SAN FRANCISCO -- The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) today announces it has awarded a new round of grants totaling $250,000 to 13 organizations that are working to support underfunded state parks in California. These grants are given to nonprofit organizations that have partnered with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to either operate or support operations of a particular state park.
“We are pleased to have given more than $1 million over the past two years, first to help keep our parks open and available, and now to continue direct improvements in state parks,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of CSPF. “These partner organizations are doing great work alongside DPR to directly impact positive change in our state parks, and we are happy to support their good work with this new round of grants.”
When 70 parks were facing imminent closure in early 2012, CSPF began offering these “Park Partnership Grants” in order to assist nonprofit and governmental organizations that stepped forward to make certain our state parks would remain open.
Since then, the grant criteria have been updated to look beyond the crisis of keeping parks open and begin to define a new future for the state parks system. The new grant criteria supports five key themes: Celebrate Our Enduring Heritage, Welcome Visitors, Teach Californians, Safeguard Resources, and Connect Individuals, Organizations, and Partners. These themes, or “vision elements,” were developed from CSPF’s 2011 Park Excellence Project which outlined a vision of excellence for state parks while providing a roadmap for the work ahead.
“The success that Stewards has achieved in Austin Creek State Recreation Area is due to the encouragement and support of the California State Parks Foundation,” said Michele Luna, executive director for Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and grant recipient. “Going from campgrounds that were closed, we now offer a new camping reservation system, Junior Ranger programs, overnight programs for youth groups, a well-maintained campground and hiking trails and back-country camping opportunities in a magnificent wilderness area of Sonoma County.”
The funding from this new round of grants will support a variety of projects ranging from building a new playground and volunteer center to expanding access to parks for underserved communities.
"In the absence of state resources, the grant will provide much needed funding to assist the Benicia State Parks Association in fulfilling its expanded role in developing and delivering education/interpretation programs for park visitors," said Roy Stutzman, treasurer of the Benicia State Parks Association and grant recipient.
This is the fourth round of Park Partnership Grants that CSPF has awarded since May 2012, bringing the grand total to over $1 million allocated through 52 grants.
“This generous grant from the California State Parks Foundation will help the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association achieve our education mission--to empower each visitor with knowledge and appreciation for the northern California coastal environment, and inspire them with a sense of stewardship,” said Tanya Smart, president of Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association and grant recipient.
Angel Island Conservancy
Awarded: $20,000 for New Orientation Hub – Programming & Design
State Park: Angel Island State Park (San Francisco)
Quote from Organization: "AIC is delighted to be the recipient of this grant from the California State Parks Foundation. It is an honor to be awarded a grant out of such an amazing group of candidates. This grant will enable us to move forward with the programming and conceptual design of the most critical component of our recently completed Interpretive Master Plan. We look forward to beginning this process and making CSPF proud for their selection of AIC as a grant recipient." - Greg Johnson, board president of Angel Island Conservancy
Benicia State Parks Association
Awarded: $12,000 for education/interpretation
State Park: Benicia Capitol State Historic Park (Benicia)
Quote from Organization: "The Benicia State Parks Association appreciates the continuing support from the California State Parks Foundation for the recent award of a $12,000 Partnership Grant to support Education/Interpretation activities at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park. In the absence of state resources, the grant will provide much needed funding to assist the Benicia State Parks Association in fulfilling its expanded role in developing and delivering education/interpretation programs for park visitors." - Roy Stutzman, treasurer of Benicia State Parks Association
Central Coast State Parks Association
Awarded: $20,000 for the Spooner Ranch House Visitor Center
State Park: Montaña de Oro State Park (Morro Bay)
Quote from Organization: "Central Coast State Parks Association is just thrilled to have the partnership and support of the California State Parks Foundation to finish the rehabilitation of the historic Spooner Ranch House at Montana de Oro State Park. This house is important because it one of the last standing coastal ranch houses still standing on public property, and it also acts as the Visitors Center for the 9,000 acre park. The park sees more than 700,000 visitors each year. Because of the support of the CSPF, we will be able to finish exhibits and open the entire house for park visitors." - Mary Golden, executive director of Central Coast State Parks Association
Coastside State Parks Association
Awarded: $20,000 for the Green Valley Camping Feasibility Plan
State Parks: Gray Whale Cove State Beach and Montara State Beach (Pacifica)
Quote from Organization: "Thanks to a generous grant from the California State Parks Foundation, Coastside State Parks Association is pleased to be able to launch the development of the Green Valley Camping Feasibility Plan. Working collaboratively with CA State Parks and other land managing agencies, a camping area plan to serve visitors near the Gray Whale Cove and Montara State beaches and many other planned and existing hiking and equestrian trails will be developed. We look forward to contacting our other partners, engaging the community to develop this concept into a feasibility plan, and working together to build and open the camping facility." - Cecily Harris, executive director of Coastside State Parks Association
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association
Awarded: $2,500 for the upgrade of volunteer facilities at Cuyamaca’s Cedar Grove, Phase I
State Park: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (San Diego)
Quote from Organization: "We of CRSPIA are happy to support the Volunteers In Parks (VIPs) of Cuyamaca as they perform essential services for our visitors, like nature walks and trail maintenance and trail patrol. They provide thousands of hours of service to the visitors each year, and spend hundreds of dollars per person a year to pay their own expenses. They even do fundraising events to help us pay for things like their radios and training sessions. It is a pleasure and honor to help them out." - Serena Hill, president of Cuyamaca Rancho State Interpretive Association
Friends of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Awarded: $7,000 for Playground Rebuild
State Park: Salton Sea State Recreation Area (Palm Springs)
Quote from Organization: "On behalf of the Friends of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, I would like to thank CSPF for their continued support of our organization and park. This $7,000 grant takes us about half way to our goal of $15,000 to replace and update the park's playground equipment – a fantastic start! Since overcoming the threat of closure in 2012, our focus has been to increase the viability of our park by enhancing visitor experiences. Renovating our outdated playground will give local children and those visiting from out of the area a more positive experience and bring them back to visit again and again." Bill Meister, president of FOSSSRA
Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA)
Awarded: $30,000 for the MAPA Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area Project
State Park: Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area (Garberville)
Quote from Organization: "[CSPF is] the reason we are able to follow our mission overall, and successfully operate Standish-Hickey." - Carolyne Cathey, executive director of Mendocino Area Parks Association
Napa Valley State Parks Association
Awarded: $10,000 for the Pioneer Cemetery Rehabilitation Plan
State Park: Bothe-Napa Valley State Park (Calistoga)
Quote from Organization: "NVSPA wishes to thank the Foundation for awarding us a $10,000 grant to help restore the historic Pioneer Cemetery at Bothe-Napa State Park. Without the continued support of CSPF, we would have been unable to move forward on many of our important projects: repairs to the visitor center, archival filming of the Bale Grist Mill, restoration of our historic cabins, and now restoration of the historic Pioneer Cemetery. Great things can be achieved when partners work together!" - Jeanne Marioni
Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association
Awarded: $8,000 for the Point Cabrillo Marine Science Interpretive Exhibit
State Park: Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park (Mendocino)
Quote from Organization: “This generous grant from the California State Parks Foundation will help the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association achieve our education mission--to empower each visitor with knowledge and appreciation for the northern California coastal environment, and inspire them with a sense of stewardship.” Tanya Smart, president of Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association
Portola and Castle Rock Foundation
Awarded: $25,000 for Rebuilding the Portola Redwoods State Park Ramada
State Park: Portola Redwoods State Park (Los Gatos)
Quote from Organization: “Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, in conjunction with Save the Redwoods League and Peninsula Open Space Trust, are pleased to be the recipient of a Park Partnership Grant dedicated to the reconstruction of the Ramada and a piece of California state park history at Portola Redwoods State Park.” - Julie Zack, member of the Board of Directors for Portola and Castle Rock Foundation
Sonoma Ecology Center
Awarded: $30,000 for expanding access at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for underrepresented communities
State Park: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (Santa Rosa)
Quote from Organization: “As we hone our operations skills, we see an increasing need to reach out to people who don't know about our park, especially those who lack experience that allows them to relate to and benefit from the resources a park like Sugarloaf offers. This grant is exciting for us as it provides an opportunity to try out some innovative ideas to help us bridge this gap. We are very grateful to California State Parks Foundation for this opportunity!” -Richard Dale, executive director of Sonoma Ecology Center
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Awarded: $30,000 for Austin Creek State Recreation Area Operations and Maintenance
State Park: Austin Creek State Recreation Area (Guerneville)
Quote from Organization: “The success that Stewards has achieved in Austin Creek SRA is due to the encouragement and support of the California State Parks Foundation. Going from campgrounds that were closed, we now offer a new camping reservation system, Junior Ranger programs, overnight programs for youth groups, a well-maintained campground and hiking trails and back-country camping opportunities in a magnificent wilderness area of Sonoma County.” Michele Luna, executive director of Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Valley of the Moon Natural History Association
Awarded: $30,000 for the Environmental Appreciation to Encourage Future Stewards
State Park: Jack London State Historic Park (Sonoma)
Quote from Organization: "The California State Park Foundation, with their financial support and technical assistance, has made it possible for Jack London State Historic Park to broaden its efforts to engage Californians – particularly our youth- in conservation stewardship with relevant environmental education programs for our schools and community nonprofit organizations. Their early and continued support has helped strengthen and diversify our funding base and guided the development of programming that is making the park accessible to wide and diverse audiences. They are a critical, important and deeply appreciated partner in efforts to celebrate parks as part of our enduring historical and cultural heritage."
August 27, 2014