Thankful for State Parks

This Thanksgiving, we are feeling thankful for state parks. And thankfully there has been a lot of positive park news this week. Here’s a recap:

FILM

As mentioned in last week’s post, we are very excited about “The First 70” documentary by Heath Hen Films. Now you can, if you so choose, lend your support by pledging to back the film on Kickstarter. As they explain on the site, “Parks are closing across the nation and we are devoted to the cause, please lend your support to help us showcase these beautiful places. With enough backing beyond the target, this film could get big enough to really make a difference in California and across the country.” Show them some love!

LENS

The restoration of the Fresnel Lens at Pigeon Point is well under way. Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News came out to report on the progress. His story ran Monday: Let there be light: Restoration finally begins at Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

For fun, check out the time lapse video of the lens coming down, and the lens going back together!

OPINION

The editorial staff at the San Francisco Chronicle took up the state parks issue in an excellent editorial on Monday: State’s parks – action needed now to save them.

SLOUGH

Yesterday’s press event at Candlestick, which invited media to cover the releasing of tidal waters into the new Yosemite Slough Wetlands, was very successful (and very muddy). The release of the tidal waters was covered by KTVU, KGO, KQED, KCBS, and San Francisco Chronicle. Chronicle article here: Candlestick Point wetland reclaimed as key habitat.

GIVING THANKS

Finally, CSPF staff members shared why they are thankful for state parks this year. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Let us know what YOU are thankful for in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Films for State Parks

We are always amazed by the artists out there who use their personal craft and talent to focus on California state parks. As of late there have been some busy filmmakers around the state making incredible state park documentaries.

We’ve mentioned before a documentary called “The First 70” in the works by Heath Hen Films. Three young filmmakers have taken to the road in a really cool bus to visit all 70 state parks and shoot footage for a documentary. Much to our excitement, they have just debuted their trailer, and it is amazing.

We can’t wait to see the full film. To follow the travels of the Heath Hen Films folks, visit their Facebook page and give them a like.

But that’s not all! Another documentary called “California Forever: The Story of California State Parks” by Backcountry Pictures has wrapped up post-production. This feature-length film highlights the history of California State Parks through an inspiring account of the struggles and achievements that built our State Park system. Another amazing trailer for your viewing pleasure:

CSPF has been involved with this multi-year film project and we know the final product is going to be amazing! It will air on KQED next year.

We are excited that both of these filmmakers have been invited to show some of their work at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA January 13-15. There will also be a film about saving Mono Lake (state park connection!), as well as over a hundred other outdoor films.  A full listing of all the films and their descriptions will be posted on the Wild & Scenic website in early December. Maybe we’ll see you there!

A State Park Beacon

If you’ve ever laid eyes on Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, you know what an amazing state park this is. Thousands of others know it, too, as more than 100,000 people visit Pigeon Point each year.

But Pigeon Point has been in need of some TLC for quite some time. More than 100 years of severe coastal weather has taken a toll. In December 2001, a piece of Pigeon Point Lighthouse’s upper course iron belt broke, crashing 100 feet to the ground. For safety reasons, the Lighthouse Tower and Oil/Watch House are currently off-limits to visitors.

In an effort to turn things around for this beacon, CSPF has taken Pigeon Point on as a capital project, and is currently working to raise the significant public and private funding needed to complete the entire restoration. In an exciting first step, CSPF, in partnership with California State Parks, will begin the first phase of this historic project tomorrow! This will include removal and restoration of the Fresnel lens, interim stabilization of the upper tower and displaying the lens in the Fog Signal Building.

Workers are going to begin taking the First-order Fresnel Lens apart piece by piece. To remove it from the building, they will send pieces out the window on a zip line!

Project Day One Update from the Field

As we work to bring Pigeon Point back to all its splendor and glory, please consider donating so that the Pigeon Point Lighthouse can shine for another 100 years.

Hey Sacramento, We Mean Business

On Tuesday, we took to the streets of Sacramento to protest the closure of 70 state parks with a march and rally at the Capitol. Our rally cry? “Closing parks is bad for business.” We think we got the message across.

The rally event had three goals, and we accomplished what we set out to do.

Goal 1: Bring attention to the park closure issues.
Check: Lots of enthusiastic advocates joined us for the march and rally. They also helped deliver over 100 oversized postcards and thousands of petitions to the governor’s office.  Check out this video by Folk4Parks of the big drop, including our own Traci Verardo Torres telling Brown’s aides why this is such an important issue. They literally had to use a cart to move all of the petitions we brought in!  Side note: is that Gov. Brown walking into his office at 1:33? It’s hard to tell; he’s incognito.


Goal 2:
Kick off our new ‘Closing Parks is Bad for Business Campaign,’ which will publicize the negative impacts park closures will have on California’s fragile economy.
Double Check:
Several business leaders spoke to the rally crowd about how park closures impact their businesses, clientele and communities, including: John Severini, president/CEO of California Travel Association (CalTravel), Christina Strawbridge, owner of Christina S Fashion Destination in downtown Benicia, Christopher Grant Ward of Folk4Parks, and Kevin Murphy, general manager of Sports Leisure Vacations.

Goal 3: Get advocates to attend and testify at the joint legislative hearing of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife and the Assembly Committee for Accountability & Administrative Review.
Checkmate:
We certainly made an impression, as park advocates not only filled the hearing room, but spilled out into the hallway. If you weren’t able to be there, good news, you can watch the video on demand on the California Channel. Fair warning, it’s a three-part series (there was a lot to talk about!), so better make some popcorn for this trilogy.

Part I: Impact and Status of State Park Closures
Part II: Impact and Status of State Park Closures
Part III: Impact and Status of State Park Closures

Will closed parks be bad for your business? Let us know in the comments.