May 17, 2012
Funding will help nonprofit partners across the state keep 15 parks open for one year
SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) announces it will award 13 grants totaling $328,586 to organizations that are fighting to keep state parks off the closure list (organizations and parks listed below). This serious one-year commitment is one of several steps the 43-year-old foundation is taking in response to the crisis of park closures across California's state park system. These grants were made possible by generous funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Thomas J. Long Foundation. These foundations have supported the work of CSPF for many years, and both have stepped up their support at this critical moment to help keep a number of state parks open.
“We are pleased to announce these grants as part of our integrated effort to help keep these threatened parks open,” said CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein. “The grantees that have come forward to assist parks need our help now, and more organizations will have similar needs in the future. It is our hope to assist in providing reprieves for as many parks as possible by working closely with the parks community. We’ve been working hard on a number of different fronts, such as launching a major fundraising campaign and offering new technical assistance to nonprofits working to keep parks open.”
In addition to these 13 new grants, CSPF previously awarded two grants to temporarily keep open Santa Susana State Historic Park and Jughandle State Natural Reserve. All of these awards are contingent on the state entering into agreements with these organizations who have developed strong and effective proposals to keep parks open.
“This is an example of the value of public-private partnerships,” said California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Ruth Coleman. “We thank CSPF for mobilizing donors and resources to assist our nonprofit partners to get through this budget crisis.”
“Our Foundation is proud to support the Park Operations Challenge Grant Program that will keep state parks on the closure list open, and we applaud the efforts of the California State Parks Foundation for its vision of developing public-private partnership models of management to make continued operations of the state park system sustainable long into the future,” said Thomas J. Long Foundation Executive Director Bob Coakley.
Seventy state parks were originally slated for closure by July 1, 2012. Thanks to the efforts of private donors, nonprofits, local governments and DPR, numerous deals throughout the state have been finalized to keep some parks open temporarily, with many more in the works. All of the state parks community has acted in an exemplary fashion to adapt to the state’s financial distress. Ultimately however, this good work can only be rewarded by the state re-funding these parks so they have a long-term future that is sustainable.
“We look forward to the moment when the ink dries on the deals between these nonprofits and the state,” said Goldstein. “They are very much in the process at the moment, and we think these grant announcements are an important milestone toward their completion.”
Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
Park: Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
“The Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association is grateful for this financial support,” said Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association Treasurer Henry Bornstein. “This will allow us to meet our fundraising goals and be ready to move ahead with confidence in negotiating an operating agreement with DPR. We appreciate everything that the California State Parks Foundation is doing to assist nonprofits that are working to prevent park closures.”
Park: Austin Creek State Recreation Area
“Stewards' efforts to keep Austin Creek SRA open and preserve both its natural and cultural resources would not be possible without the assistance provided by CSPF,” said Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods Executive Director Michele Luna. “Their operating grant and technical assistance program have given us both the confidence and resources to launch a plan that is strategic, innovative as well as adaptive during these changing times.”
Parks: Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
“The money is a huge help and it feels good to know there are people out there who understand how hard we are working,” said the Napa Valley State Parks Association’s Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator Jeanne Marioni. “We have assembled a great team and believe the Napa Valley State Parks will benefit under our stewardship.
Park: Castle Crags State Park
“Castle Crags State Park is a unique and wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, a gateway to California from the North, and vital to the economy of the Northern California,” said Innovations Housing President Jim Koenigsaecker. “A grant from the California State Parks Foundation could be the catalyst that enables this community to save our park.
Park: China Camp State Park
“The CSPF grant fills a critical need for capital improvements which not only will improve the experience of park users, but increase revenues to support the operation of the park,” said Friends of China Camp Chairperson Ernest Chung.
Park: Greenwood State Beach and Elk Visitor Center
“It's great to get another park 'off the list;' great for Elk and the local community, and yes, more proof that great things can be accomplished when we work together,” said Olmsted Fund Executive Director Alden Olmsted.
Park: Hendy Woods State Park
“The grant from the California State Parks Foundation will help us implement key provisions of our Donor Agreement, particularly our commitment to field 1,000 hours of volunteer time at the park,” said Hendy Woods Community Chair Kathy Bailey. “The grant money will allow us to hire a part-time Volunteer Coordinator to ensure the volunteer program runs smoothly, with a minimum amount of management time needed from park employees. Additionally, the grant money will allow us to have funds on hand if revenues fall short or an unexpected infrastructure problem arises.”
Park: Jack London State Historic Park
“We are honored to have the support of the California State Parks Foundation as we embark on this historic and precedent setting public/private partnership to keep parks open,” said Valley of the Moon Natural Historic Association Executive Director Tjiska Van Wyk. “Thanks to the support of the Foundation and other important community partners, Jack London State Historic Park will remain open and THRIVE as a treasured community resource for all of the public to enjoy.”
Parks: McConnell State Recreation Area and George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area
“Keeping McConnell and Hatfield SRAs on the Merced River opened, was so much worthwhile work, but without CSPF’s gap-funding grant for the 30 percent funding still needed, it would have been for naught,” said East Merced Resource Conservation District's Volunteer Community Outreach Coordinator Cindy Lashbrook. “We had about 60 percent of the funding; then with the possibility of this gap funding we were able to raise the final 10 percent. The committee truly appreciates the East Merced Resource Conservation District for stepping up to take this on, the County of Merced, City of Newman, the Delhi MAC and numerous area farms, businesses and individuals that donated to keep these riparian, oak-studded parks open for our local families and visitors to the Central Valley. Our year two campaign starts June 2 and 3 at the Pick and Gather at Riverdance Farms and Merced River Fair.”
Park: Palomar Mountain State Park
“This tremendous contribution from CSPF rounds out our first year's mission-critical funding, which not only closes Palomar's projected operating deficit, but also gives the park staying power in the face of unforeseen costs or underperforming revenue,” said Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association Chairman Rick Barclay. “This takes us out of survival mode for the first year and frees us up to focus on things that will actually move Palomar forward.”
Park: Salton Sea State Recreation Area
“This is just the jump start we have been looking for,” said Sea and Desert Interpretive Association President Bill Meister. “Now we will go back out to the media and put out a challenge to hopefully double and triple this money.”
Park: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
“This is fabulous news for Team Sugarloaf,” said Sonoma Ecology Center Executive Director Richard Dale. “Our struggles for nearly a year to keep this special park from closing are turning into a celebration of what a team of committed groups and individuals can accomplish. This grant will allow us to bring all public services back to Sugarloaf, and will help create a reliable revenue stream to assure it stays open into the future.”
Park: William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park
“As an interpretive association for a small park, we have appreciated the support of CSPF from the very beginning, and the allocation of this grant has raised our spirits greatly as we continue our efforts to keep Ide Adobe Park open!” said Ide Adobe Interpretive Association President Judy Fessenden.