- Austin Creek's Bullfrog Pond Campground Opens on August 17, 2012 - After months of planning and focused work, we are almost ready to open Austin Creek's Bull Frog Pond Campground. Thank you to those of you who have been patient as we took the time needed to implement this new endeavor for Stewards. We are still waiting for a final contract however our Early Entry Permit gives us the needed permission to begin operating Austin Creek State Recreation Area.
New Willow Creek Bridge Helps Coho Migration - On Friday, December 16 at 11:30 a.m., Ruth Coleman, the director of California State Parks and Chalton H. Bonham, the director of California Department of Fish and Game, along with officials from the NOAA Restoration Center and other organizations, will celebrate the construction of the Willow Creek 2nd Bridge (details below). The new bridge will open the watershed of Willow Creek to migrating coho salmon and steelhead, and eliminate the annual flooding that created problems for residents, State Parks and the popular Pomo Canyon Campground.
Restoring Fish Passage in Willow Creek - Steelhead and Coho saved - Stewards is proud to report that our Willow Creek 2nd Bridge Fish Passage Construction Project has begun! The exciting news is that 60 anadromous fish were captured including 40 steehead and 20 coho!!
70 Parks Slated to Close by July 2012 - The dreaded news came today while 8 board members and staff from Stewards sat with 160 members of Cooperating Associations from all over the State. We are together with state park staff at the Annual California League of Park Associations' conference in Mendocino. Almost everyone in the room was touched with a park in their area being on the State Park closure list (view the list at www.calparks.org).
State Park Update - Closure List Pending - In recent days, our State legislators passed a trailer bill that includes an $11 million cut for State Parks in the coming fiscal year, which will grow to $22 million in permanent cuts to the Department next year. We know this means park closures and additional service reductions, however a park closure list has not been released by the Governor’s office yet.
More State Park Closures Expected - The projected general fund cuts for State Parks are expected to grow to $22 million. We are already experiencing seasonal park closures and service reductions so this could mean greater cuts in the months ahead. State Parks are not alone, of course, and many State departments will be feeling the pain.
Stewards Needs Your Support Now more than Ever - While the defeat of Proposition 21 is a huge disappointment, Stewards will reignite our energy and pursue greater efforts to protect and preserve our State Parks. The coalition of supporters statewide that rallied around this effort was inspirational. We will all continue to work towards a sustainable future for our threatened parks. The work that Stewards does to support education and stewardship volunteer programs in our State Parks continues with more fervor than ever.
Vote Yes for Proposition 21 - Once considered to be the best in the nation, California’s 278 state parks now rank among the country’s most endangered sites. How did they go from the best to endangered? Call it death by a thousand cuts – in this case, budget cuts. Our parks are falling apart because of persistent underfunding.
Proposition 21 Update - It's been awhile since I've done an update on the Proposition 21 campaign and we definitely want to keep this issue in the forefront of your minds. It's going to take all of us working hard to pass this vital ballot measure for the survival of our State Parks. Read more about ways that you can help...
The Governor's May Budget Revision - Restored funding for State Parks - May 16, 2010
This week the Governor included $140 million in funding for State Parks in his May revise however he is proposing drastic cuts in social service programs. This means that legislators will have a huge challenge before them as they work to pass a budget this summer. The funding for State Parks is at 2008-2009 levels, which are a fraction of what State Parks used to receive.
The Governor's 2010-1011 Budget - Pitting Environmental Groups Against one Another - 1/10/10
The Governor's 2010/2011 budget proposal was again disappointing but we're getting used to it and will be ready for a re-run of 2009 as far as advocating to legislative officials in Sacramento goes.
New Hope for State Parks: California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010 - 11/6/09
It is with great hope that we report that a significant step towards sustainability for our State Parks was taken this week by the California State Parks Foundation and partners. On November 3rd a proposed statewide ballot measure was filed with the Attorney General's office. The "California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, would create a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding to protect state parks and conserve California wildlife."
Russian River District Service Reductions - 10/12/09
While our Governor has said he will not close any State Parks, the reality is that we are going to see partial and seasonal closures, closed restrooms, new iron rangers for fee collection where they haven’t been before and the bottom line is that the millions of visitors who come to Sonoma County year-round to visit our State Parks will not have access to all that our parks have to offer in the coming months.
Will Legalities Keep our Parks Open - 9/18/09
Well, it sure has been an interesting and frustrating week in regards to news about PARK CLOSURES!
We thought we would finally hear about which parks are closing after the list made it to the Governor's office, but then we heard the announcement was again delayed. There was lots of speculation about why and what was going on. Then yesterday, the reasons became more clear when an internal State Park memo was leaked to the organization, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Can we Save our State Parks - 7/28/09
Well, now we know what we face! The Governor has cut an additional $6.2 million from the State Parks budget bringing the total to $14.2 million for the 2009/2010 fiscal year.This is devastating news for our parks statewide. We can expect to see the closing of about 100 State Parks after Labor Day.
Budget Deal Reached - 7/20/09
State legislators and the Governor have reached a budget deal. For State Parks it means a $8 million cut, allowing the majority of state parks, beaches and attractions to stay open. We do expect to see some park closures and/or a reduction in services.
Governor Proposes to Remove Core Funding for State Parks - 5/22/09
Stewards is dismayed to pass on depressing news in regards to the State Park budget as we get ready to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. Stewards will be shifting gears once again and take up the fight to advocate for our beloved State Parks. After last year, you know that we will not rest until we can be assured that our parks will continue to be open and available to all of us who treasure them for solace, recreation and their incredible beauty.
- Biological Opinion issued by NMFS
Seal Watchers are concerned about a 15-year plan, called a Biological Opinion, aimed at helping restore endangered coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Russian River and Dry Creek, which was released by National Marine Fisheries Service on Friday, September 26, 2008 and mandates sweeping changes to the way local and federal agencies operate Russian River water supply and flood control projects.
The Jenner Headlands is within our grasp!
From the Sonoma Land Trust website
The Jenner Headlands is a spectacular 5,630-acre coastal ranch, described by Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Reilly as being the “whole tiara” among a string of jewels along the coast. After nearly four years of complex negotiations, the Sonoma Land Trust has secured a contract with the landowners to purchase the Jenner Headlands. This will be the single largest conservation land acquisition in Sonoma County history.
- Stewards Support the State Parks Access Pass
Stewards expresses their strong support for the California State Park Access program announced by Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). The new program will bring over $200 million annually in new funding to support the state park system, while providing free day-use access to California state parks.
- Willow Creek Public Meeting
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards) and California State Parks invite public participation in a scoping meeting on Tuesday, October 14, at 7pm at the Jenner Community Club to review plans for a new bridge in the lower Willow Creek watershed.
- Success - State Park Closures Off the Table
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods is very pleased that the Governor responded positively to the people of California and reversed his proposal to close state parks. The people of Sonoma County should feel very proud of their efforts because we were noticed, and if the Governor didn't know about Armstrong Redwoods and Austin Creek before this, he sure does now!
- Economic Impacts of Closing Armstrong Redwoods
Armstrong Redwoods is one of the 48 state parks proposed by the Governor to close. The economic impacts to the Russian River area would be in the millions.