Discussing Diversity in Our Wild Spaces

Over the course of a 4-day camping trip this past May in Yosemite National Park, CSPF participated in a Muir Campfire Discussion entitled “Diversity and Relevancy.” It was a gathering of inspiring people from nonprofits, government agencies and individuals involved in the movement to encourage more people of color to visit and seek careers in the outdoors. Please watch this video to learn more and to hear from some of the participants.

Diversity and Inclusion In Our Wild Spaces from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

From the Director:

In May I was lucky enough to be invited to document an amazing event in Yosemite National Park. It was a campfire discussion on improving the diversity of both the visitation and the employment within our parks and wild spaces. It was a gathering of extraordinary people from non profit agencies, land management bureaus and other people involved in the movement to encourage more people of color to visit and seek careers in the outdoors. If you love our National Parks and other wild spaces please share this with others, as it really is one of the most important issues facing the conservation movement and outdoor recreation. Thanks for watching.


Construction Update


We are excited about the progress happening at LA State Historic Park!

Originally posted on Los Angeles State Historic Park:

IMG_1451Residual storm clouds on Monday make a nice backdrop for the new roundhouse bridge which will be a central feature of the new park. And happily, after clearing some construction hurdles and delays due to nesting birds and archaeological finds, construction has picked up steam in recent days. We are on track to have the park finished in December and look forward to an official grand opening in spring of 2016. Stay tuned, we’ll be posting more photos as the welcome center and ranger station near completion and the park takes on its final form.

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5 Southern California Hikes in State Parks

Southern California state parks are usually associated with breathtaking beaches, but there are many amazing hikes and activities for everyone to enjoy. Here is a list of 5 hikes in Southern California state parks to get started on your exporation. So get out there and hike!

Torrey Pines State Reserve. Photo by Erica Shalit.

Torrey Pines State Reserve. Photo by Erica Shalit.

1. Broken Hill Trail Loop, Torrey Pines State Reserve

If you are wanting spectacular views of Southern California this trail is for you. Torrey Pines State Reserve is home to the rarest pine tree on the North American continent, the Torrey Pine. Gaze upon Southern California as it looked hundreds of years ago from atop Broken Hill. This 2.5 mile loop consists of two trails, the North and South Broken Hill trails. The best part of this hike is the viewpoint at the middle of the hike. It is an amazing view during sunset hours. This is a fairly easy trail and great for all levels of hikers.

Palomar Mountain State Park. Photo by Julianne Bradford.

Palomar Mountain State Park. Photo by Julianne Bradford.

2. Doane Valley Nature Trail, Palomar Mountain State Park

A variety of hiking trails is available within the park. Some lend themselves to short, leisurely walks and others are suitable for vigorous, all-day hikes. The scenery includes open meadows and thick coniferous or oak forests. Trails are open to foot traffic only. The Doane Valley Nature Trail is very nice in the summer months and is only about a mile long. Along shady Doane Creek, you’ll see creek dogwood, wild strawberry, mountain currant, and Sierra gooseberry. At the park office you can get a leaflet describing different types of trees you will see on the trail.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo by Mimi Kramer .

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo by Mimi Kramer.

3. Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

First-timers can’t miss the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, a 3-mile round-trip flowering with brittlebush, desert lavender, and ocotillo. The trail starts close to the Borrego Palms Campground. The trailhead itself is very clearly marked, and the parking area has plenty of spaces. Make sure you bring plenty of water, because this trail tends to get very hot. The best times for this trail are fall, spring, and winter to beat the heat. The trail leads to the third-largest palm oasis in California, which was the first site sought for a desert state park back in the 1920s. It’s a beautiful, well-watered oasis, tucked away in a rocky V-shaped gorge. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse a bighorn sheep, in a canyon vegetated by California’s only native species of palm. A longer option takes you exploring farther up-canyon.

Red Rock Canyon State Park. Photo by Carol P. Murdock.

Red Rock Canyon State Park. Photo by Carol P. Murdock.

4. Nightmare Gulch Loop, Red Rock Canyon State Park

Nightmare Gulch Loop is a long hike, about 8.8 miles. Rock Canyon State Park attracts many raptors and in order to protect the raptor nesting sites, the gulch is closed to hikers and vehicle travel yearly from February 1 to July 1. When the area is open it is a great trail to take photos on. The trailhead starts a half mile north of the entrance to Red Rock State Park at a small turn out on the east side of the highway. The route goes along ridge tops with panoramic views of the gulch and the Southern Sierra Nevada. This is a relatively easy hike with a small amount of elevation gain and loss. This hike can be very hot during the summer months, so take caution and be prepared.

Mount San Jacinto State Park. Photo by David Herholz.

Mount San Jacinto State Park. Photo by David Herholz.

5. San Jacinto Peak, Mount San Jacinto State Park

For a bit more of a challenge, set your eyes on Mount San Jacinto. At 10,834 ft, it is the highest peak in the California State Park System, and the 2nd highest in Southern California. This is a very difficult hike, but worth it once you reach the top. When you arrive at the parking lot of Valley Station, you’ll have to buy a ticket to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to Mountain Station. From there you will begin the 11 mile hike to the peak. While the trails here are very well signed, be sure to pay attention because Mount San Jacinto State Park packs a surprising number of trails into its 14,000 square miles. Note that everyone entering the wilderness area for the day or for camping must have a permit in their possession. Day-use wilderness permits are free and are available at the State Park Headquarters in Idyllwild or at the Long Valley Ranger Station. Applications for overnight permits will be accepted up to 8 weeks in advance.

Happy trails!

California State Parks are Great Places to: Achieve Our Goals

This is the first installment in our “State Parks are Great Places to” series.


California state parks have something for everyone. Many parks serve as an extensive outdoor playground for all types of athletes, from runners to bikers, climbers to surfers. State parks are great places to help athletes achieve there goals, whether it is training, racing, or just getting outside to do their sport.

One CSPF member sums up how state parks help him achieve his goals:

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If you are looking for ways to use state parks in your own athletic training, here are some upcoming outdoor events in state parks to get you started:




Skyline to the Sea trail: http://sempervirens.org/get-outdoors/skyline-to-the-sea-trail/



What sports do you do in state parks? Do you have a favorite event that you would add to this list?

Kids Teaching Kids About State Parks

Last month in Chico, California approximately fifty 11th and 12th grade students from Pleasant Valley High School’s ACE-LIFE Academy HERO and Careers with Kids classes had their annual Public Safety Day for K-6 students in our area.

The event is an educational experience for hundreds of elementary students. The high school students researched and collaborated on a safety topic of their group’s choice.  Some of the safety presentations included: California State Park safety, water safety, fire safety and playground safety.

It is exciting to see kids interested in state parks. What an amazing idea to teach other kids how to safely enjoy our state parks. The high school students also made a fun scavenger hunt to help others learn and enjoy even more. Great job!

Free Memorial Day Admission at State Parks for Veterans, Active and Reserve Military Personnel

6_mar_pgCalifornia State Parks will honor men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces this Memorial Day by offering free admission at participating state parks.

State parks participating on Memorial Day include 133 parks that are accessible with the “Surf Explorer” Annual Pass, plus eight State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs), as well as the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Veterans, active duty, and reserve military personnel must show a valid military I.D. or proof of honorable discharge (e.g.: signed copy of DD214 From), in order to receive free admission.

The free admission is part of AB 150, authored by Assemblymember Kristin Olsen and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in 2013. The bill authorizes California State Parks to offer veterans, active duty or reserve military personnel for the United States Armed Forces and the National Guard of any state a reduced or free day use at participating California state parks. California State Parks will also offer free admission for active duty or reserve military and veterans on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen accepts her Park Legacy Award from CSPF Board Trustee Virginia Chang Kiraly

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen accepts her Park Legacy Award from CSPF Board Trustee Virginia Chang Kiraly

CSPF honored Assemblymember Olsen at Park Advocacy Day on May 5 for her leadership on this legislation as well as for her efforts to raise visibility of the state parks system’s 150th anniversary in 2014.

We hope those who have served our country can enjoy our state parks on Monday!

Source: CA State Parks Press Release

Park Advocates Bring State Parks to Sacramento

Tuesday, May 5 marked another successful Park Advocacy Day at the Capitol hosted by California State Parks Foundation. This year, over 160 park advocates from all over the state joined together for a day of advocacy and lobbying on behalf of state parks. The day included presentations by legislators, an expo on the Capitol lawn featuring state park partners and activities, a busy afternoon of legislative visits, and an evening reception to honor two park supporters in the Legislature — Kristin Olsen and Anthony Rendon.

The expo on the Capitol lawn was themed, “California State Parks are Great Places for You and Me.” It included booths from dozens of park partners showcasing why they love parks and what activities their local parks provide. Booths included trail stewardship, water sampling, recycling, theater, animals, historic dress, fire research, documentary, marine life, and more.

Advocates lobbied three bills in particular during their legislative appointments:

  1. Assembly Bill 327 (Gordon) — This bill would extend a prevailing wage exemption for public works volunteers for the next 7 years so that volunteers may continue to offer unpaid work to state parks. Advocates expressed how important volunteer work is in state parks, particularly as budget cuts have stretched park staff too thin.
  2. Assembly Bill 988 (Stone) — This bill would create an Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Grant Program within DPR to award grants to public organizations and/or nonprofits for outdoor environmental education and recreation programs. Advocates emphasized how important it is to give kids, particularly at-risk youth, the opportunity to experience the outdoors.
  3. Senate Bill 317 (De León) — This bill would create the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers and Coastal Protection Bond of 2016, a $2.4 billion bond to be placed on the November 2016 ballot for approval by California voters. The bond would provide substantial funding for various park areas, including local parks, state parks, rivers/lakes/streams, coastal conservation, climate resilience, and more.

After advocates finished meeting with nearly every office in the Capitol, they rejoined together at the Elks Tower Ballroom for a reception to celebrate their hard work, as well as recognize Assemblymembers Kristin Olsen and Anthony Rendon for their work on behalf of state parks.

It was a great day in Sacramento. Kudos to all the amazing park advocates who came out to support their state parks!

Volunteers Made Earth Day Count in California State Parks

Our 2015 Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup on Saturday, April 18 was a huge success! Awesome, happy, hardworking volunteers came out to 27 state parks throughout California to lend a helping hand, and their work made a big impact!

Here are just a few of the great volunteers:

Earth Day would not be possible without the generous donations and hardworking volunteers from presenting sponsor PG&E, as well as sponsors Chevron, Oracle and Edison. Thank you sponsors!

Special thanks also goes to our refreshment providers Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Togo’s, Larabar, Subway, and The Fruit Guys. Their generosity fed some very hungry volunteers.

A shout out also to our media partners who helped us get the word out about our event and find those awesome volunteers.

And finally, big props to the park staff who coordinated these projects and gave us all an opportunity to make a direct impact for Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day, indeed.

Success (Again) for San Onofre!

We won another victory (our fifth one!) yesterday, March 16, at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board (RWQB.) The RWQB adopted findings that once and for all rejected Waste Water Discharge permits the Toll Road Authority’s (TCA) had requested. They did so with a vote of 6-0.  We are thrilled.  This victory was not a forgone conclusions because a great number of the RWQB Commissioners were new to the dialogue.

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When RWQB originally rejected the permits in July 2013, the TCA appealed that decision to the California Water Board.  The California Water Board remanded the decision back to San Diego, saying that the Board needed to make more thorough findings but that the legal basis to their original decision was sound.  The staff report to the RWQB was excellent and in the end was persuasive.

CSPF members sent 388 letters to the RWQB at our request, making our advocacy voice heard loud and clear.  Overall all the organizations in the Coalition generated more than 5,000 letters supporting San Onofre.

As always, we are delighted to be a part of such a strong coalition of protectors of San Onofre, including the Surfrider Foundation, NRDC, Audubon, and the Endangered Habitats League.  We all bring our own strengths to this fight and are so much better for it.

We are all hoping this project doesn’t have NINE lives.