Why I’m voting Yes on 68

By Rachel Norton, Executive Director

In my 20s, I lived in New York City – it was a fun and stimulating place to be and for the most part, I loved it. But every spring, as the weather warmed and the days lengthened, I found myself longing for the beautiful mountains, deserts and beaches of my home state – the beloved natural spaces of California. Eventually, I realized it was time to go home.

Fast forward a few (ahem) decades, and I’m now happily living in Northern California, leading California State Parks Foundation and regularly enjoying those beautiful open spaces with my friends and family. I am so grateful to the previous generations of Californians who fought to preserve and expand our parklands.

On June 5, I’m voting Yes on 68 to pay that debt of gratitude forward. Prop 68 will allow the state to sell $4.1 billion in bonds to improve state and local parks and provide funding for clean water, flood protection and other environmental protection projects.

There are a lot of good things in Prop 68, and the measure holds especially good news for parks and open spaces. For one thing, Prop 68 provides $218 million in funding for badly-needed deferred maintenance and other projects in state parks. The system currently has over $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs, so Prop 68 won’t solve all the problems in the system, but it’s a good start – especially since we haven’t had a state parks bond since 2006.

In addition, Prop 68 grants $285 million to cities, counties and park districts to repair and update parks in local communities. And with very strong language about providing access to disadvantaged communities, Prop 68 will also provide $725 million to build parks in neighborhoods that need them.

At our recent Park Advocacy Day event, one advocate remarked that “parks are always first in our hearts but last in our wallets” when it comes to making hard decisions about which public priorities to fund. Prop 68 offers us the opportunity to show our parks how much we love and appreciate them, while making sure these essential spaces will endure for our children and our children’s children. Join me in voting YES on 68 on June 5.

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Mount Diablo State Park, which I visited earlier this month, is one of the 280 state parks that could benefit from Prop 68’s funds

Volunteers provide a meaningful impact on parks this Earth Day

On Saturday, April 21, 2,959 volunteers at 35 California state parks came together to make a huge difference. These volunteers helped construct and update structures for ADA compliance, clear trash and clean graffiti, remove invasive plants and replace them with native species, renovate campgrounds, maintain trails, and more in celebration of our 20th annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Thanks to everyone who volunteered and donated, we were able to…

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Plant 6,702 native trees, shrubs and plants

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Remove 741 cubic yards of non-native vegetation

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Collect 620 bags of trash and 65 bags of recycling

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Restore 14.5 miles of trails

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Build, repair and improve many park structures and more at 35 state parks

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And meet the generous $100,000 match from PG&E

A huge difference was made in our state parks this Earth Day, but as you know, they need your support all year long. California State Parks Foundation offers many ways for you to help parks.

Join or renew your membership: your membership helps us expand access to the beauty, culture, history and educational and recreational opportunities offered by California’s 280 state parks.

Volunteer with Park Champions: our Park Champions volunteers work in nearly 50 state parks to restore, maintain and beautify nearly 50 state parks for wildlife and visitors year-round.

Use your voice: tell your legislators and communities why parks matter to you through our advocacy efforts and action alerts.

Click here for pictures from our 20th annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup on our Facebook page. Thank you again for your support this Earth Day, and every day!