November 2012 Parklands E-Newsletter

A Word From Our President

There is no question that Election Day 2012 made many Californians tense. Whatever your political views are, from the top of the ballot to the bottom, there were critical decisions and complicated issues to confront. I have been living in California for more than 18 years and I still can’t get used to our mile-long ballot. However, I still always get a shiver of pride as I go in to vote. This democracy is far from perfect, but it is better than what many folks around the world cope with every day.

But like every post election, we must now work with the consequences of the decisions we have collectively made.

Perhaps there is no place where incremental decisions have more impact than in our Legislature. This year, the full effects of term limits and redistricting will be felt with the largest turnover of legislators in a very long time, maybe ever. We will soon have a Legislature made up of many new elected officials. That poses a special challenge for CSPF. With a lot of help from you, we need to educate legislators about state parks and their importance to Californians. It will be critical to find not just those who will vote to support state parks but also to identify leaders in the Legislature as well.

We also have a rebuilding project on our hands. We need to help rebuild public confidence in their state parks system. We need to rebuild awareness of the underlying structural problems facing state parks. We need to rebuild our existing partnerships with state parks and build new and better ones at the same time.

All of this will, of course, take time. It will also take your help. Thank you for your willingness to help us rebuild.

Double Your Commitment to State Parks

We are quickly approaching the end of the year. 2012 was a difficult one as we navigated the many daunting challenges facing our parks. But it could have been a lot worse without supporters like you. That is why we are excited to announce that the CSPF board and the Donner Foundation have issued a special $50,000 challenge grant to our members once again.

Between now and December 31, your year-end, tax-deductible gift will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your support.

Win the Defend What’s Yours Challenge!

Have you signed up yet to participate in CSPF’s Defend What’s Yours Challenge? If not, you still have a couple weeks left to participate, complete as many Challenge activities as possible, and become eligible for some fantastic prizes from CSPF’s e-store!

Once you sign up for the Defend What's Yours Challenge, you can easily complete Challenge activities by logging into our website and checking off the activities you’ve completed so far.

Don’t want to log into the CSPF website? That’s OK, you can also complete Challenge activities by posting a message on our Facebook wall letting us know which activities you’ve completed.

Challenge participants who complete at least one Challenge activity on or before November 20 will be entered to win one of five prizes from CSPF's online store. In addition, one lucky participant who completes the entire Defend what's Yours will be randomly selected to win the grand prize: a CSPF folding chair with carrying bag!

Sign up today and join the hundreds of defenders across the state that are taking simple steps to create a better future for California’s state parks and helping to protect the irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic resources they contain.

Local Partnership Helps Silver Strand State Beach

Since 2007, Silver Strand State Beach on Coronado Island in San Diego has been the recipient of an optional 1 percent environmental surcharge on guest bills at nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and it has had a huge impact.

Countless beach visitors and hotel guests have benefited from the unique private-public partnership between the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and CSPF. The partnership created the Loews Environmental Fund which is solely dedicated to enhancing the public's experience at Silver Strand State Beach through new educational programs, renovated facilities and more frequent maintenance. CSPF manages the fund.

This donation arrangement has just reached the $1 million mark, and it continues to contribute to Silver Strand. To date, the donations have gone to fund refurbished restrooms, new interpretive panels along the beach and at the lifeguard station, and dedicated staff for education tours and regular facility maintenance, to name just a few.

Exciting projects are on the horizon, including a dune restoration and creation of a boardwalk and beachfront walk. This will restore the dunes near the park entrance, and create a pedestrian walkway along the length of the beach. Thank you to Loews Coronado Bay Resort for partnering with Silver Strand State Beach – neighbors helping each other out! CSPF is proud to be part of this innovative enterprise.

Volunteer with the Park Champions Program

The fall planting season has finally arrived! Help restore the natural ecosystem by planting native plants at an upcoming Park Champions workday. Our first workday at Palomar Mountain State Park offers free camping to pre-registered volunteers, and many events are suitable for families. Please check the event description for the minimum age. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Please visit our online calendar to learn more and to register for a project near you. Hope to see you at a workday soon!

Earth Day Finally Came to Malibu Creek State Park

Over 70 volunteers came out in the misty morning on October 20 to help at Malibu Creek State Park. The Malibu Creek event was originally scheduled for last April 14 as an Earth Day project, but it was postponed due to heavy spring rains. Undeterred by the delay, volunteers, Malibu Creek Docents, and park staff came in full force to the rescheduled day in October. They planted 350 native plants and salt grasses around the building; painted a wooden fence; cleared a nearby hillside of non-native exotic vinca plants (filling four dumpsters); and stuffed 30 large garbage bags with trash and debris found along the trails and dry creek bed.

The Malibu Creek Docents, a nonprofit partner of the state park, received an Earth Day grant as part of CSPF’s 15th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup. After the rains delayed the original Earth Day project, the docents continued improving the visitor center over the past six months. The Earth Day grant (with additional monies from the Malibu Creek Docents) allowed the docents to upgrade the visitor center’s electrical system in time for winter, to renovate the irrigation system for the new front lawn, and to refurbish 35 picnic tables from around the park.

High fives go out to Edison International for sponsoring this Earth Day event and for providing lunch for all the volunteers; and thank you to the Malibu Creek Docents for managing the projects from start to finish. Thank you to all the volunteers who came out, including students from Pasadena City College, CSPF members and Edison International employees.

Taking Stock

Lower your 2012 tax bill while you help California State Parks Foundation 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.


Improvements Continue at Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Restoration specialists from ARG Conservation Services got started on interim stabilization work at Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero last week. Workers are performing repair work on the upper and lower iron belt courses to help prevent further structural deterioration as well as replace broken glass panes and putty on the curtain wall windows. Last fall the first phase of the restoration began with the removal of the historic First Order Fresnel lens from the tower. The interim stabilization work is expected to be completed by mid November.

You can join park staff on Saturday, November 17 for a day-long celebration of the 140th anniversary of Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. The free event includes display of the stunning Fresnel lens in the Fog Signal Building, tours, local authors, live music and light refreshments.

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Julianne Bradford for winning the Photo of the Month for October. Julianne’s photo “Cloudy at Cardiff” from Cardiff State Beach makes you wish you were there! Click here to see a larger version of Julianne’s photograph.

If you would like to win a Lowepro camera bag, Chipotle gift card and CSPF membership like Julianne 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

Get your Zzzzzzzzzzs beneath the big trees—as in under the second-growth redwoods in Portola Redwoods State Park. Here, 53 drive-in campsites will close for the season at the end of November and are currently first-come, first-served. Chances are good that redwoods will outnumber people this time of year. Fairweather warning: Nighttime temperatures can dip to the low 40s, so bring three-season gear, layers, and pick up firewood via a self-pay honor system outside the visitor center. Cozy up to your campfire and roast some franks or Jiffy Pop. Site 39 offers privacy. Those preferring a flat, open area should try to set up at sites 5, 6, or 7. The tranquil sleeping quarters are flanked by the park's signature attraction: Redwoods galore. From camp, it's a short (half-mile round-trip) stroll to a famous old-growth redwood measuring 14 feet in diameter and over 300 feet tall. Longer hiking trails abound in all directions (map). Ambitious hikers can take on a 13-mile (round-trip) adventure to Peters Creek , an unspoiled sanctuary of thousand-year-old redwoods. Pitch your tent before the campground closes for the season on December 1. Snooze, don't lose!

Visit the Portola Redwoods State Park website for directions to the park. Drive-in campsites are first-come, first-served in November and are dog-friendly! (No dogs on trails.) The cost is $35/night. Drive-in campsites close on December 1. Hikers: Footbridges across Pescadero Creek are removed in fall.

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