ICYMI: All In For Parks | Cal Parks

ICYMI: All In For Parks

Published: October 14, 2021

While we wish we could have all been together in person, passion and commitment were in the air during our All In For Parks celebration on October 6, 2021.  

Over a hundred park supporters came together to celebrate California’s state parks. This virtual event honored the achievements of exemplary park champions and brought together the community of park supporters throughout the state. We recognized the people who are the ultimate park champions behind our work. Those who, through their actions, are fully committed and “All In” to protect and preserve our parks for the benefit of all Californians.   

For over 50 years, California State Parks Foundation has stood up for our state parks whenever they have needed us. Initially, California State Parks Foundation began purchasing and holding new parklands, creating the system we see and enjoy today, and saving our cultural and natural history – preserving what it means to be Californian. We have innovated and supported iconic park programs like Junior Rangers, Hidden Stories, and PORTs which connect people to parks, making sure that everyone can visit and feels welcome. When parks were threatened with closure and development, we were the voice for parks, keeping them open. As the needs of the times change, for parks and people, California State Parks Foundation will be here to advocate for, improve, and protect state parks. 

Today, California State Parks Foundation empowers Californians to experience, engage with, and champion their state parks, ensuring that they will thrive now and for future generations. We are developing and leading critical programming and policy solutions. We’re striving to help Californians learn about the value of state parks, educate stakeholders on what they can do to create change, activate coalitions to reach goals, and influence those in power.  

As we look to the next 50 years, California State Parks Foundation seeks to create impact in six goal areas: park funding, climate resiliency, park experiences, equitable access, honoring history and culture, and protecting nature and wildlife. 

Here you can see a video from the event on these new goals and the next 50 years: 



Here are some highlights of speakers from the event: 


“I think that today we have an extraordinary opportunity to set the foundation for a future where we're applying the best science, we're applying the best cultural knowledge, we're sure to integrate our ideas or the ideas of the public so these parks are for everyone, and we also need to be looking at the infrastructure and managing these parks and places to be sustainable, sustainable in terms of energy usage, in terms of our resources usage.” 

Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks 

“It’s so critical that we allow Californians to experience what an outdoor park is, to experience the beauty, to experience the ability to connect with others in a park, but also to gain from that health experience, that great health experience of being in the outdoors.” 

Senator Monique Limón, District 19 

“Advocacy is very important in preserving California state parks. It's been said that a park without advocates has no soul, no first line of defense… We need to transform our park visitors into park advocates. People who will speak up for parks, people who will act to protect them.” 

John Mott, California State Parks, Retired 

“The future of California state parks looks so bright. It looks inclusive. It looks like an ordinary moment. We will see people out there recreating in proportion to the population and the opportunity, and it won't be a big deal. The way we can see that future is through a lot of good thinking, great relationships and the support that organizations like the California State Park Foundation need from all Californians. And it's through us all linking arms together across differences, perceived differences, across geographies, across park units, to be able to lift up a unified story of the need and the value and the love we have for all of our California state parks.” 

Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro

“It's important to advocate for state parks in Sacramento to, A, increase equity and access to those parks and to those public spaces, as well as, B, to protect those spaces for generations to come. It's so critical to keep our youth engaged in that process as well so that their voice is heard, so that they so that they feel not only deeply connected to those spaces, but they feel like they have the power to affect change or to prevent changes needed in many of those spaces.” 

Lesford Duncan, Outdoor Outreach 

Grassroots Champion Award Recipient: Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath  

The Grassroots Champion Award honors the outstanding grassroots work by individuals or groups to protect California’s state parks and keep them open.  

This year’s recipient, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath, worked tirelessly to champion the passage of Assembly Bill 1426. Together, through legislation, we have made it law that no transportation agency or governmental agency can build new infrastructure at San Onofre State Beach and Richard H. and Donna O’Neill Conservancy. In addition, the bill had broad support from a variety of conservation, labor, and business groups. The bill guaranteed that one of the state’s most beloved beaches would remain undisturbed at a time when trips to enjoy the outdoors became more important than ever.  

We are grateful to Assemblymember Boerner Horvath for her hard work to protect San Onofre State Beach, and the president her work has set to ensure all state parks remain protected.

Golden Poppy Award Recipient: Connie Lurie   

The Golden Poppy Award recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses whose leadership has helped ensure that state parks continue to provide recreation, adventure, education, renewal, and inspiration to Californians and visitors from around the world. We honor and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who help to ensure that California's natural and cultural heritage will endure for future generations.  

This year’s recipient, Connie Lurie, has been involved with California State Parks Foundation since the early 1980s, as a trustee and then advisory trustee for over 30 years. We are deeply grateful for her partnership and generous support of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area and the Yosemite Slough area. She spent 17 years at Candlestick Park with the San Francisco Giants. Her generous support has allowed for improvements to the park, specifically the Yosemite Slough area, and the visitor experience. She has worked to help open this area of the park and work towards a park that can be enjoyed by many people.   

We deeply appreciate all Connie has done for California and its state parks. 

Legacy Award Recipient: First Partner of California, Jennifer Siebel Newsom 

The Legacy Award recognizes effective leaders, advances the cause of state park advocacy, and brings visibility to the persistent challenges facing state parks. The recipient of this award is selected based on four areas. First, the recipient’s work addresses an issue that is critical to the protection of California’s state parks and is anticipated to affect the availability, accessibility, and enjoyment of state parks into the future. Second, the recipient’s work is visible, even in the face of opposition or significant obstacles. Third, the recipient’s work has been effective in achieving or facilitating positive change to address a pressing problem or issue facing state parks. And fourth, the recipient’s work helps build bridges among differing groups or organizations, in order to bring them together in support of state park issues.  

This year’s recipient, California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, has been an ambassador for our Pathways to Parks campaign, an initiative to highlight the importance of increasing access to the outdoors as a public health solution, especially for underserved youth. It has been incredible to have her leadership and voice amplify the critical role the outdoors and our state parks can play in improving the lives of California’s youth. Due to her work on Pathways to Parks, multiple programs for equitable access to parks have been included in the 2020-2021 California state budget including $108 million to support AB 209’s Outdoor Equity Grants Program and expand existing programs linking state parks with K-12 public schools, a pilot program similar to the national “Every Kid Outdoors” program called “California State Park Adventure” for fourth graders, and another pilot partnership with the California State Library to offer California state park passes to check out at your local library.    

We are grateful to the First Partner for her hard work to ensure that California youth can experience, learn, grow, and connect with nature – regardless of their ZIP code or background.  


Thank you 

We could not do this work without the community around us, and the park champions we honored in this event. We thank all the donors who gave to our State Parks Defense Fund before or during the event. If you would like to give today, your donation will to ensure we continue to defend parks through our advocacy efforts.  

We will be your voice for parks, bringing the most important needs of parks to those who make change in the halls of power. Our team is active in the capitol and has a pulse on what is important to policymakers every year. We are working to create legislative champions to protect and preserve state parks.  

With your help, we will always make sure that no matter what is happening in Sacramento, parks have a seat at the table.  

Thank you again for those who were able to join us, and those who are All In For Parks every day.