Last week I spent three days on the road with Randy Widera, my colleague who will provide operational planning assistance as part of our park closure response. We attended two of the California Department of Parks and Recreation's (DPR) partnership workshops, one in Fort Bragg and the other in Santa Rosa. The DPR workshops were very informative. DPR has created a careful road map for what it is looking for in its new park partners. In addition, DPR has organized the inevitable complexities of operating parks into a clear, manageable form. If you are working on a partnership proposal for DPR, and haven't been able to get to a workshop, I urge you to take a look at the workbook and the Frequently Asked Questions they created, available on DPR's website.
Along the way, Randy and I met with the folks working on trying to keep parks open at Hendy Woods, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Russian Gulch and Austin Creek. I was very impressed by the level of commitment and organization that each of these groups has for the parks they are working on. Each park is different and unique, and therefore each plan is different.
What was interesting to me was how amazingly rich the human resources around parks are. I had always known that on some level, but it really came home to me on this trip. Obviously, DPR is filled with smart people who have been working with less than enough for a long time. However, what is gratifying is how many capable folks there are at work in the communities trying to fight to keep these parks open. They may not have deep experience in managing parks, but many folks have long experience in areas of great responsibility that they bring to the table in service of parks. The learning curve is steep but most of these people are quick learners with heavy motivation for that learning!
The trip also reinforced for me something else that I knew, but I experienced it again in an emotional, rather than intellectual, way. That is the interconnectedness of many of the state parks on the closure list with the economies of their local communities. One of the folks we met with regarding Hendy Woods said that the wineries and the restaurants of the Anderson Valley see a direct connection between their visitors and the folks that camp or hike at Hendy Woods. It is a critical link in the chain of the economy of the Anderson Valley. When you drive along Route 128, you know that all these destinations are braided together in profound ways.
For me this trip was an in-depth opportunity to hear about how some of the proposed partnerships might play out. I was awed once again by DPR staff and their partners who are working so hard to make lemonade out of the lemons we have all been handed.
Thank you to for giving us the tools and the spunk to do everything we can to help!
On March 20, more than 180 park advocates will walk the halls of the state Capitol and lobby for state parks as part of CSPF's 10th Annual Park Advocacy Day. If you won't be able to join us in Sacramento to advocate in person, you still have an important opportunity to make your voice heard.
Share a message we can deliver to the Capitol.
With additional budget cuts looming and full park closures on the near horizon, it is imperative that lawmakers realize what's at stake. As part of our Defend What's Yours campaign, we want to you to tell your elected officials why you're defending state parks.
As they say, the best defense is a good offense! We want to bring your voice with us on March 20, and we can do that if you take moment to share a photo and/or story about why you want to help defend our state parks.
Now, more than ever, we all need to help defend and Save Our State Parks. Please take action today. Your fellow park advocates will help deliver your message as part of Park Advocacy Day, so your legislators will hear from you.
On Saturday, April 14, environmental improvement projects will be completed by volunteers at 18 locations, including three state parks that are slated for closure: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in San Francisco, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park in Santa Cruz and Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park in St. Helena. These three volunteer projects are part of CSPF's 15th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by PG&E.
Volunteers at Bale Grist Mill will help restore water buckets that power the wheel at the last remaining water-powered grist mill. At Candlestick Point, picnic area improvements will be made and new garden boxes built in the Community Garden that serves as a valued resource for the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood. At Santa Cruz Mission, volunteers will repair vandalism damage, install signage and make landscaping improvements.
These three projects and 12 others were all made possible through a grant from PG&E. PG&E will also provide volunteer support on April 14. CSPF would also like to recognize the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks and Napa Valley State Parks Association for their project support at Santa Cruz Mission and Bale Grist Mill, respectively. As 70 state parks prepare for closure this summer, the continued upkeep and restoration work is important for the long-term health of these properties. Until budgetary and long-term solutions are found, these Earth Day projects are vital to improving safety and quality for park visitors now and in the future.
Individuals or businesses interested in supporting Earth Day 2012 by volunteering on April 14, please register online or call 888-98-PARKS. Online registration opens March 6. If you would like to donate in-kind food or materials, please contact Marygrace Lopez at email@example.com.
Earth Day In-Kind Donor Profile
Two Degrees Food will help nourish Earth Day volunteers by providing thousands of all-natural fruit, nut and grain bars to participants statewide. Two Degrees is a San Francisco company whose mission is to help feed 200 million hungry children - one child at a time. For each bar a volunteer receives on Earth Day, Two Degrees will donate one meal to a hungry child. For more information, visit twodegreesfood.com.
After a particularly harrowing LA Times story about vandalism and theft at a closed state park – Providence Mountains State Recreation Area – we are feeling more urgency than ever to spread the word about park closures across the state.
The Defend What's Yours campaign is working hard to do just that, but we need your help. This public awareness effort aims to stop the closure of state parks by helping citizens to be aware, informed and engaged. Please share the videos and links with your friends and family so we can reach those who are still unaware of the plight state parks are in.
Visit the Defend What's Yours page now to get involved. Together we can spread this important message and build a movement to save our state parks.
For another fun and easy way to get involved with Defend What's Yours, visit our campaign IndieGoGo page. We have cool giveaways that you won't find anywhere else on our website.
California State Parks Foundation and the Environmental Media Association (EMA), along with our EMA Board Celebrity Host Committee, invite you to join us in Los Angeles at Paramount Studios on Saturday, May 5 for ParkFilm Fest, our annual film festival where we watch and celebrate the famous movies that have been filmed in California's state parks.
This year's ParkFilm Fest is pirate themed! The Pirates of the Caribbean films feature Pescadero State Beach, Leo Carrillo State Park, and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, so this year we celebrate these films. Bring family and friends to watch the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, attend Q&A with various actors and members of the production team, enjoy face-painting and other treats, and all the while know you are supporting 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:
Ed Begley Jr.
The Park Champions Program has been getting some good press! First, our recent pruning and cleanup project in the historic orchard at Burleigh Murray Ranch got coverage in the Half Moon Bay Patch, written by extraordinary orchard volunteer Avis Boutell. Also in the news was our first-ever workday at Olompali State Historic Park. Over 20 volunteers worked together to clean up Olompali's historic barn. Read about it here.
Park Champions is ushering in the spring with events in Northern and Southern California, as well as a first-time event in the Colorado Desert at Salton Sea State Recreation area, a park that is on the closure list. 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.
March 7, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Candlestick Point State Rec Area, San Francisco:
This work day will focus on sprucing up the Plover Picnic area.
March 18, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Chino Hills State Park, Inland Empire:
This work day will focus on trail maintenance.
March 22, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Salton Sea State Rec Area, Riverside County:
This work day will focus on planting and installing a drip irrigation system in the desert discovery garden.
March 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Olompali State Park, Marin:
This work day will focus on cleaning out the Cook's House and building traditional Miwok kotchas (houses) using native tule reeds.
March 24, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Austin Creek State Rec Area, Sonoma:
This work day will focus on removing fencing in the park’s backcountry.
March 25, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Los Angeles:
This work day will focus on habitat restoration near the artist's bench, with native planting and invasive plant removal.
Very special trail workday and BBQ at Topanga State Park:
For those who live near Los Angeles and love to help with trail work, the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council and state parks is hosting a trail work day in Topanga State Park. This event is on March 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., ending with a delicious BBQ for volunteers. For more details, visit the SMMTC website.
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.
Congratulations to photo contestant Steven Castro for winning the Photo of the Month for February! His beautiful image, "Sunburst over Eagle Falls," was taken in Emerald Bay State Park. You can almost hear the rushing water. Click here to see a larger version of Steven's photograph.
If you would like to win a Lowepro backpack, credits from Adolph Gassers, and CSPF membership like Steven did, join our free photo contest today and compete for the honor of the next Photo of the Month!
The Monarch butterflies are getting ready to depart from the California coast, so this weekend might be your last chance to see them until they come back in October. One of the largest concentrations of these amber-colored beauties is at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.
The monarchs have journeyed 1,500 miles from the Rocky Mountains in search of mild temperatures, and through March you can see them resting on their leafy coastal thrones. Commonly spotted in eucalyptus trees, the butterflies flit and flutter among the branches in warmer weather (55 degrees or higher); when the temperatures dip, they move into huddles so thick the trees look more like shingled roofs. At Natural Bridges, visitors walk a few minutes down the Monarch Boardwalk into the forest to the grand "Monarch Resting Area," on a wooden platform. It's a winged wonderland.
There is an $8 entrance fee. Dogs are allowed in the park, but not on the trails or on the beach.
In the news:
“Families flock to Santa Cruz's Natural Bridges State Beach for migration festival,” Feb. 11, 2012 in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Volunteer at the Beach!
Register now for Docent Naturalist Training at Natural Bridges State Beach beginning Sunday, April 1st, at 10:00 a.m. New volunteers learn about the natural history of the marine environment during a series of 8 training classes. Graduates of the docent naturalist training volunteer 6 hours per month to host the visitor center, lead guided walks, and assist with educational programs and events at the park. To register, please call Martha or Chris at (831) 423-4609.
Sign up for weekly travel tips emailed every Thursday at weekendsherpa.com.
Bonus Tip for Members: Camping reservations are open for September 2012. Don't forget to get up to 10% off your camping reservation by booking your campsite through CSPF.