May 14, 2011
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). Elizabeth Goldstien, president of the California State Parks Foundation apologized during lunch for being the messager of such devastating news. She encouraged us all to continue our dedication to our parks and promised Foundation support for continuing the fight to Save our State Parks. The conference is providing us with new ideas on how we can step up and help operate some of our parks that are on the list.
Of immediate concern to Stewards is coming up with a way to protect the magnificent wilderness of Austin Creek State Recreation Area, slated to close, from vandals and ilicit activity. This area has already been hit in the past with pot grows and the land still hasn't been restored after the devastation that ensued. We will be talking with park staff about managing volunteer patrols, expanded our stewardship efforts and even looking for ways to operate this park if AB 42 passes. AB 42 (Huffman) is a bill that will provide an avenue for nonprofit organizations to enter into operating agreements with State Parks without having to go through the legislative process. As of this writing, the bill has passed out of Appropriations and will next be brought before the Assembly.
Besides Austin Creek, we are looking for more ways to assist at Sonoma Coast State Park. There are campground closures and many areas that are not currently open, including Pomo Canyon and Willow
campgrounds, Vista Point, Schoolhouse Beach and more. Stewards is currently keeping the Visitor Center and restrooms in Jenner open with community donations.
The only way we can expand our services and protect these treasured public lands is with your support. Volunteers are certainly needed but it's going to take funding that Stewards currently does not have to add the services that are needed.
At this time I ask you to DONATE NOW and give to our Save our State Parks fund. The money will be used specifically to help keep our parks protected and open if possible.
If you would like to join our stewardship efforts please continue reading about our wonderful monthly crews that are trained to work on maintence projects in our parks.
Also, please TAKE ACTION on the California State Park Foundation's website.
Stewards will keep you up-to-date on our progress and we thank you most sincerely for your continued support.
May the day come when we will no longer need to be vigilent in advocating to keep our State Parks open.
May every day be Earth Day,
Michele Luna, Executive Director