Catch a State Park Documentary

There are some new opportunities to catch two awesome documentaries about California state parks in person or in the comfort of your own camper. Be sure to check them out!

1. Mile … Mile & A Half

See a screening of a new documentary by The Muir Project, Mile … Mile & A Half. The screening is June 15 at the Guild Theater in Sacramento. See a screening of the film, see a musical performance by Opus Orange, and do a Q&A with the film crew. Half of ticket proceeds from the screening with be donated to CSPF, so double bonus! More info on Facebook, and direct ticket sales here.

Beautiful shot from the film Mile ... Mile & A Half

Beautiful shot from the film Mile … Mile & A Half

MMAAH_Press_2About Mile … Mile & A Half

A group of artists leave their daily lives behind to hike the John Muir Trail & bring back their experiences and inspiration. From Yosemite Valley to the highest point in the contiguous US – Mt. Whitney. 219 miles in 25 days.

Along the way, they are joined by musicians, painters, teachers and other adventure-seekers. In the midst of the grandeur and daily grind, they discover what matters most is the opportunity to seek adventure wherever and whenever you can.

What began as an adventure to see – let’s be honest – if they could complete the trail, became the need to capture the experience in order to share the trail with others. Come see how life on the trail shapes the lives of artists and individuals.

2. The First 70

You’ve heard us talk about this film before (because we love it), but now The First 70 is going to be widely available for everyone to enjoy in a new DVD box set and on digital platforms.

The new DVD has lots of cool extras, including behind the scenes, cutting room floor, photo gallery, and a special download from CSPF!

TheFirst70_busimagethe-first-70-3d-box-lrAbout The First 70

When they heard the state of California wanted to close a quarter of its state parks, three young filmmakers set out to visit the 70 parks that were doomed to close.  Along the 3,000 mile trek, they capture both the majesty of the state’s parks and the outrage of local community members, park rangers and environmental activists who are confounded by the State’s financial logic, yet determined to keep these wondrous expanses of beauty open to the public.

The First 70 is a about Californians banding together to enact change and develop solutions in the face of a glaring bureaucratic oversight. Volunteers have been forced to lend even more of their time and effort to support the already grossly underfunded state park system. Independent organizations and nonprofits have become obligated to step up to the challenge of keeping parks open, supporting them financially while working within the state’s guidelines. Due to these citizen-led efforts, the 70 parks were not closed on the July 2012 deadline, however their future is still hazy.

Art Sale for State Parks

Treasured Places art show is going on now and is donating proceeds of art sales to CSPF! The show features beautiful paintings and photographs of California’s stunning state parks created by artists of The Oak Group.

If you live in the Santa Barbara area, please visit the art show at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Central Public Library located at 40 E. Anapamu Street. The show will be on display until March 30.

If you can’t make it to the gallery, check out the show right here! We have the pieces on display below. Click on an image to see details such as artist, size and price. If you are interested in a piece, please contact Allison See, Special Events Coordinator, at allison@calparks.org or (415) 262-4409 for more information.

CSPF Says Goodbye to Huell Howser

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to Huell Howser. Huell was a great friend to California state parks and CSPF.  He brought enormous enthusiasm and skill to the telling of state parks’ stories.  Huell showed California’s state parks to millions of viewers, and we are grateful for his many years of support for our parks.

In addition to “California’s Gold,” Huell ran a series from 2002 to 2010 called “California’s Golden Parks,” which showcased different state parks each month. You can read more about the “California’s Golden Parks” episodes here: calgold.com/goldenparks or watch them here: parks.ca.gov/video_parks.

Here’s an excerpt from a classic visit to Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve:

 

We will all remember him with great fondness.

Travel the World with CSPF

As you know, we at CSPF love our California state parks. And while we are experts on the amazing sites California has to offer, we also believe the rest of the world is worth exploring, too. That is why we have partnered with Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to provide you access to some amazing travel tours that will take you around the world.

These UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) tours go to locations like Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Tanzania, Holland, Spain, France, Alaska and China.  Each tour offers unique educational, cultural and historical experiences that we think you will really love.

View our available tours now.

Now you can take the trip of a lifetime, and help CSPF at the same time. For everyone who books a trip and mentions CSPF at booking, our organization receives a percentage of the proceeds. You’ll also receive a special CSPF Travel Kit. It’s a new, unique way to help support our work for state parks.

Where in the world would you like to travel?

Murmurs of Generosity

We at CalPark Voices love sharing the stories of those artists who use their creative talents to help state parks in unique ways. Today we have a new artist to add to the Awesome Artist Hall of Fame.

Katherine Kean is a painter who was inspired to donate the proceeds of her newest art exhibit to CSPF.

As an environmentalist, I believe in promoting the protection of birds and other wildlife through education, art, and restoration, as well as promoting a sustainable future for California while re-connecting people to the intrinsic beauty of the environment,” said Katherine.  “My contributions to the California State Parks Foundation will continue as work from this series continues to sell.”

Her exhibit, Murmuration, is a series of paintings exploring the kinetic character of birds and nature. First exhibited at TAG Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA this spring, a portion of the exhibition has moved on to be a part of a group exhibition at The Modest Fly Art Studio Gallery in Tujunga, CA.

SIDENOTE: If you don’t know what a Murmuration is, watch this and this!

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To depict the beauty and sensation of the flock’s aerial choreography, Katherine paints the birds, glazes them over, then repaints. She repeats the process several times to allow the edges to blur and, when appropriate, disappear into the background. As a result, what first appears as a smudge in the evening sky gradually takes shape, forming and reforming, occasionally allowing a wing, beak, or tail to stand out from the fluctuating chaos.

Extending the idea and organization of flocking birds, many of the paintings in this exhibition also form parts of a whole. Among the paintings are two triptychs, a two-piece modular painting, and a series of small squares that can be re-arranged to form various patterns of bird flight.

“At a particular time at the end of the day birds gather in large numbers and swoop back and forth across the sky, emerging from the dusk like a dark cloud and creating elegant patterns against the fading light,” said Katherine. “How and why they do this is a mystery, but whatever the reason this behavior is compelling to observe as individual birds disappear into the whole and become part of something larger.”

Thank you to Katherine for choosing CSPF as a beneficiary of your beautiful artwork!

Read more about Katherine’s work on her website.

Kids Do the Darndest Things

We were very excited to receive a package in the mail last week from some awesome third and fourth graders at Kid Street Charter School in Santa Rosa.

The manila envelope was bursting at the seams, stuffed with several hand-painted canvases (click above to see full size), a poster that says “Save Our State Parks” in magic marker, and a letter that read:

“Dear California State Parks Foundation,

After visiting a local state park, Sugarloaf, in Sonoma County, our class decided that we wanted to help keep the parks open in our state. So, we painted some pictures of the landscape that we saw at Sugarloaf and we sold them to raise funds to support your cause! We are very happy to present you with the enclosed money. Thank you for working to preserve accessibility to the parks!

Warmly,

The third and fourth graders at Kid Street Charter”

How awesome is that? A big thank you to these awesome kids for caring about state parks and finding a really creative way to help! It’s good to know we have a generation of kids who will grow up to love state parks so much.

Vandals?! Volunteers to the rescue!

The aftermath. Hard to look at. Photo credit: Christina Vargas

We were very sad when, only days after 160 volunteers spent their Earth Day working in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area with us, we heard that vandals had broken into the park’s community garden and destroyed it.  They ruined gardening tools and thousands of native plants, including some that had been growing for years and were supposed to be planted in the nearby Yosemite Slough in order to help restore the sensitive wetlands.The damage also reversed most of the work done by our Earth Day volunteers.

After the shock wore off (Why?! It’s so horrible!) we realized these vandals shouldn’t win, and we started mobilizing to do something.

Our partners at PG&E, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Virgin America and Oracle all stepped up and agreed to schedule a new volunteer workday to undo the damage that had been done. The workday is taking place tomorrow (Saturday, June 2) and it’s going to be awesome! Volunteers from these organizations will replant native plants, fix community garden boxes and work to remove the old fence around the garden.

Why remove the fence? Because PG&E has generously donated $15,000 of additional funding to build a new, more secure perimeter fence around the garden to help keep something like this from happening again. Read more about that here.

If you’d like to join these awesome volunteers tomorrow morning, we’d love to have you. Please register on our website.

If you’d like to help but can’t come to Candlestick, you can do something right now by donating to the cause. Donations to help fix the garden can be made on our website.  Also be sure to “like” PG&E’s Facebook page, because for every like, they will donate $1 to this project.

Take that, vandals!

Closing Parks is Bad for Business

It’s Memorial Day weekend, but with park closures looming, we aren’t looking forward to the unofficial start of summer as much as usual. Neither is a group of businesses that has formed a coalition to oppose the closure of state parks. These folks know that park closures will negatively impact California’s economy (not to mention put a damper on future Memorial Days).

That’s why the coalition representing over 10,000 businesses throughout California urged the governor in a letter today to continue funding the parks for the good of the state’s economic well being. Read the letter here.

Organizations that oppose the closure of state parks include:

  •     California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns
  •     California Hotel & Lodging Association
  •     California Ski Industry Association
  •     California Travel Association
  •     San Francisco Travel Association
  •     Southwest California Legislative Council
  •     El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce
  •     Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce
  •     Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
  •     Murrieta Chamber of Commerce
  •     Regional Black Chamber of Commerce of San Fernando Valley (RBCC)
  •     Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitor’s Bureau
  •     Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce
  •     Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
  •     Wildomar Chamber of Commerce
  •     Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Authority
  •     San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau
  •     Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council

“Closing Parks is Bad for Business” sign spotted at Cafe Aquatica in Jenner

Why are they supporting state parks? Because parks generate more than $6 billion in economic benefit to the state as a whole. More than 65 million visits are made to state parks annually and average park visitors spend $42 per day on items related to their park visit. This spending supports an estimated 56,000 jobs across the state; jobs that translate into a total labor income of $2.3 billion each year, which is recirculated in local economies. 48 of California’s 58 counties are home to state parks and depend on revenues generated by park support and visitation.

“Closing Parks is Bad for Business” sign spotted at Benzinger Winery in Sonoma

Thank you to these businesses for recognizing the importance of state parks to California and for stepping up on their behalf.  If you own a business and would like to get involved with the coalition, please visit our Save Our State Parks website.

The Closing Parks is Bad for Business Campaign is a targeted effort of the Save Our State Parks Campaign, a grassroots campaign managed by CSPF in partnership with organizations, businesses, local governments, and individuals around the state, that aims to highlight the impacts of park closures on businesses throughout California. 

CSPF Announces Grants to Help Keep State Parks Open

CSPF announced some exciting news today: we will be awarding 13 grants totaling $328,586 to organizations that are fighting to keep state parks off the closure list. The funding will help many of our nonprofit partners across the state keep 15 parks open for one year.  You can read our full press release here.

Although we are happy with the opportunity to help here, we know this is just a short-term solution. It’s really a Band-Aid when what state parks need is surgery.  Even so, the state parks community is working in an exemplary fashion to find ways to keep parks open now.

The organizations that will be using these grant funds to help their park of interest are:

Bale Grist Mill © Brent Duffin

Grantee: Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association for Anderson Marsh State Historic Park

Grantee: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods for Austin Creek State Recreation Area

Grantee: Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District for Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

China Camp © Harvey Abernathey

Grantee: Innovations Housing for Castle Crags State Park

Grantee: Marin State Parks Association (for Friends of China Camp) for China Camp State Park

Grantee: Department of Parks and Recreation for Greenwood State Beach and Elk Visitor Center

Grantee: Hendy Woods Community for Hendy Woods State Park

Jack London ©Charles Tu

Grantee: Valley of the Moon Natural History Association for Jack London State Historic Park

Grantee: East Merced Resource Conservation District
for McConnell State Recreation Area and George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area

Grantee: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association (for Friends of Palomar) for Palomar Mountain State Park

Grantee: Sea and Desert Interpretive Association for Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Salton Sea ©Greg Lucker

Grantee: Sonoma Ecology Center  for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Grantee: Ide Adobe Interpretive Association for William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park

In addition to these 13 new grants, CSPF previously awarded two grants to temporarily keep open Santa Susana State Historic Park and Jughandle State Natural Reserve. All of these awards are contingent on the state entering into agreements with these organizations who have developed strong and effective proposals to keep parks open.

Watch the ‘California Forever’ Trailer

“There are very few things in life that are able to span centuries.” This documentary, “California Forever,” shows us why California state parks do.

California Forever is a two-part documentary series about California state parks coming soon to PBS in Fall 2012, presented by KQED, San Francisco. For more information visit cal4ever.com/.

California Forever is produced by Backcountry Pictures – where the story begins at the end of the road.

California State Parks Foundation is proud to support this project.