Mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday

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#GivingTuesday is almost here! On #GivingTuesday, people around the globe will unite in support of the causes they love. Last year more than 1.6 million gifts were made to nonprofits on #GivingTuesday by people like you.

Want to be a part of this global community of philanthropy? Support California State Parks Foundation this #GivingTuesday by following these three easy steps:

1. Save the date!

Mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

2. Donate!

Make this #GivingTuesday our biggest yet by helping us reach our goal of $50,000! Throughout the day on #GivingTuesday show your support for our 280 incredible state parks by making your donation. Any gift you make to California State Parks Foundation this #GivingTuesday will be matched dollar-for-dollar! Make your donation on November 28th at calparks.org/givingtuesday.

3. Share your #GivingTuesday story!

Your generosity can be a powerful way to inspire others to make a difference for state parks, too! Post an “#UNselfie” (an unselfish-selfie) photo in your favorite state parks on social media by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram inviting others to participate: “I donated to California State Parks Foundation for #GivingTuesday to support parks like this one! Join me at calparks.org/givingtuesday!”

You can learn more about the #GivingTuesday movement at givingtuesday.org.

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Old and new memories forged at Mitchell Caverns

by Rachel Norton, Executive Director

One of the best parts of my job is spending time in parks, and I’ve had a great time in the last six months visiting at least a half-dozen state parks for the first time. However, one of the most meaningful and fun visits I’ve taken was to a place I’d actually visited as a teen 35 years ago.

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With my friends and classmates in the Mojave Desert in 1984

Mitchell Caverns, the only limestone caverns in the state park system, reopened to the public on November 3. Named after Jack and Ida Mitchell, a couple who operated a resort at the site from 1934- 1954, the caves offer spectacular limestone formations like stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, lily pads, draperies, curtains and cave coral.  Recently, the Department of Parks and Recreation hosted a private reopening ceremony for park supporters and members of the Mitchell Family, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. Representatives of the indigenous Chemehuevi people were also on hand to bless the Caverns, a place they regard as the sacred eyes of the mountains (you can see why as you approach the Caverns from the trail).

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The openings to Mitchell Caverns at Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, October 2017

Providence Mountains State Recreation area, the home of Mitchell Caverns, is in the eastern Mojave Desert, one of the more remote places in the state park system (let alone the country). The easiest way to get there from my home in San Francisco is to fly to Las Vegas and then drive three hours southwest to the park. There are campgrounds in the park, but the closest indoor place to stay is in Needles, an hour away. Once you leave Interstate 40, it’s not uncommon to have the entire two-lane road to yourself for long stretches.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to have a biology teacher who had studied herpetology (reptiles) and was passionate about desert wildlife and ecology. Each year she took a group of students to the Mojave for a week on spring break, and I was lucky enough to go three years in a row (I loved the trips so much she let me tag along even when I was no longer her student). It was an incredible learning experience that introduced me to the beauty and vibrancy of a place that is often misunderstood as being devoid of both qualities. And as I walked into Mitchell Caverns on my visit several weeks ago, I realized I’d been there before!

Sure enough, when I looked back at my high school photo album (from the days when we used actual film and waited days to get our vacation photos developed and printed!) there was an identical shot of the Caverns from one I’d taken days before. Though interactions with the carbon dioxide from our breath and oils from our fingertips degrade the caverns over time, they are in remarkably good shape – I’m proud that the California State Parks Foundation was able to provide $10,000 from our grants program to help restore the caverns and reopen this remarkable place to the public.

If you visit, you must have a reservation – you cannot enter the caverns without a guide. Essential information about planning your visit is available on the state parks web site.

15 highlights from the 15th annual Park Advocacy Day

Last month, we celebrated our 15th annual Park Advocacy Day in Sacramento. In honor of both the anniversary and all the advocates who joined us to support state parks, here are 15 highlights from the 15th annual Park Advocacy Day:

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119 park advocates from throughout California, representing nearly 50 organizations. We couldn’t start our highlight list in any other way, because park advocates are what Park Advocacy Day is all about.

For a handful of those 119 advocates, it was their 15th Park Advocacy Day…

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Including advocates Randy Widera, Barbara Lincoln and Jarrell Jackman, who’ve attended every single Park Advocacy Day.

…And for some it was their first…

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Like Nicolette, seated at the front left of this photo with her team, who’s been volunteering in state parks since she was in the 7th grade.

…Including our new executive director, Rachel Norton.

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As Rachel welcomed everyone, she shared why she wanted to join this group of park advocates as CSPF’s executive director: “The commitment to creating equitable park access, and to supporting and partnering with like-minded organizations committed to park access – that’s what drew me most to join CSPF right now. CSPF has always been working to make parks open for all Californians, to make park experiences available to all Californians, and to secure support for parks from all Californians.”

(Learn more)

Some advocates got a head start on their legislative meetings.

Advocates from California Outdoor Engagement Coalition had an impromptu legislative meeting on the train ride to Sacramento.

Senator pro Tempore Kevin de León set the tone for how important advocacy is.

“My name is Kevin de León, and I am the leader of a legislative body that upholds the Constitution of the United States,” he introduced himself. “Everyone is looking toward California. That’s no hyperbole. That’s no exaggeration. Many global leaders are looking to what happens in California. We can demonstrate to the world what our values are. That’s the strength of our state – the diversity, the inclusivity.”

We heard so many personal stories about parks, from Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher…

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“I’m really excited to be here,” she started. “My passion for our state parks, I think of it as outside my job. Anyone who follows me on social media will see that this is regular part of our lives. Where else can you as a mom cook over a stove and watch your kids learn to paddle out? It is part of my family now and it was park of my family growing up.”

…and Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation Lisa Mangat…

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“Everyone could stand up and share a personal story about why you’re here,” said Mangat. And she shared a bit of her own: “Way before I became parks director, [my father] kind of laid this foundation, and used the great outdoors to teach his daughters the kind of lessons you can only learn through the great outdoors.”

…and Myrian Solis Coronel, vice chair of the California State Park and Recreation Commission.

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Coronel’s multi-media presentation showed how parks intersect with different aspects of her life, and shared the stories of other women in REI’s “Force of Nature” video.

Advocates kept history alive with period dress!

While advocacy and legislation was focused on the future of California state parks, some advocates dressed in period clothing, reminding us our parks preserve our state’s history as well.

We petitioned the governor…

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We delivered more than 8,000 petitions from members and park advocates who couldn’t join us to Governor Jerry Brown, thanking him for his past leadership on recent funding for parks and asking him to support legislation that would allow California voters to support a new park bond.

…and met with 110 legislative offices!

We crammed 110 legislative meetings into one afternoon to discuss important state park issues including improving access to park facilities and amenities, maintaining access and protections for park lands and monuments, and increasing affordable access to California’s coast and all state parks. Some advocates, like Fadi, got an extra behind-the-scenes feel for the legislative process.

Youth advocates shared their experiences.

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Leaders from Outdoor Outreach and Sonoma Ecology Center Enviroleaders talked about how important it is for youth to have access to parks. Check out this video of Nate Howard of Movement BE, an Outdoor Outreach partner, during the briefing:

We honored Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia

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Assemblymember Garcia was recognized for his work promoting and advocating for California’s state parks. “Our state parks serve as one of the cornerstones of our cultural and historical communities,” he said. “[They] protect and preserve an unparalleled collection of culturally and environmentally sensitive features and ancient habitats.”

(Learn more)

And lastly, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this selfie is at least worth it’s own item on this list

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Assemblymember Ash Kalra takes a selfie with (L to R) Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and CSPF Executive Director Rachel Norton

Want to learn more about the 15th annual Park Advocacy Day? Read the recap on our website, or check out our Storify for social media posts from the day.

Your Vote Can Make a Difference for Parks and Wildlife!

This year’s election is a big one—not only are we casting votes for President, but California voters will also be making decisions on a variety of important issues.  There are 17 state-wide ballot initiatives, (the most for a state election in over 15 years!)—And that’s in addition to city, county and school measures and numerous candidate elections.

As you prepare to cast your votes, CSPF encourages you to vote in support of state, local and regional parks, and the protections of California’s natural and cultural resources.

 

CSPF has endorsed the following and recommends voting YES

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Proposition 67: Protect California’s Plastic Bag Ban
Plastic waste is a blight on our state parks and our ocean waters. Single-use plastic bags find their way into our precious places, then harm fish and wildlife. They end up in our oceans, parks, and wildlife – costing local governments an estimated $400 million to clean up.

Single-use plastic bag bans at the city level have been highly effective in reducing plastic pollution.  One hundred and fifty California cities and counties—nearly half the state—have already banned plastic bags.  Across the board, cities and counties are documenting significant reductions in plastic bag litter and waste. The City of San Jose found a 59% drop in park and roadside plastic bag litter, a 76% reduction in creek and river litter, and a 69% reduction in plastic bag litter in storm drains.

In 2014, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed the first ever statewide ban on plastic bags. However, the implementation of the law has been held up. Proposition 67 is our chance as citizens to speak our mind and get plastic bags banned once and for all throughout California.

(Note to the wise: Don’t confuse this initiative with the deceptive Prop 65, sponsored by the plastic bag manufacturers, that comes before it on the ballot.)

Read further information about Prop 67 here.

 

 

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Measure A: Los Angeles Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, River Protection and Water Conservation
This Los Angeles County ballot measure would allow for the authorization of an annual assessment on virtually all parcels of real property within the county. Voters approved similar propositions in 1992 and 1996 that have provided critical funding for parks for the past 25 years. A portion of that dedicated funding has already expired and the remaining funding will expire entirely in 2019, leaving no dedicated funding to address these critical park and resource needs.

A YES vote on Measure A will provide support for local parks, beaches, open space, and water resources. As you may know, Los Angeles County manages many state beaches and parks without state funding. This measure is a way to ensure that those parks, as well as the rest of the county system, are adequately funded.

Read further information on Measure A here.

 

 

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Measure J: Sonoma County Regional Parks and Water Quality Improvement Measure

This Sonoma County ballot measure will create a half-cent sales tax in unincorporated parts of the county to support parks. The measure includes a detailed plan to expand, maintain and improve Sonoma County Regional Parks; to protect drinking water sources, streams and rivers; to preserve and enhance natural areas and fish and wildlife habitat; and to increase local trails and recreational opportunities. Sonoma County is a glorious patchwork of regional parks, state parks and other protected lands. As a result we are confident that this measure will enhance the area’s entire network of public lands.

Read more about Measure J here.

State Budget Tackles Deferred Maintenance in State Parks

Over the summer, Governor Brown signed the 2016-17 Fiscal Year State Budget, which includes funding for several projects and initiatives near and dear to CSPF’s heart. This is the final article in a three-part series taking an in-depth look at these projects to tell the story of why advocacy for state parks matters. #advocacymatters #yourvoiceforparks

The previous articles of this series dug into how the state budget will bring solar energy to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and discussed the new funding enabling the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to create a two-year Community Liaison Pilot Project at two of the largest urban state parks in California.

This final installment dives into an issue of great concern to CSPF, our members, and the entire state parks community: deferred maintenance. The 2016-17 state budget includes $60 million of funding to address the existing backlog of deferred maintenance projects, as part of a larger $688 million budget allocation to address the state’s most critical infrastructure projects.

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(c) Phillip Oakley Otto

This funding will allow DPR to make critical repairs necessary to preserve visitor safety and enjoyment and protect our natural and cultural resources. It important to note, however, that this $60 million addresses just 5 percent of the current needs identified by DPR, which estimates the deferred maintenance backlog to be over $1.2 billion.

California’s 280 state parks contains more than 1.6 million acres of land and house over 3,100 historic buildings, as well as more than 14,000 individual and group campsites.  They are visited by nearly 75 million visitors annually!

Decades of decreases in funding for state parks, and the lack of predictable funding have resulted in regular maintenance needs not being met. DPR estimates its annual shortfall in ongoing maintenance is approximately $120 million.

The fact that this funding was included as part of the Governor’s General Fund Deferred Maintenance Plan shows a commitment toward a necessary program to address the ongoing needs of the state parks system.

CSPF continues to advocate for funding to address the critical needs of the state park system, and urges California to follow the lead of other states, such as New York, that have created key initiatives to address capital funding needs in their park systems. We believe that California should also develop a clear, targeted, and intentional strategy to address capital needs in state parks.

Learn More

Legislative Analyst’s Office, Challenges in Reviewing Recently Released $400 Million Deferred Maintenance Project List

Parks Forward, Baseline Financial Investment

What Is Deferred Maintenance?

Deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing maintenance activities (such as repairing a leaky roof or damaged trail) in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies.

CA State Budget Funds New Outreach and Engagement Project at Urban State Parks

Over the summer, Governor Brown signed the 2016-17 Fiscal Year State Budget, which includes funding for several initiatives near and dear to CSPF’s heart. This is part two of a three-part series taking an in-depth look at these projects to tell the story of why advocacy for state parks matters. #advocacymatters #yourvoiceforparks

Last month we “dug” into how special funds allocated in the new budget will bring solar energy to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park after a four-year effort.

This month we want to tell you about another budget victory that is enabling the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to develop and implement a two-year Community Liaison Pilot Project at two of the largest urban state parks in California, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in San Francisco and Los Angeles State Historic Park.

We believe that the future of California’s state park system depends on engaging more Californians, and developing greater awareness and support for parks among diverse communities. This program will help DPR increase engagement with established community-based organizations and nonprofit groups. Together they will be able to conduct outreach and engage local community members in the creation of culturally relevant interpretive and environmental programming at these parks. You can learn more about the program objectives and deliverables on the DPR Transformation Blog.

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New bird nesting island at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area created during Yosemite Slough Phase 1 Wetlands Restoration.

CSPF has played a critical role in the development of both Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (CPSRA) and Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP) and is excited about this new project and its potential to provide more meaningful park experiences to more people.

At CPSRA, CSPF led a 2003 feasibility study that showed restoration of the 34-acre Yosemite Slough area of the park would be beneficial for the entire bay and resulted in a three-phase Yosemite Slough Restoration Plan. In 2012, CSPF completed the Phase 1 wetlands restoration and environmental cleanup on the north side of Yosemite Slough. Phase 2, for which we recently completed fundraising, will create a “green” education center, trails, nature viewing and recreation areas, parking and restroom facilities, and other amenities to make the 21 acres of parklands restored during Phase 1 accessible for public use and enjoyment. In addition, CSPF is collaborating with DPR and other key partners and community groups to develop rich place-based educational programs for CPSRA. Learn more here.

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Design rendering of the new Los Angeles State Historic Park currently under construction.

The land for Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP) was acquired by DPR in December 2001. Since that time, CSPF has been instrumental in the creation of the park’s master plan and has supported the development of a groundbreaking interactive interpretive program for its welcome center. The park is not yet fully open to the public but is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2017.

Learn More and Plan Your Visit

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is located in the southeast part of the city and county of San Francisco, adjacent to the site of the former Candlestick Park stadium. As California’s first urban state park, Candlestick Point is readily accessible to over 4 million local residents.

The park offers beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, with picnic areas, fishing piers, a fitness course for seniors, and hiking and biking trails. The park also has an area popular with windsurfers.

Los Angeles State Historic Park includes 32 acres of open space directly adjacent to Chinatown. Once the park opens, visitors will have access to walking paths with views of downtown and interpretive opportunities to discover and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of Los Angeles.

State Budget Paves Way for Solar Energy at Malakoff Diggins

After a four-year effort, CSPF and state park supporters throughout California are celebrating that the current state budget includes the necessary funding to install a cost-effective, clean solar energy system at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.

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Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park (c) Craig VanZante

This project is critical to the future of Malakoff Diggins SHP because this remote state park does not have access to conventional electricity, and currently relies on an expensive diesel generator to power the lighting and security systems that protect an estimated 100,000 historical artifacts.  The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has stated that it spends $70,000 annually to run the generator alone. PG&E has estimated the cost to bring conventional electricity to the park at over $2 million.

By bringing solar to Malakoff Diggins, the park will not only rely on a cleaner energy source, but will significantly reduce its operating costs and allow money currently spent on running the generator to be used for other purposes.

In 2008, Malakoff Diggins was one of 48 state parks identified for closure in the first of many park closure proposals due to state budget cuts. Some state park administrators felt Malakoff Diggins didn’t produce enough revenue to offset its operating cost, a major portion of which was the cost of running the diesel generator.

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Grizzly Hill School students march to protest closure of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

Between 2008 and 2013, CSPF led statewide advocacy efforts to stop the closure of state parks – organizing rallies, petition drives, press conferences and visits with policymakers. In April of 2008, CSPF organized a march for state park supporters from Sutter’s Fort SHP to the State Capitol. Students from Grizzly Hill School joined the march, helping raise awareness of the importance of Malakoff Diggins to their community.

In 2012, CSPF provided $25,000 in critical funding to the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) to help the organization enter into a donor agreement with the State of California in order to keep the park open.

“This generous stop-gap funding from the California State Parks Foundation gives us the breathing room to work with local State Parks staff to develop a long-term solution to save the historic Malakoff Diggins,” said Caleb Dardick, Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League, in 2012, after his organization received a CSPF Park Partnership Grant to help keep Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park open. “With this welcome reprieve, we will focus on long-term solutions such as getting a comprehensive solar power system installed at the park, which could save $60,000 to $80,000 per year in diesel fuel costs for generators and benefit the environment as well.”

Although the doors of the state park stayed open, efforts to bring solar to Malakoff Diggins kept going. In 2013, CSPF was pleased to award another $4,000 to SYRCL for the evaluation of solar power options at the park.

After thorough analysis and evaluation, the cost to bring solar power to Malakoff Diggins was estimated at $700,000, including preliminary plans, working drawings, and construction. Earlier this summer the funding proposal was adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown. Solar energy is coming to Malakoff!

Learn More and Plan Your Visit

Malakoff Diggins SHP is located in the historic town of North Bloomfield, 26 miles northeast of Nevada City, and encompasses 3,200 acres in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills region.

The park was created in 1965 by concerned citizens to preserve the largest hydraulic gold mining operation in the United States, an operation that devastated the area from the mid-1800s on. Visitors to Malakoff Diggins can view the hydraulic mining pit, which showcases the appalling scale of environmental impacts caused by hydraulic mining throughout northern California. Huge cliffs have been carved into the mountains by the gold mining technique of washing away entire mountains to find the precious metal. The destruction resulted in the first environmental protection law handed down by the federal court in 1884 to control further mining efforts.

Malakoff Diggins SHP offers over 20 miles of recreational trails. Swimming and fishing are also available, and a popular Kids Fishing Derby is held each May. Miner’s Cabins and Campgrounds are very popular.

This park is a very popular destination for students learning about California Gold Rush history and offers teachers an overnight Environmental Living Program where students learn period crafts and experience living in the Gold Rush era.

Learn more at DPR’s Malakoff Diggins web page and Friends of North Bloomfield and Malakoff Diggins.

The Bowtie Parcel Offers Inspiring Community Space in Los Angeles

 

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The Bowtie Parcel. Photo by Michelle White

GUEST BLOG BY PARK CHAMPIONS CORE LEADER MICHELLE WHITE

 

In central Los Angeles, adjacent to Rio de Los Angeles State Park, lies a bowtie-shaped piece of land that feels simultaneously scruffy and tranquil. Known as the Bowtie Parcel, these 18 acres of post-industrial land reside within the former Taylor Yard, a Southern Pacific Railroad service facility.

The Bowtie, acquired by California State Parks in 2003, reveals the potential of imagination and transformation, akin to New York’s High Line, a rail line transformed into a landscaped urban paseo with Hudson River and skyscraper views. Within such dense metropolises, the ability to consciously redevelop once-blighted space and bring more nature to city dwellers reflects the substantial impact of space upon social relations. As Luis Rincon, Community Engagement Coordinator for California State Parks, says, “The health and vitality of a community depend on its green space, its open space.”

Setting foot into the Bowtie immediately evokes the immense variety and messy juxtaposition of nature and urbanity that represents Los Angeles as a whole, and the history of its river. White noise from not-too-distant freeways meets the rush of the river. Carefully-designed “earthworks” and interpretive signage meet furtively-scrawled graffiti. Bikers whizz by on land, while ducks cruise by on the water. Non-native fountain grass and Mexican fan palms meet and overtake decomposed asphalt, displaying nature’s uncanny ability to reclaim over time. Fragrant native plants white sage and yerba santa meet the vaguely chlorinated smell of the river. Concrete banks meet soft-bottom riverbed.

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The Bowtie Parcel. Photo by Michelle White

With the July 2015 passage of a $1.3-billion plan to revitalize the LA River, now pending approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and Congress, the Bowtie is already unique in its placement along the soft-bottom Glendale Narrows section of the river. In these 11 miles roughly between the 134 and 110 freeways, cement never set over the high water table, so while channelization severely disrupted the riparian habitat, wildlife returned to this area over time. Concrete still slopes down to the water, but Arundo donax (giant cane), an invasive grass from Southeast Asia, grows along the water in lush abundance, softening the scene – and preventing erosion. Herons, cormorants, egrets, carp and green sunfish call the river home. It’s an unexpected oasis.

Due to placement of the railroad adjacent to the LA River in the 1870s and channelization of the river in the 1930s, LA has remained fundamentally disconnected from its river as a recreational amenity for more than a century. However, groups such as Friends of the LA River, Play LA River, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the arts organization Clockshop have all worked to revitalize sections of the river.

In particular, Clockshop installed land art and interpretive signage at the Bowtie, working with LA-based artists and Woodbury Architecture for Civic Engagement (ACE) students, and facilitated events such as moonlit poetry readings, rain barrel workshops and urban campouts.

This past weekend Clockshop in partnership with California State Parks and the National Park Service, hosted an LA River Campout at the Bowtie. The popular reoccurring event offers Angelenos the opportunity to spend the night at the Bowtie, complete with dinner, campfire programming, and a survey of local flora and fauna. The Bowtie provides a central city setting to learn about LA’s abundant nature coexisting with the concrete, and to connect with community. As Rincon sums up, “The space is there, but when you add the people and the energy, it makes it come alive.”

Find more about the Bowtie, Clockshop and the LA River Campout here.

Celebrate Mother’s Day in CA State Parks

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8. Looking for a unique way to celebrate mom? This year, think more wildflower than bouquet, more Mother Nature than brunch. Here are some outdoor outings perfect for the California mom in your life:

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View from Rancho del Oso by David Baron

Wander the Coast

Bring mom on a 1 mile, 1.5 hour guided walk with docent naturalist Ann Garside at Rancho del Oso (the coastal portion of Big Basin in Davenport). The group will walk from coastal scrub through one of the last native stands of Monterey Pine left in the world, enjoying the blooms along the way.

More info

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Empire Mine State Historic Park by Pat Sullivan

Enjoy a Spring Picnic

Pack up a picnic and head to the Empire Gardens at Empire Mine State Historic Park from 11am to 4pm Sunday. You can visit with the costumes characters in many of the buildings, enjoy music and children’s activities. Food vendors will be available from 11 am to 2pm or you can bring in a picnic lunch to enjoy inside the Park. (Picnics are allowed inside the Historic Grounds & Gardens only 4 days a year!)

More info

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A hiker in Big Basin Redwoods by TrongQuyen Nguyen

Take a Hike

Get mom out of dodge and go enjoy one of the countless hikes in California state parks. Bring her to your favorite trail, or look for new routes recommended by our partner Weekend Sherpa.

If you’d like something a little more organized, join a two and a half mile, two hour guided hike along Mills Creek at Burleigh H. Murray Ranch State Park. Enjoy one of our areas hidden treasures as you learn about the lives of the first pioneers and farming families.

More info

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Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park photo by David Fulmer 

Serve Breakfast in Tent

If your mom is on the more adventurous side, take her camping! Here are some great Bay Area campsites to choose from. In the morning, you can serve her breakfast in her tent.

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Ferry ride to Angel Island

Set Sail

For an extra unique afternoon, treat Mom to a ferry ride to Angel Island, where you can spend the afternoon on a guided hike to Angel Island’s Historic Camp Reynolds, where you’ll be greeted with a pizza lunch at the historic bake house.  After lunch, enjoy mimosas at Battery Ledyard and the best photo ops the Bay Area has to offer of the San Francisco Skyline, San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, hop in an open-air tram for a quick jaunt back to the cafe at Ayala Cove to catch the 3:20 p.m. ferry back to Tiburon.

More info

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Jack London State Historic Park by Kate Dollarhyde

Find Zen

Learn about mindful walking meditation during a 4.5 -mile hike in Jack London State Historic Park on Saturday. Hike leader and docent Jeff Falconer will give an overview at 10 a.m. of walking meditation that has been used as a healing tool during a 1.5-mile hike to Jack London’s lake before you embark on a 3-mile hike, 2-hour hike between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Meet at the Ranch parking lot.

More info

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D.L. Bliss State Park by Ray Bouknight

Head to the Lake

You know the ocean beaches, but don’t forget about our lakeside beaches, like Calawee Cove Beach along Lake Tahoe.

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Polo at Will Rogers by Nancy Jackson

Catch a Polo Match

Bring a blanket and a picnic brunch to Will Rogers State Historic Park and watch horses pound up and down the field right before you.  Learn a little bit about polo, watch a match and then hike the park or tour Will Rogers old house (he was a huge horse and polo fan). Matches are free and open to the public all summer.  There are matches most Saturdays from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

More info

Where will you go this Mother’s Day?

Take It Outside, California!

26222329370_0573293b7a_oThis weekend, April 30 and May 1, is Take It Outside, California! It’s an annual event, organized by our partner California Council of Land Trusts, encouraging Californians to get outside and enjoy our parks and open spaces.

Organizations all over California are planning outdoor events for you to enjoy, including ours! We invite Californians to enjoy healthy activities, celebrate our public lands, and Take It Outside, California! next weekend with our special Park Champions work days.

We have planned 5 special, family-friendly volunteer workdays in state parks in partnership with Take It Outside. All tools and training provided. Projects over 3 hours also include lunch.

Will Rogers, Baldwin Hills and Rio de Los Angeles are still looking for volunteers. Register on our website to participate. 

If these parks aren’t in your area, visit Take It Outside California! to discover new parks near you, and sign the pledge to take it outside. Free public activities include a guided dog walk, family festival, kite flying, creek exploration, outdoor Zumba, and a cardio hike with yoga (yiking!).

See you out there.