January 2014 Parklands E-Newsletter

From the President

2014 is going to be an exciting year for our California state parks. For the first time in many years, we have some good news regarding the budget for state parks.

This morning, Governor Brown released the Fiscal Year 2014-15 State Budget that contains a modest amount of additional funding for state parks and avoids park closure proposals. Recent capital gains revenues have created a “windfall” of funding that the governor’s budget proposes to direct to one-time purposes. This budget proposes to provide $14 million to the Department of Parks and Recreation to maintain current service levels at California’s state parks, and $40 million to address the deferred maintenance backlog in state parks.

The one-time funding for state parks included in this proposed budget is a welcome sign of renewing a commitment to investing in our state parks, and we hope that it is the beginning of a more stable period for parks. You can read CSPF's full statement about the Governor’s Proposed FY 2014-15 State Budget here.

This year is also exciting because it marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the state parks system. For 150 years, park advocates have taken the steps necessary to set aside some of the state’s most magnificent land so that it could be protected from developers and accessed and enjoyed by all.

Today, we have 280 state parks, and the natural and cultural resources that are protected in those parks are incredible. But in order for these parks to remain that way for the next 150 years, we must remain vigilant as park advocates and protectors.

This year, as we celebrate 150 years of spectacular state parks, it’s a time to be grateful for all there is to love about these treasures—and a reminder of why we started fighting for them in the first place. It’s our duty to hand our state parks down to future Californians in the same shape we found them—so the next generation can enjoy the incredible experiences you and I have.

This anniversary couldn’t have happened without members like you, who understand the value of parks and know what it takes to keep them going. Thank you for all you do, and here’s to a new year filled with great places and new adventures.

Photo of the Year

A big congratulations to Mike Ryan for winning the 2013 Photo of the year with his photo “Light Show” from Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. It is a stunning photo that deserves this annual honor!

Mike’s victory means the start of a new 2014 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 camera bag, 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.

Volunteer in a State Park

Were your New Year’s resolutions to spend more time outside, get more exercise, make new friends, and discover new state parks? Volunteer with Park Champions and make them a reality. This January we need help restoring habitat at Candlestick Point, Half Moon Bay, and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, re-painting park structures San Buenaventura Beach and Portola Redwoods, and clearing hiking trails at Wildwood Canyon. We would love to see you there!

Visit our website to see a map of upcoming projects at parks near you and our Flickr page for examples of Park Champions in action! Sign up today!

We are also recruiting new Park Champions Core Leaders in Northern California. If you are already an active Park Champion and would like to learn more about leading workdays, please e-mail phoebe@calparks.org for information about the training on January 11.

Summer Learning Conference

The Packard Summer Enrichment Program has completed its fifth successful year of getting kids outdoors and into parks.

Since its inception in 2009, more than 7,500 urban and low income youth – most of whom had never visited a state park or gone camping before – have had the opportunity to engage in a variety of educational experiences related to science, natural resources, ecology and more, all designed to improve their academic performance during the school year.

In February, CSPF will convene state-wide educators, youth program providers, park professionals, policy experts and funders for a day-long conversation about park-based programs, summer learning, and ways to continue this vital and engaging partnership. Read more about the program or the conference here.

Is “Yes” or “No” Your Answer?

Deciding who will be the executor of your estate—the person who carries out your wishes after you are gone through the will you have established—is one of the most important decisions you can make.

How to choose? Read these 5 questions to help decide whom to choose or whether you should serve as executor for a friend or loved one.

Photo of the Month

Congratulations to photo contestant Sue Cook for winning the Photo of the Month for December! Sue’s photo, “Coyote in winter coat,” from Montaña de Oro State Park captures the mischievous stare of a coyote in the wild.

You could be the next winner of great prizes like a Lowepro camera bag, Chipotle Mexican Grill gift card, and a CSPF membership. To participate in our contest, simply complete your free registration on MyParkPhotos.com and be sure to check off “California State Parks Foundation” next to Join Partner Contests.

Travel Tips from Weekend Sherpa

Weekend Sherpa’s Best of 2013 list is full of great outings and trips to state parks with the year's top 10 recommendations for getting out and exploring the great outdoors—local style (and a little beyond)!

Check out Best of 2013 NorCal or Best of 2013 SoCal