A Successful Week for Parks: Solutions Come Slowly but Surely

This week has brought some really good news for California state parks, and it’s only Thursday! Here’s a little recap, some resource links, and a general prediction of what good news lies ahead.

Tuesday

On Tuesday Gov. Brown signed AB 42. This was a huge accomplishment, and this bill certainly traveled a long and winding road. Some of you may recall visiting your legislators in the capitol to tell them about this bill way back in March. Well thankfully your hard work, and the work of those who signed petitions, sent letters and made phone calls, paid off! Thank you guys for supporting this bill all the way through.

So what does it mean to have this bill in place now? (Maybe you even want to read the bill, which you can do here.) It means we have new options for keeping state parks open. Now, instead of asking, “Can you provide money to keep this park open?” we can ask questions like, “Can your nonprofit run the campsites in this park?” or “Can your nonprofit operate this ENTIRE park?” The pool of resources just got a whole lot bigger, which is exciting.

Thursday

Earlier today, more good news came through the wire. California State Parks announced in a release that three of the state parks on the closure list are going to remain open thanks to the National Parks Service (NPS). Operations of Tomales Bay, Samuel P. Taylor, Del Norte Redwoods will now be supported by NPS. If you know these parks, you know this is a great partnership because of the close proximity of these state parks to national park land. We are very happy to see NPS continue its long history of working closely with California State Parks and step up once again to take care of these parks that are such an integral part of those areas.

Yay! They saved Tomales Bay! Photo © Patrick Ulrich

Sounds like our Facebook fans are also really happy about the news. They are buzzing about it:

“Yay for California State Parks! I grew up going camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. I’m so pleased to hear that it will stay open.”

“This is wonderful – AND – I hope will be extended to the other parks deemed for closure as well. This has got to be done!”

Join them in the conversation!

Tomorrow?

After a week like this it seems right to feel optimistic. As they say, things always come in threes, so I think there’s more good news to come. Maybe that’s a little superstitious, but I’m still hoping for a hat trick of good state parks news this week!

And if not tomorrow, we can be sure that soon enough there will be news of nonprofits stepping up to help state parks, thanks to the authority they will now have from AB 42. Onward!

Who do you predict will be the next organization to step up on behalf of a state park they care about?

Folks Making Art for Parks

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”
― Ansel Adams

California state parks serve as inspiration to artists, photographers, painters, and all those folks who try to capture the magic in some form so they can take a little piece of the parks home with them.  Perhaps we cannot experience our favorite park every day, but we can glance upon a photo in our home and conjure up those memories to pass the time until our next adventure.

One group, Folk4Parks.org, is capturing the magic of state parks in much the same way. Folk4Parks is a net-roots organization and fellow advocate and voice for parks. They have announced that they are commissioning a new, collectable state park poster series to commemorate the state park system. The artwork in the series is inspired by the Art Nouveau period of the early 20th century, a reminder of a time in California history when our parks grew and prospered. All posters are 12″ x 17″ aqueous-color prints on premium recycled paper.

Last week, Folk4Parks introduced the first poster in their series: Annadel State Park.

The first of Folk4Parks' new CA state park poster collector series

“We felt Annadel was a great place to start,” said Christopher Grant Ward of Folk4Parks. “Sonoma County is especially hard hit by the closure list, and we wanted to provide an opportunity to support the Parks Alliance of Sonoma County.”

Folk4Parks hopes that these posters will help raise money for other non-profit organizations across the state.

“For any CA State Park organization that wants to participate, this could be a great way to draw attention to their local state park, raise money and offer their members a beautiful, collectable thank you gift for supporting their local park,” said Christopher. “Interested organizations can contact Folk4Parks at takeaction@folk4parks.org to get involved.”

In the coming weeks, Folk4Parks will be offering more posters from parks across the state. We encourage you to collect them all. Start with Annadel!

Assembly Bill 42 Clears Legislature

We’re making progress, park supporters! Earlier today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 42 (Huffman), the bill sponsored by CSPF to help keep California’s state parks open.  Similar to the successful vote last week out of the State Senate, the bill passed off the Assembly Floor this morning on a strong bipartisan vote, and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for a signature.

AB 42 provides authority to California State Parks to enter into operating agreements with qualified nonprofit organizations to operate part or all of a state park unit.  The bill ensures transparency in the operations of a state park by a nonprofit by requiring that:

  • All revenues generated in the park stay in that park and be directed toward that park’s needs
  • The nonprofit submit an annual report detailing its operating activities in the past year and hold a public meeting
  • No General Fund subsidy can be given to the nonprofit to operate the state park
  • The remainder of any concessions contract’s term be preserved by the nonprofit, and
  • Scientific and other specialized functions be conducted only by qualified individuals and subject to state oversight.

Gov. Brown has until October 6 to take action on Assembly Bill 42.  Be sure to send a message to the governor to let him know you want his vote on AB 42! 

A park supporter signs a petition for AB 42