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

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.

Parks Are For Fun!

Despite our ongoing messaging of park closures these days, we also like to maintain an element of fun, because that’s what parks are for! One of our favorite fun moments every year is our ParkFilm Fest, and it is coming up this Saturday.

Come to watch a three-part Pirates of the Caribbean movie marathon on the big screen at Paramount Studios’ Bronson Theater in L.A., AND meet the real pirated of Capt. Jack Sparrow’s crew between films! (Seriously, the actors are coming. Yes, you can get autographs.)

Other fun highlights will include: walking the red carpet, free popcorn, pirate booty, green screen photos, food truck, cash bar, autographs and Q&A with six Pirates cast members, and Paramount tram tours for those who buy package tickets.

The best part of all? Proceeds from the event go to CSPF to help offset severe state budget cuts that threaten all California state parks.  Get tickets online before Friday night, or get them at the door on Saturday.


Fun Bonus: Tomorrow is casual Friday, which means you might find out membership department in (inadvertently) matching footwear, per usual.

The CSPF Membership Department in matching Chuck Taylors. No, it wasn’t planned!