October 2012 Parklands E-Newsletter

A Word From Our President

An important line in the sand got drawn for state parks last month when Governor Brown signed two bills into law, Assembly Bill (AB) 1478 (Blumenfield) and Assembly Bill (AB) 1589 (Huffman). Both bills have measures that will help California’s ailing state parks system.

AB 1478 appropriates the recently-identified $20.5 million in State Park and Recreation Fund funding to the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to keep parks open that had previously been slated for closure. The bill also contains new qualifications for appointing members to the nine-member State Park and Recreation Commission. The changes to the Commission are intended to improve its ability and capacity to provide oversight of DPR and foster a more meaningful connection between the public, park stakeholders, and DPR. AB 1478 also establishes a two-year moratorium on closing state parks, in Fiscal Year 12-13 and FY13-14.

Governor Brown made the first important step toward restoring public confidence in California’s state parks by signing AB 1478. The governor’s signature is a good sign faith on the part of California’s government that all the hard work of communities, organizations and donors across the state who stepped up to support their parks is recognized and appreciated. The governor also signed AB 1589 (Huffman), which requires DPR to develop a new action plan for increasing revenues in state parks, allows purchase of annual park passes on annual tax returns, and encourages an independent assessment of California’s state parks.

AB 1589 gives the state important tools for a future that is increasingly emphasizing the need for more self-generated revenue in our parks. While we do not believe that our state park system, a true public good, will ever be able to sustain itself without a core of dedicated, public funding, we do wholeheartedly agree that the movement toward more revenue generation should be done with a roadmap. The action plan required in AB 1589 requires such a roadmap and maintains the need for revenue ideas to be appropriate to the mission and uses of our state parks.

We look forward to working with the governor, Legislature and all Californians to implement provisions of AB 1478 and AB 1589 and to maintain and strengthen the legacy in our state parks.

Sign-Up to Volunteer at Malibu Creek State Park’s Earth Day Event

Sign up to volunteer! Join CSPF and the Malibu Creek Docents on Saturday, October 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Malibu Creek State Park’s visitor center to complete the maintenance and beautification projects that were postponed due to the heavy rains preceding Earth Day 2012 (April 14). The Malibu Creek Docents have completed renovating the visitor center, but they need up to 100 volunteers to help with the planting and weeding around the building.

For project details and to RSVP, please go to calparks.org/earthday. Once on the website, first click the "log-in" button on the top right corner to log-in or create a free account, then click on the "Malibu Creek State Park" link to sign-up. You'll receive a confirmation email once you have registered. Volunteers must sign-up before the event so park staff can have enough tools on site. Online registration closes on October 18 or when RSVPs reach 100 registered volunteers. Please note: these projects are aimed at ages 10 and up. All volunteers must bring with them a signed waiver (minors need their parent’s signature).

Malibu Creek State Park is located at 1925 Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas; and the Visitor Center is a 3/4-mile hike from the parking lots. There will be Malibu Creek docents to meet you in the parking lot and hike with you to the Visitor Center. There's also free parking for project volunteers. We encourage volunteers to check-in at 8:30 a.m. The projects start promptly at 9 a.m., with a boxed lunch around noon.

Thank you to Edison International, a long-time supporter of CSPF's Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup program, for making this event possible.

POP Launches in Santa Cruz!

On September 19, CSPF launched our new Park Observation Program so that park visitors can be “the eyes & ears for state parks.” It’s easy to participate. When you are visiting a park and you see a maintenance issue such as a fallen tree, eroded trail or building that need repair, just photograph it and upload your observation to calparks.org/monitor with your smart phone, tablet or computer. Information you submit will be recorded and shared with the park staff who will, in return, provide feedback to program participants on the outcome of their report. If you see something really great, you can also submit compliments!

POP has started as a pilot program in the Santa Cruz district. Santa Cruz has the largest number of parks of any district in California, with parks ranging from beaches to mountains to historic sites. We are grateful to the staff of the Santa Cruz district for working with us on POP. POP will be expanded throughout California over time, and will amass a valuable store of information about the state of our state parks. This information will help CSPF better understand what needs to be done in state parks to maintain an excellent state park system.

Reports have already been submitted. For instance, park visitors have observed broken PVC pipe obstructing a trail, erosion issues, trail marker repair issues, and a large fallen tree. A very sincere compliment to the Visitor Center staff at Henry Cowell State Park was also filed. We need more of both! If you plan to visit the Santa Cruz area, or are lucky enough to live there, please take advantage of POP – be the eyes and ears for your state parks. Right now they need your help more than ever!

For questions, please contact Phoebe Oelheim, Program Coordinator, at phoebe@calparks.org.

Travel the World with CSPF

CSPF is pleased to announce that we will now be offering our members access to some of the most exciting travel tours in the world.

As you know, we at CSPF love our California state parks. And while we are experts on the amazing sites California has to offer, we also believe the rest of the world is worth exploring, too. That is why we have 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.

Each tour offers 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 & Guatemala, Tanzania, Holland & Belgium, Spain, France, Alaskan Glaciers and China. California state park tours will soon be available, as well!

And, for everyone who books a trip and mentions “CSPF” at booking, 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.

Visit calparks.org/tours or call an agent at 1-888-484-8785.

Take CSPF's Defend What’s Yours Challenge!

Over 400 people are currently participating in CSPF's Defend What's Yours Challenge! During the Defend What's Yours Challenge, participants are working to complete at least one of our challenge activities for each of the Top 5 Ways to Defend State Parks: Be a Defender; Visit; Volunteer; Speak Out and Share. Congratulations to Chris M. from Windsor who recently won our Challenge #3 prize!

If you haven't already, you can still sign up to participate online. Each participant receives one of our Defend What's Yours Challenge kits, including a Challenge checklist, window decal and "Speak Out" shield. And, as you complete Challenge activities, you also become eligible to win prizes.

Join the Defend What's Yours Challenge today! And don't be afraid to get creative with your photos ... we love this submission of Amanda C.'s dog with a DWY collar!

New Round of Grants Awarded

Every year CSPF typically awards between $150,000 and $200,000 in small grants to California’s state parks, governmental entities or nonprofit organizations working to protect, enhance and preserve our parks. These grants, referred to as “discretionary grants,” are awarded four times a year through a competitive process. Discretionary grants primarily support four of CSPF’s core areas of interest: Volunteer Efforts and Recognition, Education and Interpretation, Natural and Cultural Resource Protection, and Capacity-Building.

Organizations are eligible to apply for a discretionary grant during our second round this fiscal year beginning November 1, with decisions finalized by December 14. Details can be found on our website.

Eight grants totaling $36,900 were recently allocated:

1. $2,000 to the Adamson House Foundation (Malibu Lagoon State Beach) to support a board development workshop to build members’ leadership and fund development skills.
2. $2,000 to the Anza-Borrego Foundation to support its Sonoran Desert Conservation, Ecology and Natural History Research Symposium to be held in November.
3. $6,000 to the Benicia State Parks Association to support the creation of marketing and fundraising materials to increase volunteerism and revenues for Benicia State Historic Park.
4. $5,000 to the Nature of Wildworks to support wildlife education presentations in a number of Southern California state parks.
5. $6,000 to the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods to support the expansion of its educational interpretive programming.
6. $4,000 to the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association to purchase a solar telescope for the observatory in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.
7. $1,900 to the Torrey Pines Docent Society to support its 2012 Docent Appreciation Event.
8. $10,000 to the Plumas-Eureka State Park Association to support the repair and painting of historic buildings located in the park.

Volunteer with the Park Champions Program

Celebrate fall by volunteering at your state parks! Participate in valuable maintenance projects at a park near you with a fun and welcoming Park Champions volunteer team. Many upcoming workdays offer 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.

UPCOMING WORK DAYS

Portola Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to Noon
This mini-workday will focus on removing invasive thistle. Teens over age 14 are welcome with a parent or legal guardian.

Carpinteria State Beach, near Santa Barbara, Saturday, Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The workday will focus on repairing wooden screens and removing invasive plants. Kids over age 12 are welcome with a legal guardian. Free camping is available for pre-registered volunteers!

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
This workday is in partnership with Generation Water (generationwater.org) Join us to remove invasive tree tobacco and learn about why stewarding our native plant ecosystems is so important! Kids over age 12 welcome with a legal guardian.

Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 22, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
This workday will focus on removing invasive, non-native, plants to help restore the native ecosystem. This work is appropriate for anyone 10 years and up. Families welcome!

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Third Wednesday workdays focus on assisting park staff with light maintenance. Projects include: tree trimming, brush removal, and weeding/power washing/painting in picnic areas. Teens over age 14 are welcome if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, Tulare County, Saturday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This family-friendly workday will focus on re-painting the sunshades in the campground area. Kids over age 12 are welcome with a legal guardian.

San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, San Benito, Sunday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This family-friendly workday will focus on gardening, painting, and arbor repair. This work is suitable for ages 8 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Austin Creek State Recreation Area, Sonoma County, Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This workday will focus on making improvements to picnic and camping areas. Teens over 16 are welcome with a legal guardian. Free camping is available on Friday and Saturday to pre-registered volunteers.

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco, Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This workday will assist Literacy for Environmental Justice with planting native plants in Yosemite Slough, the largest tidal wetland in San Francisco. This work is appropriate for ages 14 and up. Minors must accompanied by a legal guardian.

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. Photo: A bountiful fall crop at the historic orchard restored by Park Champions last spring. Burleigh H. Murray Ranch, Half Moon Bay.

Working Together to Keep State Parks Open

CSPF action – with your help – played a critical role in achieving a temporary reprieve from closure for our threatened state parks. CSPF is continuing to offer both financial assistance and hands-on technical support to our partners and nonprofit organizations that came forward to ensure uninterrupted access to these beloved parks.

Please help us to keep this support going! Your gift will help CSPF continue to provide grants for operation, capital improvements, and educational programs in the parks. Visit calparks.org or call (415) 262-4400 to donate. Thank you for all you make possible through your generosity!

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Sonny Cao for winning the Photo of the Month for September! Sonny’s photo, “Angel Hair,” captures a lovely waterfall in San Simeon State Park. Click here to see a larger version of Sonny's photograph.

If you would like to win a Lowepro backpack, Chipotle gift card and a CSPF membership like Sonny 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

Cove Uncovered

According to local lore, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park’s Partington Cove was once a Prohibition-era port for buccaneer whiskey runners. Today it offers treasure of a different kind: A tranquil, turquoise, tide-pooling haven nestled between Big Sur’s signature behemoth cliffs. Reach it via a 0.5-mile hike that travels down a broad dirt trail to the rocky playground. At the bottom, rock-hop toward a waterfall on the southeastern end or perch on a large boulder and gaze at the Pacific waves. Keep an eye out for the California Condor soaring overhead. Or spot a rare colony of Smith’s blue butterfly (one of only 18 surviving colonies on earth and identified by their azure color and black rimmed wings), fluttering near a coast buckwheat flower. Climb back up the path you came in on, and this time steer beyond an information sign to continue across a footbridge and through a 60-foot tunnel once used as a lumber passageway. On the other end, you'll find Partington Cove—and maybe a curious sea otter or harbor seal. Scour the stones for a glimpse of the sea stars, abalone and urchins common to the kelp beds here, then continue up the 0.2-mile trail to Partington Point and a prime view of the Pacific.

Park at a large pullout on either side of Hwy 1 located 2 miles north of the turnoff for Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, or 9 miles south of the entrance to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The trailhead is on the side of Hwy. 1. No dogs.

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