December 2012 Parklands E-Newsletter

A Word From Our President

This year, like all others, ends with many holidays and rituals. Some years are one we want to linger over and others make us long to move on. 2012 is one of the latter. It was a tumultuous 12 months for our state parks, ranging from the lows of budget cuts and found funds to the highs of averted closures and key parks legislation.

However, the fall brought some reasons for optimism for the New Year. Perhaps the biggest is that the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has a new director! We welcome Major General Anthony Jackson and wish him the best in his new position. He has recently retired from a lifelong career in the Marines. In fact, he was instrumental in actions the Marines took that effectively undermined the proposed toll road through San Onofre State Beach and Camp Pendleton. He also spent the latter years of his career managing all the Marine bases in the Southwestern United States. This gives him enormous land management experience overseeing experts in resource protection of all kinds. I had an opportunity to have a brief lunch meeting with him several weeks ago. He is passionate and articulate about state parks. We look forward to working with him and his team at DPR.

But when I review the year as a whole, what has stood out most of all this year is how wonderful you, our members, truly are. You believe state parks are worth defending, you strive to know the nuances of the politics of state parks, and you support us – with your donations, volunteerism and voices – through thick and thin.

Thank you for your support this past year. I look forward to 2013 with a fresh resolve to find solutions for our ailing state parks system. I can't wait to see what we can do together in the next year.

Until then, I'm wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Double Your Commitment to State Parks

As we come to the end of the year, we are extremely grateful for your ongoing support and commitment to our state parks.

Next year's budget battle will be daunting, and our need is great. That is why we are very grateful that the Donner Foundation and the CSPF Board of Trustees has issued a special challenge grant to our members.

To help us in this ongoing fight, you can double your year-end tax-deductible donation with this matching gift program. That will mean twice as much support for our state parks.

Make a meaningful contribution to your state parks this holiday season. But hurry! This match only lasts until midnight on December 31.

Save the Dates

Mark your calendars for two upcoming events you won’t want to miss. Online registration for these events will open on our website after the New Year.

Park Advocacy Day

Our 11th Annual Park Advocacy Day will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. If you’re interested in coming to Sacramento to lobby policymakers and speak out about the importance of state parks, this is the event for you!

Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup

Our 16th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by PG&E is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2013. Volunteers will be needed to help complete environmental improvement projects at parks statewide, so mark your calendars!

Winter Clearance in Our Online Store

Now is the best time to buy holiday gifts from CSPF with 40% off select merchandise during our Winter Clearance Sale! CSPF vests, hoodies, t-shirts, and more will make unique and eco-friendly holiday gifts.

While you're there, check out some of our brand-new merchandise, including specialty and limited-edition items such as walking sticks, branded medallions, note cards and DVDs.

All store proceeds help support the work of CSPF and allow us to continue as Your Voice for Parks. And remember, CSPF members receive a special 5% discount on their store purchases. If you aren't a member, you can join today and immediately get the 5% discount.

Store Spotlight
In 2011, CSPF's Hidden Stories Conference focused on Russian influences on the California state parks system. From that event came the idea for a remarkable book: "Russian California: Hidden Stories from Fort Ross & Beyond." This 204-page, full-color book, written in both English and Russian, is now available for purchase in our store. It incorporates striking photos and paintings, as well as short essays and letters, from the trials and joys of the many Russians who came to California in the early 1800s. 100% of the proceeds from this book go to help Fort Ross.

Volunteer with the Park Champions Program

A huge thank you to our Park Champions volunteer teams for making this our most productive and fun-filled year ever! Park Champions will complete over 90 volunteer projects at 19 parks across the state by year’s end. Projects have included restoring a historic orchard, replanting Yosemite Slough, building and repairing trails, constructing split rail fences, improving native habitat, planting gardens, and improving campsites. We will be adding many new parks in the coming year.

Would you like to volunteer to help with maintenance projects at your local state park? We have six remaining workdays before the New Year and we would love your help. Please join us at: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, China Camp State Park, Chino Hills State Park, Olompali State Historic Park, or Montaña de Oro State Park. Visit our website to see a description of current projects and a map and calendar of upcoming events. Hope to see you at a workday soon!

Travel the World with CSPF

CSPF has partnered with Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to provide you access to some amazing travel tours that will take you around the world.

These tours offer unique educational, cultural and historical experiences that we think you will really love, including access to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Sites worldwide. Upcoming tours include: Cuba, Belize and Guatemala, Tanzania, Holland and Belgium, Spain, France, Alaskan Glaciers and China.

Find out more about how you can travel the world and help CSPF at the same time.

If you mention "CSPF" while booking your trip, we receive a percentage of the proceeds. You'll also get a special CSPF Travel Kit which includes a fold-out carrying bag and luggage tag. It's a new, unique way to help support our work for state parks while you go on the trip of a lifetime.

New Round of Grants Awarded

CSPF recently awarded seven discretionary grants totaling $39,228 to organizations working to improve and enhance our state parks. If you are interested in applying to CSPF for a discretionary grant, the next deadline is February 1, 2013 with decisions by April 15.

The grants awarded were:

1. $1,000 to DPR to support a volunteer appreciation event for volunteers serving Carpinteria State Beach.

2. $2,228 to the Fort Ross Conservancy to cover equipment costs (spotting scopes, tripods and binoculars) for a new Marine Mammal Monitoring and Education Program. This program will provide students and community volunteers with the opportunity to learn about local marine ecology and engage them in observing and monitoring marine mammals and marine life along Fort Ross’ shores.

3. $6,000 capacity-building grant to the Friends of Channel Coast State Parks to strengthen the organization’s capacity to support the seven state parks in its district.

4. $6,000 to the Redwood Parks Association to install Native American Tolowa Indian cultural protection and trail head signage in Tolowa Dunes State Park.

5. $6,000 to TreePeople to support a training for volunteer supervisors to teach them restoration techniques, who will then lead volunteer teams in tree planting and restoration work in Malibu Creek and Topanga state parks.

6. $8,000 to the Mountain Parks Foundation for a new donor management system to increase its capacity to raise funds for Henry Cowell and Big Basin Redwoods state parks.

7. $10,000 to the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association for Friends4Picacho, to support start-up costs to help Friends4Picacho become its own organization and the purchase of kayaks to launch a revenue-generating kayak rental program in Picacho State Recreation Area.

Giving to CSPF this Holiday Season

Funding your Gift with Stock

Lower your 2012 tax bill while you help CSPF with a gift of appreciated stock. Capital gains taxes are set to rise January 1, so donating stock now makes especially good sense. Find out more on our website.

Are You Prepared?

With tax law changes looming effective January 1, now is a good time to re-examine your financial, estate and tax plans. To help guide you in collecting and organizing your thoughts, information, and documents, click here to download our free "Will Planning Wizard."

Defend What's Yours Challenge Wrap Up

Thank you to all who participated in our Defend What’s Yours Challenge!

Between August and November, over 400 park supporters took CSPF’s Defend What’s Yours Challenge. During the challenge, participants set a goal to complete at least one activity for each of the Top 5 Ways to defend state parks: Be a Defender; Visit; Volunteer; Speak Out and Share.

Click here to view our Defend What's Yours Photo Gallery. What a great way for folks to show their support for state parks!

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Mike Ryan for winning the Photo of the Month for November! Mike’s photo “Along Sonoma Creek” from Sugarloaf Ridge State Park captures the essence of the rushing water so well. Click here to see a larger version of Mike’s photograph.

If you would like to win a Lowepro camera bag, Chipotle gift card and CSPF membership like Mike did, join our free photo contest today and compete for the honor of the next Photo of the Month!

Thank you to our contest sponsors Lowepro and Chipotle!

Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

For a Malibu splash that's not in a chlorinated pool, head to Malibu Creek State Park. Flowing from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific, the park's namesake creek passes through Rock Pool, a lagoon the size of a baseball diamond with semi-submerged boulders mimicking base plates. The surrounding orange sandstone walls with Swiss-cheese pockets exude such an out-of-this-world appearance it's not surprising that they were cast as a backdrop in the original Planet of the Apes. Pack a lunch and enjoy it at a lone picnic table under the shade of nearby sycamores. Rock Pool can be accessed by several trails; we recommend making it an afternoon doubleheader by taking the 3-mile (round-trip) hike that begins on the South Grassland Trail and gains just enough elevation to provide panoramic views. That's an inside-the-park home run!

Malibu Creek State Park can be reached by driving south on Las Virgenes Rd. from the 101 Freeway in Lost Hills or north on Malibu Canyon Rd. from PCH in Malibu. At the intersection with Mulholland Hwy. (6.3 miles from the coast and 3.3 miles from freeway), turn west and drive 0.15-mile to the trailhead on the left. Park on either side of the road and begin hiking into the park. After 2/3 of a mile, turn right on a wide trail named Crags Road. Stroll alongside the rocky bed of Malibu Creek for another 2/3 of a mile to a marked junction. Turn left, walking a short distance toward a metal bridge; turn right just before the bridge, following the creek up to Rock Pool. No dogs.

If you'd like to receive more tips like this emailed right to your inbox every Thursday, sign up at weekendsherpa.com.