG&E and their employees have partnered with CSPF during its April Month of Service. Over 500 PG&E employees and their families volunteered over 2,000 hours at 11 state parks across their 70,000 square mile service territory. This September, PG&E will sponsor five additional large scale projects in celebration of state parks 150th Anniversary and to fulfill PG&E’s unprecedented employee volunteerism goal of 50,000 hours in 2014.
PG&E volunteers joined Park Champions to complete many long-deferred maintenance and park beautification projects, including: repairing popular hiking trails and building retaining walls at Mount Diablo and Jack London, repairing decking and siding at China Camp, building new picnic tables and raised beds for a community garden at Candlestick Point, replacing invasive plants with native plants to restore habitat and beautify the landscape at Half Moon Bay, clearing fire roads of brush and obstacles at Henry Cowell Redwoods and removing graffiti and trash from waterways at Auburn.
Supporting State Parks
CSPF awards grants for California’s state parks to protect, enhance and preserve our parks. These grants, referred to as “discretionary grants,” are awarded three times a year through a competitive process. In February, 29 grants totaling $116,423 were awarded. Some of the awarded grants include:
Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association
Awarded: $3,000 for the South Barn Interpretive Center
State Park: Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
Benicia State Parks Association
Awarded: $2,500 for the enhancement of interpretive facilities at the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden
State Park: Benicia State Recreation Area
California Department of Parks and Recreation
Awarded: $1,588 for the Eelgrass Research Project
State Park: Tomales Bay State Park
Coastside State Parks Association
Awarded: $6,000 for the upgrade plant nursery facility
State Parks: San Mateo Coast Sector parks
Empire Mine Park Association
Awarded: $4,835 for an oral history and research program
State Park: Empire Mine State Historic Park
Environmental Protection Information Center
Awarded: $5,000 for the natural resource protection field project
State Parks: Tolowa Dunes State Park and Grizzly Creek State Park
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
Awarded: $10,000 for the Horse barn restoration
State Park: Wilder Ranch State Park
Friends of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Awarded: $6,000 for an educational volunteer event and Salton Sea Discovery Kids Camp transportation
State Park: Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Awarded: $4,800 for trail restoration
State Park: Picacho State Recreation Area
Malibu Creek Docents Association
Awarded: $5,000 for the visitor center native lawn and interpretive garden restoration
State Park: Malibu Creek State Park
Mendocino Area Parks Association
Awarded: $7,000 for a point-of-sale system for visitor centers and museums
State Parks: MacKerricher State Park, Mendocino Headlands State Park (Ford House), Van Damme State Park, Greenwood State Beach (Elk Visitor Center)
Portola & Castle Rock Foundation
Awarded: $8,000 for a membership drive and marketing campaign
State Parks: Portola Redwoods State Park and Castle Rock State Park
Save Mount Diablo
Awarded: $5,000 for the Mary Bowerman Research Program for Scientific Research
State Park: Mount Diablo State Park
A complete list of recipients can be found at calparks.org/grants.
Since the launch of the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in March 2012, it has grown to provide assistance to over 100 park partners (nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and others) that are supporting state parks via new operating agreements, donor agreements, or other formalized relationships.
CSPF is enormously proud of the accomplishments TAC has made over the past year. We have retained a team of excellent consultants and provided direct communications and fundraising assistance to a select group of park partners, held two regional in-person fundraising trainings, hosted a total of 10 webinars on diverse topics ranging from social media to planning your budget, and implemented an Office Hours Program where park partners receive individualized phone assistance from our fundraising and communications consultants. We also send out e-newsletters to share resources, announcements and invitations to our events, and provide interesting and relevant articles from our consultants as well as our own resources.
CSPF held its third annual convening for TAC on February 3 in Sacramento. The day was hugely successful both in terms of attendance and the energy and willingness on behalf of the park partners to collaborate and speak honestly about their challenges, what they have accomplished with TAC’s assistance, and what other ways TAC can be helpful.
Through TAC we have increased the capacity, ability, and effectiveness of park partners and hope to enable the success of new management and funding models aimed at achieving excellence in California’s state parks.
Giving to CSPF
As you're strolling through your favorite state park this summer, take a few moments to sit back and relax at a picnic table or bench and enjoy the breathtaking views of our California wilderness. If your perfect spot doesn’t have a place to sit, consider donating a picnic table or bench to provide an area for you and others to reflect.
For a tax-deductible gift of $2,500, you can place your own personalized picnic table or bench in a state park. Tables and benches are 8 feet long, made out of redwood, and can be personalized with an inscription of your choice.
For information on picnic tables and benches, please contact Allison See, Special Events Coordinator, at Allison@calparks.org or 415-262-4409.
Several times a year, members of our Californians Leadership Circle join us for private events throughout our beautiful state. This year they joined us as we took a hike at Año Nuevo State Park to visit a colony of northern elephant seals as they soaked up the sun. The group also spent some time with Robert Hanna, the great-great grandson of John Muir, learning the family history at the Muir home in Martinez.
You too can join us on these adventures by becoming a member of the Californians Leadership Circle at CSPF by increasing your annual giving to $1,000 and above. The Californians provide the generous donations that help maintain parks as well as provide educational programs and services that enhance the experiences for Californians and visitors from around the world.
Summertime is often when we make trips to visit our magnificent state parks. To help make your trip more enjoyable, don’t forget these tasks before you leave home:
Stuff You Want to Know
Thank you to all those who participate in of our monthly state parks photo contest. Every month you submit amazing images from state parks across California, and we love to see them.
The contest is open to anyone, so if you aren’t already participating, you should join today! It is a free, statewide contest located on our website. Winners are chosen each month, and they receive a variety of prizes, including a free CSPF membership and a Lowepro camera bag. For information on how to participate, visit our website calparks.org/gallery.
Thank you to our contest sponsor Lowepro (lowepro.com).
Recent Photos of the Month
Point Lobos State Reserve
Red Rock Canyon State Park
Garrapata State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Montaña de Oro State Park
Gaviota State Park
CSPF is currently involved in a partnership to rehabilitate and reactive Pond Farm inside Austin Creek State Recreation Area located in Guerneville, CA. Pond Farm was originally conceived during World War II as a sustainable sanctuary for artists, including renowned potter Marguerite Wildenhain. Marguerite fled Nazi persecution to start a new life in rural Sonoma County. She lived, worked and taught at Pond Farm, and was its longest resident.
Sadly, the passage of time, scarce funding and a lack of awareness about the site’s significance has left this historic property in vulnerable condition.
If you are interested in learning more about Pond Farm, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is featuring it in its exhibit, “Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism,” which runs through October 6.
Go to our website and sign up for Parklands, e-newsletter and action alerts to stay up-to-date on all state park issues. It’s easy, just go to calparks.org, and sign up under the “Stay Connected” headline on the upper right of the screen. You can also “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or watch our videos on our YouTube channel.
Our 2014 membership levels have new park passes to choose from. Here's a summary of each pass so you know which pass is the best choice for you:
SURF EXPLORER PASS - If you want to have unlimited access to Southern California beaches and parks this pass is the best for you. This hangtag is good at over 200 state parks.
Get this pass with the TOURING, PARK EXPLORER or CALIFORNIAN Memberships.
150th COMMEMORATIVE PASS - The Commemorative pass is good at more than 100 state parks, but does not include all Southern California beaches. The Historian Passport is valid for museum entry for four people at more than 35 historic parks.
Get these passes with the FREQUENT VISITOR Membership.
CALIFORNIA PARK EXPERIENCE PASS - This pass is good for over 70 state parks, but does not include Southern California beaches. Great for parks in Northern California and some Southern inland parks.
Get this pass with the PARKS PLUS Membership.
4 DAY-USE PARKING PASSES - These coupons are accepted at over 200 parks, including Southern California beaches. Redeemable for four day visits.
Get these passes with the PARK SAMPLER Membership.
For more details about park passes and membership levels, visit calparks.org/membership
Mike Bankert, Cheryl Brier, Cecille Caterson, Beverly Clark, Jerry Emory, Linsey Fredenburg-Humes, Elizabeth Goldstein, Nicole Gutierrez, Travis Hattori, Martha Henderson, Hilda Hollis, Kate Litzky, Jennifer McLin-Ramirez, Erin McNerney, Phoebe Oelheim, Gabrielle Ohayon, Justin Otero, Bella Podolsky, Jonah Punzal, Eleanor Robertson, Erland Sanborn, Allison See, Georgia Smith, Alexis Stoxen, Ashley Tittle and Traci Verardo-Torres
William Penn Mott, Jr. (1909-1992)
David Mandelkern, Chairman
Catherine M. Fisher, Vice Chairman
Elizabeth A. Lake, Secretary
Seth Teich, Treasurer
Elizabeth Goldstein, President
Donald J. Robinson, Chairman Emeritus
Henry F. Trione, Chairman Emeritus
Shirley Bogardus, Trustee Emeritus
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Michael U. Alvarez
Michael J. Brill
Donald E. Cooley
William G. Doolittle
William T. Duff
Diana Lu Evans
William H. Fain, Jr. FAII
Catherine M. Fisher
Manuel G. Grace
Sanford L. Hartman
Stephen A. Johnson
Gail E. Kautz
Virginia Chang Kiraly
Elizabeth A. Lake
Maidie E. Oliveau
Larry Palmer, CFP
Robert E. Patterson
Michael J. Pinto, PhD
Frank J. Quevedo
Donald J. Robinson
Roger M. Schrimp
W. James Scilacci
Michael L. Shannon
Mark B. Smith
Seth Teich, CFA
Peter H. Weiner
William Randolph Hearst, III
Alexander M. Power
Stuart N. Senator