In celebration of our 50 years protecting and preserving the California state parks system, we’re honoring exceptional champions who have advocated for parks through the years.
In 1978, we hired a new temp to log checks and make camping reservations for members. This serendipitous work placement started the 42-year working relationship between California State Parks Foundation and Beverly Clark. After quickly excelling in the office, she was offered a permanent position that same year.
As our former office manager, Clark was an integral part of building the organization. From manually booking camping reservations for members in the 1970s, to setting up the very first office computers, she has seen us evolve through it all.
Clark had a hand in making the vision of our founder – Williams Penn Mott Jr. – a reality. “I worked very closely with William Mott, Jr. He is a true visionary. You know when you hear someone speak and it motivates you? That was what it was like working with Mr. Mott. He could get you motivated to get things started and going. That is the kind of person he was. He had dreams, he had vision, and he could put them out there,” she said.
She worked each day to help carry out that vision. “I liked just about everything I did. I was so proud to be a part of it. To be there for the beginning of Earth Day and Park Advocacy Day and to see what we did,” said Beverly. “Over the years seeing how each project started and all the grunt work we did to get it up and going and then to see how each year it was better and better. We progressed and became bigger and better.”
Forty-two years of service lends itself to hundreds of memories. One of her favorite moments at California State Parks Foundation was when she spoke at Park Advocacy Day – our annual event that brings together the parks community to advocate for important issues facing state parks “I got a chance to speak about John Mott, the son of California State Park Foundation’s founder. It was so wonderful. It was a full circle experience to have worked with William Penn Mott, Jr. and then to be able to say something great about John Mott. Because he was so much like his dad.”
Clark had, and still has, a clear vision for state parks. “To me, the future of state parks looks like no one worrying about how to visit or get to these places. Everyone should be welcomed up and down the state – whether they’re black, white, purple, or green. It shouldn’t matter.”
She even started laying the groundwork for the access work we do today, advocating for more representation outdoors. “I remember a meeting back in the day when we were discussing people of color visiting parks, and how we could encourage that more. I said, ‘First of all, you need to stop putting only white people in photos, because black people are not going any place where they see all white.’ Representation matters. They took it in stride, and I started seeing change.”
Without a doubt, our organization would not be what it is today without the tireless commitment of Beverly Clark. If there is a single factor essential to the success of any parks system, it is the people, and she is a true park champion.