January 2013 Parklands E-Newsletter

A Word From Our President

I am sure I am not alone in being glad that 2012 is behind us. It was a rough year for state parks and everyone who cares about them. It was a year that tested our values, trust and, perhaps most importantly, our tenacity and commitment to the cause. But as we emerge into the dawn of 2013, all of us at CSPF are ready to use the new year as a marker to find new energy for state parks, the broad community that supports it and all the citizens who take pleasure from them.

Just yesterday, Governor Brown announced his budget proposal for the upcoming 2013-14 Fiscal Year, which will begin July 1. The governor's proposal does not significantly alter the Department of Parks and Recreation's budget picture, for better or worse. And in the weird Alice-in-Wonderland world we have been living in since last May, that is a good thing. Clearly the governor recognizes that state parks shouldn't take any more cuts. Additionally, the proposal acknowledges that changes need to be made at DPR to ensure that funding is monitored and used for the purposes it was intended.

From CSPF's perspective, one critical solution to the financial flaws that have been uncovered is to achieve much greater accountability to the public and vastly greater transparency of how precious, limited public dollars are being used to support, operate and maintain our parks. The days of budget packages that the public never sees are long gone. The public has a right to expect that DPR's budgetary information will be shared proactively and clearly, so concerned citizens understand and influence the direction of DPR's finances. This is a huge sea change. However, it can be done, as public agencies all over the United States have found ways to do this effectively.

We are committed to ensuring that all of us who are working so hard to support parks have the confidence that will only come from budgetary disclosure and true collaborative partnerships.

While we work to that end, I wish you and your family a wonderful new year that will bring many great state parks experiences.

Register for Park Advocacy Day 2013!

Are you looking for a way to speak up for state parks? If so, please join CSPF and park supporters from throughout California in Sacramento on Tuesday, March 12 for our 11th Annual Park Advocacy Day!

During Park Advocacy Day, you’ll spend the day meeting with policymakers and advocating in support of California’s state parks. With a large number of newly elected legislators who will be making important budget and policy decisions about the future of California’s state parks system, participation by park supporters like you will be especially important.

CSPF’s 11th Annual Park Advocacy Day will be Tuesday, March 12 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Register online before February 8 (as space allows).

Event Registration Fee: Everyone who registers for Park Advocacy Day 2013 will be required to pay a $20 event registration fee. The event fee covers materials supplied by CSPF for all Park Advocacy Day registrants and expenses related to preparing participants for the event. All participants who attend Park Advocacy Day will receive a full refund of their event fee. Refunds will be issued immediately following the event.

Travel Assistance: Grants of up to $200 are available to help offset travel expenses incurred by individuals and groups traveling over 150 miles to participate in Park Advocacy Day. Priority will be given to first time attendees. Funding is limited; please request an application after registering.

Questions about PAD? Please contact our Sacramento office at (916) 442-2119 or advocacy@calparks.org.

Remembering Huell Howser

The one and only Huell Howser passed away on January 7. Even if you had only watched one of his shows—“California Gold”—how could you possibly forget this man? He was a spokesperson for our state, an emissary for untold stories, and an educator for us all. He was a part of California’s gold, and he will be sorely missed.

In keeping with his deep love and enthusiasm for California’s state parks, Huell was an Advisory Trustee of the Board of Directors for CSPF. He frequently served as Master of Ceremonies for CSPF events, and after the first proposal in 2008 to try to close California state parks he recorded a public service announcement for CSPF’s Save Our State Parks Campaign.

In recognition of his tremendous impact in sharing and telling unique California stories, the State Senate took a moment to memorialize Huell’s life and adjourned in his memory on Thursday.

Save the Date for Earth Day

Our 16th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by PG&E is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online registration will be available in early March – groups of up to 5 people can RSVP under one name.

Volunteers will be needed to help complete environmental improvement projects at parks statewide, so mark your calendars!

Travel with CSPF

We are pleased to announce that CSPF has officially gone global with the booking of our first international tours in late 2012! You too can travel the world and help CSPF at the same time. 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.

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.

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

Volunteer in a State Park

A huge thank you to our Park Champions volunteer teams for making 2012 our most productive and fun-filled year ever! Last year Park Champions completed over 90 volunteer projects at 19 parks across the state. Projects 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 2013.

Would you like to volunteer to help with maintenance projects at your local state park? We have five remaining workdays scheduled for January and we would love your help. Please join us at: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, China Camp State Park, or Chino Hills 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!

Calling all active Southern California Park Champions!
We have many upcoming Volunteer Leadership Orientations in January & February. Please e-mail phoebe@calparks.org for more information.

Giving to CSPF

Thank You
We at CSPF wish to thank you for a wonderful outpouring of year-end gifts! Your love for our state parks is truly heart-warming! We are proud to be your voice for parks.

Include CSPF in your Will
Is creating or updating your will one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, please consider including parks in your plans. To learn more about how to benefit the parks and your heirs, explore our estate planning resources online at legacy.vg/calparks.

IRA Rollover
In good news for donors aged 70.5 and older, Congress retroactively reinstated the IRA Rollover! The act allows any otherwise eligible gifts made after December 31, 2012 and before February 1, 2013 to be treated as a 2012 donation. The new law also specifies that distributions from an IRA to a taxpayer made after November 30, 2012 and before January 1, 2013 may be treated as a qualified charitable distribution for purposes of the IRA Charitable Rollover. Finally, the IRA Charitable Rollover has been reinstated for all of 2013. Call Martha Henderson at 415-262-4404 for more details.

Photo of the Month and Best of 2012

Photo of the Month
Congratulations to photo contestant Mike Shoys for winning the Photo of the Month for December! Mike went out during last month’s King Tides and captured this photo “King Tides at Salt Point” in Salt Point State Park (left). Click here to see a larger version of Mike’s photograph.

Photo of the Year 2012
And big congratulations to Steven Castro for winning the 2012 Photo of the year with his photo “Sunburst over Eagle Falls – Lake Tahoe” from Emerald Bay State Park (right).

Steven’s victory means the start of a new 2013 photo contest! Now is the perfect time to join our free photo contest. You may be the next winner of great prizes like a Lowepro backpack, Chipotle Mexican Grill gift card and a CSPF membership. To participate in CSPF’s contest, simply complete your free registration on MyParkPhotos.com and be sure to check off “California State Parks Foundation” next to Join Partner Contests.

Thank you to our contest sponsors Lowepro and Chipotle!

Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Legend has it that a clear day atop the summit of Mount Diablo offers views so broad that only the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro surpasses its scope. At 3,849 feet above sea level, it offers the largest visible expanse of land and water in the lower 48 states. The optimal time to get the biggest view is after a winter storm, when the air is at its crispest. Anyone with four wheels and an engine can gaze at the views from the top, but you’ll gain far more jaw-dropping vistas by tackling this devil by foot on the 4.2-mile Juniper Summit Loop from the Juniper Campground. Climb moderately steep single-track switchbacks that begin under the shade of California bay and gray pine before breaking into epic views of the East Bay. After 1.5 miles, you'll reach the observation deck (currently closed for renovations; see our tip below for viewpoint alternatives!) atop the Mount Diablo Visitor Center (still open!), where you can tap your toe upon the highest point in the East Bay. Then gawk at the famous panorama as a sea of fog drenches the rippling hills below. Descend via the (sometimes steep) Summit Trail for still more views, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamalpais and beyond. This devil’s a delight!

TIP: In lieu of the closed Observation Deck, a great option to get the full 360 view is to walk the Mary Bowerman Trail (aka Fire Interpretive Trail), a 0.7-mile loop circumventing the summit and the Visitor Center. (The first half of this nature loop is wheelchair accessible.) Take in the full gravitas of the Bay Area vistas, from the windmills of Livermore Valley all the way to San Francisco’s Sutro Tower.

Park at Juniper Campground along Summit Rd. in Mount Diablo State Park. Find a trail map here. The Juniper trailhead is located on the north end of the Diablo Valley Overlook, just beyond the parking area. Follow the 1-mile Juniper Trail sign pointing up, crossing Summit Road once, to the Visitor Center, open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Descend the Summit Trail, which intersects Summit Road three times, before meeting the Juniper Trail (to lower summit parking lot). Turn right when you spy the campgrounds, and continue the 0.2 mile back to the parking inlet where you began. Gates open at 8:00 a.m. and close at sunset. For updates on the status of the observation deck call (925) 837-6119. Day use parking fee: $10/vehicle. No dogs.

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