After the full-tilt scramble to the finish line of July 1, the turbulent water has stilled a little. Some things are clearer and some things are clear as mud. In late June the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, the new state budget that was a little bit better than we expected: it included some additional funding for state parks. That funding buys more time to finish some of the partner deals that are underway, many with non-profit organizations.
So many parks that had uncertain futures have now been given short-term reprieve. For this we are very thankful. However, it would be wrong to heave a sigh of relief and think that the hard work is done; quite the opposite.
Of all the parks on the closure list that have reprieves, as many as 25 percent have agreements in effect for only one year and another 26 percent for only three years. In some cases these reprieves reopen a park for only one or two days a week. This is all to say that even the parks that have reprieves are still very vulnerable.
I want to be clear that I mean no disservice to the extraordinary efforts that many organizations, individuals and the Department of Parks and Recreation have undertaken to get to these reprieves. It is BIG! It just means NO sighs of relief are allowed! Everyone out there keeping a park open needs our continued attention and help.
At CSPF we are so pleased to be able to help. With the assistance of some of our donors, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Thomas J. Long Foundation, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and an anonymous donor, we have been able to supply technical assistance and grants to many of the nonprofits that are either raising funds or stepping up to operate a state park. To date, we have awarded $835,606 in direct grants to 27 organizations to help 29 parks.
But perhaps most importantly of all, we stand steadfastly committed to ensuring that the state of California steps back in to fund state parks in a sustainable way. Our state parks must have core funding that is adequate to the needs of a vast and varied state parks system. So, alongside our continuing efforts to keep parks open, we will be constantly reminding our elected officials that we are not out of the woods yet. We have a growing army of citizens who are willing to defend what is theirs and who are helping deliver that very important message.
Thanks for all you do to keep us going!
P.S. Please vote for California State Parks in the Raley's NickelAid contest so that we can be the winner of the $100,000 donation! Voting ends Monday, so please cast a vote on Facebook today!
On June 27, Gov. Brown signed the FY 2012-13 Budget with a little added funding for state parks. The budget does not “save” state parks. However, the budget does preserve some of the additional funding for state parks that the Legislature proposed in the final budget.
(1) The governor approved redirecting $13 million from existing unspent Prop 84 funds to a new State Park Enterprise Fund that can be only used for capital projects intended to generate new revenue for state parks, or to help them improve fee collection. Note: this is not new money; it was already in DPR’s budget.
(2) The governor approved $3 million from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund and $7 million from the Motor Vehicle Fuel Account that can be used for state park operations.
(3) The governor did veto some pieces of the Sustainable Parks Proposal, including $7 million of the originally proposed $10 million fund transfer from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund to State Parks, and the transfer of $10 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to State Parks.
We are pleased to see the funding for the State Park Enterprise Fund included in this budget, and we support efforts to identify new opportunities for DPR to generate revenues and more efficiently collect user fees. However, this funding is another temporary solution. State parks continue to face a budget crisis resulting in service reductions and unprecedented closures. In other words, we are not out of the woods yet.
CSPF recently awarded 10 grants totaling $247,520 — three Park Operating Grants and seven grants supporting Donor Agreements—to organizations working to keep parks off the closure list and open and accessible to the public. This brings the total grants awarded so far to $835,606 given to 27 organizations to help 29 state parks. These grants were made possible by generous funding from Chipotle Mexican Grill, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Thomas J. Long Foundation and an anonymous donor. To view a list of grants recently awarded and learn more about deadlines and how to apply for any of our grants, please visit our website.
AAA Northern California has teamed up with CSPF to provide much-needed funding for our state parks. From July 1 through August 30, AAA Northern California’s Summer Roadtrips campaign will donate five dollars to CSPF for each AAA Insurance quote completed within a AAA branch office. Getting a quote is free. The money will help support the CSPF’s “Answer the Call” fundraising campaign.
You can help by visiting your local AAA branch and becoming a part of the AAA Summer Roadtrips campaign. Join us to spread awareness, increase visitors and raise money for our state parks!
You can also help by playing Roadology trivia on Facebook! Roadology is a new game from AAA that is part trivia and part scavenger hunt. Explore nature, road trips and AAA history by answering questions about state parks. There are hints and answers hidden throughout the web to help you stay on the right track. Each correct answer earns money for state parks in Northern California, Nevada and Utah. Three Road Trippers will win prizes every week. Play on Facebook today! New questions are released weekly until September 9.
This year’s Golden Poppy Awards Gala will be a Stardust Soiree taking place on Saturday, September 22 at Will Rogers State Historic Park. It will be a magical night under the stars to celebrate California’s state parks and the irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic resources they contain. Please join us and 400 other conservation-oriented leaders, celebrity guest Rebecca Romijn of X-Men and Ugly Betty, and individuals from Southern California’s entertainment, business and environmental communities.
The reception and silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. with dining, awards program, and entertainment to follow at 7:30 p.m. The awards program will recognize outstanding individuals and organizations committed to ensuring that state parks continue to provide recreation, adventure, renewal and inspiration to all Californians. Dinner will be prepared by LA’s renowned Patina Catering. Secure your seat on our website.
We've partnered with PacSun to help support state parks through their Golden State of Mind campaign. Use Instagram to upload an image tagged with #gsom and #pacsuncalparks and PacSun will donate $1 to CSPF for each photo you tag! Plus, you can see each photo on their Golden State of Mind blog.
P.S. @CalParks is now on Instagram!
Volunteer this summer with the Park Champions Program! Many upcoming workdays are appropriate for families. Please check the event description for the minimum age. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Sign up to volunteer online.
Upcoming Work Days
China Camp State Park, Marin, Friday, July 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
Volunteers will repair split-rail fencing. Some strenuous hiking may be required as we build along the trail. This work is suitable for ages 16 and up.
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, San Benito, Saturday, July 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
Our first workday at San Juan Bautista SHP will focus on applying a fresh coat of whitewash to the adobe wall surrounding the orchard. This family friendly workday is appropriate for ages 8 and up!
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 17, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.:
This mini workday will focus on removing invasive, non-native, plants to help restore the natural ecosystem. This work is appropriate for ages 10 years and up.
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco, Tuesday, July 17, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
This workday will focus on painting fences, tree trimming, and brush removal along the edge of the park. This work is suitable for ages 12 and up.
Portola Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz, Thursday, July 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
This workday will focus on repairing picnic tabletops and clearing brush in the campground. This work is suitable for ages 12 and up.
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco, Wednesday, August 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
This workday will assist Literacy for Environmental Justice with planting native plants in Yosemite Slough. This work is appropriate for ages 12 and up.
Southern California Leadership Orientation!
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles, Friday, August 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
All active Southern Californian Park Champions are invited! Please contact Park Champions Coordinator Phoebe Oelheim for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-542-2450.
Register to volunteer on our website. Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with other details. Registration is important so we can accurately plan for the day.
The Bicentennial celebration for Fort Ross is taking place on July 28 and 29. This year's weekend-long celebration will bring together artists and performers from around the world covering the breadth of historic Settlement Ross's multicultural community.
As part of the celebration, Russia’s acclaimed rock opera, “Juno & Avos,” will have its North American West Coast premiere on July 25 at San Francisco's historic Herbst Theatre. Proceeds will benefit the Fort Ross Conservancy. The Rybnikov Ensemble will also perform a song from "Juno & Avos" on Saturday, July 28 during the Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend.
Congratulations to photo contestant Ronald Marvin for winning the Photo of the Month for June! His photo, “Busy Bee,” is full of color and life. Click here to see a larger version of Ronald’s photograph.
If you would like to win a Lowepro backpack and a CSPF membership like Ronald did, join our free photo contest today and compete for the honor of the next Photo of the Month!
Some beaches see all the action, and others are pleasantly hidden from plain view—meaning you won't have to elbow your way to a place in the sun. Find room to roam at La Piedra beach in Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. This spot is far to the west end of Malibu, so people driving from Los Angeles pass a number of other tempting beaches first. And because the beach is tucked beneath sea cliffs, it's not visible from the road: plenty of people cruise on by and without knowing what they're missing. Pull off of PCH into a dirt parking area on a bluff above the coast and descend the short trail to a rocky and secluded shoreline. The beach begins with patches of cobblestone that keep casual sunbathers at bay, leaving rugged, less-traveled coastline that could double as a slice of Big Sur. To the west, you can't get anywhere unless the tide is out (at which time it's possible to walk .25-mile to El Pescadero State Beach). But it's much nicer to stroll east and reach softer sand on a long, narrow stretch below bluff-top residences with wooden staircases dropping to this under-the-radar haven. In the distance, Point Dume looks like a finger pointing out to sea. At low tide (check the charts), you can pass through sea caves and around an outcropping to reach El Matador State Beach, a nice place to spread a blanket for a little sunbathing. Return the way you came. Seeing is believing.
Start from the La Piedra State Beach parking area on the south side of PCH (map). There is an $8 fee to park in the lot, where there are a few picnic tables. Walk down the trail .25-mile to reach the beach. It’s about .75-mile to reach El Matador State Beach, but check the tide charts. It's not recommended to take unwise risks. No dogs.
Take the Weekend Sherpa Adventure Challenge
This summer, complete any three self-guided outdoor adventure stories from weekendsherpa.com and get a free Weekend Sherpa T-shirt (pictured) and $10 Gift Card from Sports Basement. Go to weekendsherpa.com to get started.