April 2012 Parklands E-Newsletter

A Word From Our President

Some of you may have seen recent press reports that said a large number of state parks on the closure list are going to stay open. Heaven knows, no one would be rejoicing over that news more than the staff at CSPF, but alas, it isn’t accurate. Although press reports from a hearing of the Little Hoover Commission last week included such news, it may have raised hopes in vain. The Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) later released a clarification to those stories and affirmed there is still much work ahead to keep open most of the 70 parks proposed for closure.

So here are the facts to date, as we know them. First, 11 parks on the closure list have already received reprieves of some kind: sometimes because a donor has stepped forward to provide funding to the state to continue operating the park; in some cases because another governmental entity is taking over operations; or in a small number of parks, a new revenue source has been identified. But let’s be clear, most of those are one-year agreements only, and with few exceptions, the longest horizon for these reprieves is five years. Second, there are many other parks where there are active discussions going on with nonprofits, cities and regional agencies, and private donors; DPR’s list includes 24 in all.

We are pleased to have added to these reprieve numbers. We recently announced three operating grants that will help keep Jug Handle State Natural Reserve, Los Encinos State Historic Park and Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park open for one year. Funds generously donated to CPSF by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation are aiding Jug Handle and Santa Susana Pass. Los Encinos is remaining open thanks to an anonymous gift we received.

In addition to these early grants, we are happy to announce that we are now calling for proposals for our new Park Operating Grants. This new grant opportunity is for qualifying non-profits entering into operating agreements with DPR to keep a state park open. Proposals are due April 23 and information about how to apply may be found on our website. These new Park Operating Grants are will be made possible by generous funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Thomas J. Long Foundation. These foundations have supported the work of CSPF for many years. We are thrilled that both have stepped up their support to help keep a number of state parks open.

In addition, we have made nine modest discretionary grants to benefit projects in a number of state parks. A complete list of these grants can be found in a story later in this newsletter.

In a similar vein, we held our first Technical Assistance Center meeting in Sacramento the day after Park Advocacy Day. The Technical Assistance Center will be providing assistance to the organizations trying to keep parks open, such as legal support in negotiating an operating agreement with DPR and developing operating plans.

Speaking of Park Advocacy Day, 160 participants went to Sacramento to meet with their legislators and attend key hearings during our annual lobby day this year. It was our 10th Park Advocacy Day! We are pleased that we had so many new folks this year to help us grow the army fighting to protect our state parks. There is more information about the day later in this newsletter.

I hope to see at least some of you soon, at our 15th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Clean-Up. That is just around the corner on Saturday, April 14. It is a day to literally leave a park better off than you found it! What better way to celebrate Earth Day than at a state park near you?

Volunteers Needed for 15th Annual Earth Day Next Saturday

Join CSPF and presenting sponsor PG&E for the 15th annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup on Saturday, April 14. Volunteers are still needed at many locations to help complete large-scale improvements and renovations at our state parks.

Registration is still open for the following locations:

  • Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park (Napa County)
  • Dockweiler State Beach (Los Angeles County)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline (Alameda County)
  • Millerton Lake State Recreation Area (Fresno County)
  • Montaña de Oro State Park (San Luis Obispo County)
  • Patrick's Point State Park (Humboldt County)
  • Rio de Los Angeles State Park (Los Angeles County)
  • San Onofre State Beach (Orange County)
  • Sonoma Coast State Beach (Sonoma County)

To register as a volunteer, please visit our website. Pre-registration allows us to plan for tools, materials and refreshments. Groups of 10 may sign up under one name. Sign up today!

This event is made possible by the financial support of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Edison International, Chevron, Oracle and Virgin America, and the in-kind donations from Chipotle Mexican Grill, Two Degrees Food and Re:newal Premium Spring Water.

See Pirates on the Big Screen at ParkFilm Fest

Join us, the Environmental Media Association (EMA), and our EMA Board Celebrity Host Committee for a Pirates of the Caribbean movie marathon at our annual ParkFilm Fest on Saturday, May 5 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles!

Because the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed in part at Pescadero State Beach, Leo Carrillo State Park, and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, we are celebrating them with a day-long film festival.

Not only can you see the first three Pirates movies on the big screen, but there will also be food trucks and a Q&A with various actors and members of the production team. Proceeds from the event go to CSPF to help offset severe state budget cuts that threaten all California state parks.

Get individual movie tickets or packages of multiple movies plus fun extras (packages include a VIP Paramount Studios tram tour!). Visit our website for more information and ticket sales. Hope to see you there!

Thank you to our Diamond Plus Sponsor Toyota, our Diamond Sponsor Disney and our partner Environmental Media Association. To become a sponsor please contact Davida Hartman at 415-262-4403.

Celebrity Host Committee:
Lance Bass
Ed Begley Jr.
Emmanuelle Chriqui
Frances Fisher
Daryl Hannah
Wendie Malick
Amy Smart

Successful Park Advocacy Day

On March 20, more than 160 park supporters gathered in Sacramento to participate in our 10th Annual Park Advocacy Day. During the course of this one day, advocates visited all 120 legislative offices in the Capitol, urging policymakers to keep California’s state parks open, protected and well-maintained.

This powerful showing of support for California's state parks will be felt in Sacramento for months to come as legislators grapple with important funding and policy issues that will have lasting impacts on California's state park system. For more information about our 10th Annual Park Advocacy Day, please visit our online recap of this great event!

2012 Legacy Award Recipient Assemblymember Jared Huffman

CSPF honored Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-Marin) with our 2012 Legacy Award, in recognition of his long-standing work protecting and advocating for California's state parks. Assemblymember Huffman was presented this award during CSPF's award reception at the conclusion of Park Advocacy Day on March 20 in Sacramento. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Legacy Award, CSPF created a video commemorating the many park heroes it has recognized over the years. Watch the video on YouTube!


CSPF Awards New Round of Grants

Each quarter, CSPF offers competitive grants to qualified non-profit groups, California state park units and park agencies that support the mission of state parks. CSPF just announced the latest round of grants. Nine grants totaling $44,999 to benefit a number of state parks were awarded to organizations on March 29, 2012.

The deadline for the next round of grants is August 1. Find out more and apply for a grant on our website.

Newest Grant Recipients:

  • Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. $6,000 to update the Jack London website and purchase database software.
  • William C. Velasquez Institute. $6,000 to support Earth Day Latino in Los Angeles State Historic Park, an event that engages Latino families and youth in environmental education enrichment activities, including overnight camping.
  • The Outdoor Foundation. $6,000 to support Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in Los Angeles State Historic Park. This two-day event will engage 250 young leaders in identifying and implementing youth-led projects to address environmental problems.
  • South Yuba River Park Association. $2,500 to support a three-day, 150th anniversary celebration of South Yuba River State Park and its historic covered bridge and barn.
  • South Yuba River Citizens League. $5,000 for its River Ambassadors Volunteer Program. Trained volunteers will monitor river crossings and promote safe boating and environmentally responsible practices in South Yuba River State Park.
  • Point Lobos Foundation. $6,000 to support Summer Adventures, a two-week, environmental education enrichment program for underserved children in the Monterey Bay area.
  • University Corporation at Monterey Bay. $5,000 for Return of the Natives, a program that engages local schools, students and community volunteers in the restoration of dunes in Fort Ord Dunes State Park to native habitat.
  • Ventana Wilderness Alliance. $4,000 to support its Youth in Wilderness Program, which involves youth and young adults in trail restoration projects in state parks in the Big Sur region.
  • Napa Valley State Parks Association. $3,500 to purchase a used golf cart to aid volunteers in campground monitoring and maintenance projects.

Closing Parks is Bad for Business

With only a few months away from the park closure deadline, business leaders from across the state are joining with us to help share the message that Closing Parks is Bad for Business. Over the last few weeks, more than 15 Chambers of Commerce and Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus have joined nearly 100 endorsers of the Save Our State Parks Campaign – and we expect many more endorsements over the coming weeks.

Business Leaders Urge Governor Brown to keep State Parks Open
More than 150 business leaders signed onto a recent letter to Governor Brown urging him to keep state parks open. The letter, coordinated jointly by CSPF and Environment CA, highlights the negative impacts that closing parks will have on local economies and the business that depend on park visitors for survival.

Regional Economic Fact Sheets
CSPF has partnered with the Trust for Public Land to create a series of eight factsheets highlighting the economic impacts of California’s 279 state parks. The series includes one statewide factsheet and seven regional factsheets and uses data collected in a recent study by BBC Research and Consulting for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Volunteer in a State Park Near You

April is a busy month for Park Champions, with 5 volunteer work days spanning across the state. Become a volunteer, invest your time and energy to helping our state parks, and have fun while you are at it! Sign up to volunteer online.

The following work projects are appropriate for anyone 14 years and older. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

April 7, 9am-1pm, Chino Hills, Inland Empire:
This work day will focus on trail improvements to the Hills for Everyone Trail. Park Champions is currently working to recruit 20 trail volunteers to attend a trail crew leadership training this summer. Stay tuned!

April 15, 9am-1pm, Olompali, Marin County/Bay Area:
This project will focus on fence construction and repair.

April 21, 9am-2pm, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles:
This work day will focus on cutting a brand new trail to create a safer route for park users to enjoy!

April 28, 9am-2pm, Austin Creek, Sonoma County:
This work day will focus on removing fencing in the back country area of the park. This work day is in partnership with Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.

April 29, 9am-1pm, Russian Gulch, Mendocino County:
This work day will focus on rehabilitating the Fern Canyon Trail.

Hope you can join us for one of these upcoming events! To register for a work day, visit our website. By clicking on the date/time details, you will access an online registration page. Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with other details. Registration is important so we can accurately plan for the day. Volunteers are much needed and appreciated.

Fort Ross Bicentennial Conference

Fort Ross is turning 200 this year and celebrations are plentiful. Come join those interested in all aspects of Fort Ross and Russian American History in California on April 23 through 27 at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa and Fort Ross State Historic Park. American and Russian experts will be presenting their research over three days, with plenty of field trips thrown in. The event will also bring together artists and performers from around the world covering the breadth of the site's multicultural community. For more information and to register, visit the conference website. For information about additional events this year visit Fort Ross Interpretive Association's website.

Leave More than Footprints

You can help make sure state parks are still here and thriving for future generations by planning a gift to CSPF today. For example, you can designate a specific amount or a percentage in your will or living trust for CSPF, leave funds remaining in your retirement plan to CSPF (this can be especially tax-wise), or make a gift to CSPF that will provide income to you and/or another person for life.

Legacy donors become members of CSPF’s William Penn Mott, Jr. Legacy Society with invitations to insider briefings, special events, tours, and more. To find out how you can leave more than footprints, contact Martha Henderson, Major Gifts Officer, at 415-262-4404 or martha@calparks.org.

CSPF Photo Contest

Congratulations to photo contestant Richard Zimmerman for winning the Photo of the Month for March! His tranquil image, “Ritchey Creek,” was taken Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. It puts us in a very Zen place. Click here to see a larger version of Richard’s photograph.

If you would like to win a Lowepro backpack, credits from Adolph Gassers, and CSPF membership like Richard did, join our free photo contest today and compete for the honor of the next Photo of the Month!

Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Just Bluffing

The Sonoma Coast seems to have more beaches than San Francisco has hills; after Bodega Bay the choices go on for 13 miles. For an easy intro to beach hopping, connect Shell Beach to Blind Beach along the tranquil, bluff-top Kortum Trail. Stroll for 2.3 miles (one-way) across sturdy boardwalks, high above craggy coves smothered by crashing waves, and past ancient sea stacks. Raptors like to cruise this coast too—from red-tailed hawks to great horned owls and white-tailed kites. After 1.3 miles you'll notice a giant heap of rocks—actually an ancient sea stack—that adventurous types climb for the king of coast views. The trail veers inland, up and over a hill, and ends at the dark sands of Blind Beach. Linger here as long as you like, admiring the jagged outcrops and wave-sculpted Arched Rock.

Start the hike at the Shell Beach parking lot, which is 7 miles north of Bodega Bay on Hwy 1. The Kortum Trail runs north and south; for the route mentioned, go north toward Goat Rock and Blind Beach. No dogs.

Sign up for weekly travel tips emailed every Thursday at weekendsherpa.com.

Bonus Tip for Members: Camping reservations are open for October 2012. Don't forget to get up to 10% off your camping reservation by booking your campsite through CSPF.