Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Volunteerism Recap

Park improvements, trail maintenance, climate resilience, connecting to our community, these are all made possible through the California State Parks Foundation Volunteer Program. Our volunteers are passionate about being champions for our parks and are vital in helping to maintain and improve parks for all Californians to enjoy.    

California State Parks Foundation volunteers help our state parks stay in tip-top shape by removing invasive plants, maintain safe hiking trails by making regular repairs, and keep parks beautiful with painting and landscaping projects. This year we had 125 volunteer workdays in 42 state parks. We held 2 Core Leader trainings and recruited 4 new Core Leaders and 2 new Jr. Core Leaders. Below are highlights of our accomplishments this past year. 

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 by the Numbers

 

Trail Maintenance  

Volunteers, along with park staff work hard to maintain park trails. Trail maintenance helps to protect sensitive habitats, ensure visitor safety, and allows visitors a way to enjoy the outdoors. Some of our trail maintenance projects included:  

  • Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park – Created a new switchback to help prevent erosion in the rainy season, and allow vegetation to reestablish on the previous, unsustainable trail alignment. 

  • Palomar Mountain State Park – tree removal and brushing.  

 

Trail maintenance work at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park.

Habitat Restoration 

Our program’s consistency allows us to have a great impact in the areas of habitat restoration. With a continued presence in parks our volunteers help to make huge strides in preventing invasive plants from overtaking the native landscape which supports wildlife and are the a foundation for a healthy ecosystem.  

  • Half Moon Bay State Beach – removed invasive species such as ice plants, cape ivy and oxtails and planted California natives.  

  • Patrick’s Point State Park – removed english ivy from arounds sword ferns and trees.  

  • Rio De Los Angeles State Park – removed invasive species such as fennel, thistle and papyrus. Planted black walnut and coast live oak trees.  

Planting California natives at Half Moon Bay State Beach.

Park Infrastructure  

We also support park maintenance efforts to keep the park’s infrastructure in tip-top shape.  Our volunteer projects focus on maintaining campgrounds, historic park buildings, walking paths, and other structures important in ensuring a positive visitor experience. Some of our maintenance projects included:  

  • Pigeon Point Light House State Historic Park – Installed new picket fencing along park trails.  

  • Malibu Creek State Park – Helped restore trail stairs and construct a park sign kiosk that had been damaged in the 2018 Woolsey fires.  

  • Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park – repainted historic buildings and sealed walkways to preserve its important park history 

Pigeon Point Light House State Historic Park with new fencing.

Earth Day 

Our volunteer program continued to make a difference during our Earth Day celebrations this year, despite COVID-19 and the state-wide stay at home order. We quickly pivoted our plans for Earth Day 2020 from large volunteer events, and open houses to showcase our state parks, to investing in meeting the needs of state parks in light of COVD-19 and park closures.  

  • Angel Island State Park – This grant was used to purchase equipment for interpretive programs that are now being conducted through distance learning, items for the living history program, items for a hospital artifact exhibit, and replacement BBQs in Ayala Cove. 

  • Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park – Funds from this grant were spent on native plants and supplies, as habitat restoration work continued. Restoring these areas will keep hikers on trails and off sensitive habitats, decrease habitat fragmentation at the park, and provide continuous habitat to attract more species of wildlife. Native habitat conservation efforts also help in water conservation and wildfire prevention. 

  • Half Moon Bay State Beach – This grant was used to plan for future volunteer projects in a time where group size must be limited, volunteers must use social distancing practices, and sanitation is a priority. The park will be adding tools and supplies to accommodate those needs – like   purchasing gloves that would be provided to volunteers and providing hand washing stations and other sanitation. 

You can read more about how we helped to address the immediate needs of state parks with our Earth Day grants here, California State Parks and Earth Day 2020.  

 

View from Angel Island State Park.

This year, though challenging, has been a shining example of what we can achieve when we work together. While we were unable to be in parks for much of the year our impact was still felt and the need for volunteers became even more apparent. While we did have to pause our program in response to COVID-19, we are excited to start getting back into parks in the coming months. This fall we are re-launching our volunteer program implementing new safety precautions and will continue working to support our beloved park system. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our program.