A picture is worth … a visit to a park

Long-time State Park Photo Contestant and park supporter Cynthia Leeder has been snapping photos of state parks for years (check out her photos here). She recently learned that her photos of her favorite state park, Henry Coe, have had more of an impact than she realized. She shared her inspiring story with CSPF:

The picture that launched a thousand ships. © Cynthia Leeder

“I recently attended a public meeting held by Sheila Golden, the former park interpreter for Henry Coe State Park.  Sheila is now attending graduate school at UC Davis and is putting together a master plan for Henry Coe State Park for her thesis.  This plan is required by the state before anything can be done to the park in terms of improvements for interpretation and the like.

As part of that effort Sheila developed a survey for park visitors asking how they heard of the park and why they came to the park and things like that.  I found out at the meeting that some respondents indicated they first heard of Henry Coe and came to the park because of the California State Parks Foundation calendar where a picture of mine was published.

Another gem from Henry Coe. © Cynthia Leeder

I love Henry Coe with all my heart.  It really is a special park, often rough scrabble and broken down, in need of everything, but Henry Coe makes me feel good inside when I am there.  I am not a religious person but the feeling of being up on the Ponderosa Loop towards sunset with the sound of a breeze blowing through the stands of Ponderosa Pines is nothing less than spiritual and renewing.  You have to experience it.  There is nothing like it and fits perfectly with the inscription Sada Coe had placed on the Coe Monument, ‘May these quiet hills bring peace to the souls of those who are seeking.’

To survive for the long term, the park needs more visitors and if my pictures can help promote Henry Coe and bring people to the park, then I feel like I have done something!”

Cynthia has been giving more to state parks than just her photographs, and it seems she is getting some great fulfillment in return.

“I am starting my third year as uniformed volunteer at Henry Coe.  I have already achieved Senior Volunteer status.  I often work the visitor center meeting the park visitors, suggesting hikes, and helping the backpackers plan their trips into the park.  I am loving it!”  

Thank you to Cynthia for your dedication to state parks!

Do you take photos in state parks, too? Upload them to our free photo contest or our Facebook page; we’d love to see them!

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