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.

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A Day in the Life: Earth Day Volunteer

Our Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup Event is next Saturday, April 16. We need volunteers to join us to work on much-needed improvement projects at 27 state parks across California. Join us for a great day outdoors in a park working side by side with fellow community members to make a real difference this Earth Day.

If you are still debating whether or not to volunteer, here’s what your Earth Day might be like if you sign up (hint: it will be awesome).

8:30am – 9am: You arrive at the park (following directions from the website) and park for free (!) because we appreciate our volunteers. You follow signs to the check in table head over to register, sign a waiver and say hello.

While other volunteers get registered, you enjoy some graciously-donated coffee from Peet’s Coffee and breakfast treats from Fruit Guys, Nature’s Path, and Lundenberg.

9am – The event organizers kick off the event! They welcome all the volunteers, give a safety talk, and explain the projects for the day. If there is more than one project, you pick the one that sounds good to you and join that group. Grab some gloves and tools and get ready to work!

9:30am – 12:30pm – You get work done! You help your team with the projects, get to know people, enjoy being outside, and have a great time.

12:30 pm – You did it! Look around and take in the improvements you made. Then gather together with the team to enjoy some lunch from SUBWAY Restaurants, and maybe get some fun prizes like Chipotle.

 

So what do you say? Will you join us next Saturday in a park near you?

See a map of the parks, read project descriptions, and register to volunteer online. Registration will close early next week, so sign up today!

 

Thanksgiving week in Big Basin Redwoods State Park!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest State Park, established in 1902. This park features ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. These California trees can reach higher than 320 feet, and their trunks can grow more than 27 feet wide. And these trees can live for more than 2,000 years! In this park you can enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, more than 80 miles of roads and trails, and a fascinating natural and cultural history. Here are some events to check out this week!

Thanksgiving Day, November 26

All hikes start at Park Headquarters

Redwood Grove Loop Walk – 11 am and 2 pm, 0.5 mi
A 0.5 mile stroll through a magnificent old growth redwood forest. See the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90 minute walk.

The Road Less Traveled – A Dog-Friendly Walk – 9:30 am, 3 mi
On North Escape Road, a paved road closed to traffic. A three mile, two hour round trip walk with a docent. See stunning old-growth redwood groves along beautiful Opal Creek. With a discussion about redwood ecology and park history.

 

Black Friday, November 27

All hikes start at Park Headquarters

Meteor Trail Hike – 10:30 am, 6 mi
A docent will be leading a hike that features mountain streams, oak woodlands, chaparral and redwoods. There will be a discussion of forests, flowers and fires on a six mile, 3.5 hour hike.

Redwood Grove Loop Walk – 11 am and 2 pm, 0.5 mi
A 0.5 mile stroll through a magnificent old growth redwood forest. See the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90 minute walk.

Coffee Talk and Crafts – 9 am to Noon
The Sempervirens Room next to Park Headquarters will have free coffee or hot chocolate. A docent will be there to answer any questions. There will also be a craft activity got kids!

 

Saturday, November 28

All hikes start at Park Headquarters

The Road Less Traveled – A Dog-Friendly Walk – 9:30 am, 3 mi
On North Escape Road, a paved road closed to traffic. A three mile, two hour roundtrip walk with a docent. See stunning old-growth redwood groves along beautiful Opal Creek. With a discussion about redwood ecology and park history.

Redwood Grove Loop Walk – 11 am and 2 pm, 0.5 mi
A 0.5 mile stroll through a magnificent old growth redwood forest. See the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90 minute walk.

 

Sunday, November 29

All hikes start at Park Headquarters

Redwood Grove Loop Walk – 11 am and 2 pm, 0.5 mi
A 0.5 mile stroll through a magnificent old growth redwood forest. See the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90 minute walk.

Art, Books and Coffee – 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
In the beautiful redwood Sempervirens Room, choose a book or two to read with your family, while sipping coffee, tea or hot chocolate next to a roaring fire. There will be a docent available to help you find the perfect book for your family to enjoy, answer your questions about the park and provide an artful craft for your children.

 

Photos: Redwood photos by Sean Peck. Sign photo by Charles Tu

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Celebrated!

Every November people from near and far gather at Pigeon Point Light Station State Park to mark the anniversary of the first time—in 1872—its Fresnel Lens was lit to guide mariners. A technological marvel, even by today’s standards, the first order Fresnel Lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 2,000 pounds. Though the lens is now on display in the adjacent Fog Signal Building, the lighthouse remains an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation.

After 143 years of weathering wind, salt water and other harsh elements, the lighthouse is closed for a major rehabilitation project led by CSPF. Phase One, an interim stabilization of the tower by removing the lens and sealing all cracks to prevent water intrusion, has been completed. Drawings for the remaining three phases (upper tower, lower tower, oil house) are pending approval and a series of events to kick off the restoration campaign are in the works.

The lens will not return to the upper tower until repairs are completed, but that didn’t stop the festivities enjoyed by over 1,000 attendees on Saturday. During the day, families took docent-led nature and history walks, children made their own lighthouses while sipping hot chocolate, musicians serenaded the crowds with songs about lighthouses, Beyond the Border food truck served up delicious meals, and everyone stopped by the Fog Signal Building for viewings of the magnificent lens and its prisms of light.

Shortly after sunset, an audience gathered for a slide show of the construction drawings by Architectural Resources Group (ARG) which were projected onto the lighthouse itself. Then a short video entitled “It’s A Long Way to Pigeon Point” (by docents Stuart Nafey and Peter Bohacek) described historic transportation modes used to reach the lighthouse, as well as marine mammals and birds that migrate past the area.

After the two showings, other images were projected onto the spectacular lighthouse screen—including a lava lamp which only audience members of a certain generation could identify. Using the lighthouse as the backdrop for these two viewings was quite a spectacle. The volunteers at Pigeon Point plan to do it again next year, so save the date of November 12, 2016.

Photos by James Zhang

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

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.

Time capsule opened in historic state park

It is not every day that you have the opportunity to open a time capsule. But on November 29, the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park and the community of Chico got that chance.

An eager crowd of all ages gathered at the front of the mansion around 10 a.m. to see what people from the past wanted to pass on. The time capsule was discovered on November 4 this year when a construction crew was moving an Oregon Trail marker, which was placed there October 25, 1925.

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After a few minutes of waiting the contents were revealed. The box contained scrolls that were wrapped in some sort of vegetation. The staff did not want to open the scrolls right away, as not to expose the paper to the elements. The time capsule is now on display in the Visitor Center and is awaiting an expert to safely inspect what is inside. The information will become available once it has been analyzed.

What may be even more important than the contents of the capsule is the community that came out to see it. The mansion continues to be a social and cultural hub for the community. For example, throughout the year the local elementary schools in the Chico Unified School District come to the Bidwell Mansion to learn about local and California history.

The three-story, 26-room mansion was the home of pioneer General John Bidwell and his wife Annie Bidwell, a temperance leader and women’s suffrage advocate. The mansion was a social and cultural destination for many, including President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William Tecumseh Sherman, California Governor Leland Stanford, environmentalist John Muir, and women’s suffragist Susan B. Anthony.

California can only hope Bidwell Mansion is preserved for our future generations to gather, learn about, and embrace the historical community.

The Visitor Center is open Saturday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are held Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

story BY CSPF Senor membership assistant Ashley tittle

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End Your Summer in a Great Place

Summer may be drawing to a close, but there are still plenty of fun events and activities taking place at state parks for the next few weeks.

To help inspire your visits, we’ve put together a list of over 150 events and activities taking place in state parks between now and October. Our list includes a variety of experiences — everything from music festivals and theater to guided hikes, historical walking tours, train rides and star parties.

After you attend an event in a state park, submit your photos to our “End Your Summer in A Great Place” Photo Challenge. The challenge is simple: just upload photos from your trips to California’s state parks on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win fun prizes from our online store!

The “End Your Summer in A Great Place” Photo Challenge is part of our ongoing effort to celebrate the 150th anniversary of state parks by reflecting on the many reasons why California’s State Parks are Great Places. Over the past 8 months, we’ve been working to spread the word about the many reasons State Parks are Great Places. We’ve showcased stories and photos submitted by park supporters at the State Capitol during Park Advocacy Day and in Yosemite Valley during the Yosemite Grant Act 150th Anniversary event on June 30.

Visit our Facebook page and upload your state park photos today!

Know Your History, Know Your Parks – Part 2

CSPF’s third Hidden Stories Series conference, Folding Back the Layers of California’s Latino/a History: The Stories Beneath the Stories, is taking place on October 2 and 3 in Los Angeles … just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15.

The 2013 Hidden Stories conference will explore Latino history in the context of California’s state parks. This conference seeks to go beyond existing interpretation of historical Latino figures to look at “the stories beneath the stories,” or going beyond what is commonly known in order to uncover how these figures shaped our history, influenced our society, and left permanent, although unrecognized, impressions on our state.

Find out more info…

SNEAK PEEK: The Gold Rush

One Hidden Stories presenter, Tomás Summers Sandoval, Ph.D., works as a professor of Chicana/o Studies and History at Pomona College in Claremont. He posed the following sneak peek question:

Did you know that in the 19th century, Latin Americans from nations other than Mexico were the majority of the Spanish-speaking population of San Francisco? And, what first drew Latin American migrants to San Francisco?

Mercedes Melendez Wright San Francisco, 1890s Native of El Salvador, married to American Capt. John T. Wright Photo courtesy of Pamela Wright Lloyd

Mercedes Melendez Wright
San Francisco, 1890s
Native of El Salvador, married to American Capt. John T. Wright
Photo courtesy of Pamela Wright Lloyd

During and following California’s gold rush in 1848, many Central Americans and South Americans, principally Peruvians, Bolivians, and Chileans, flocked to San Francisco by boat. San Francisco was the gateway to the gold fields. Many people from South America’s Andean countries had been mining for generations under the watchful eye of the Spanish. They arrived to not only work the gold fields, but also to provide services as mining experts. Others arrived as sea-going and land-based merchants to take advantage of the wild and bustling economy in the city and the Sierra Nevada.

Find out more about this and other topics at our Hidden Stories Conference. Conference and ticket information can be found here.

Know Your History, Know Your Parks

CSPF’s third Hidden Stories Series conference, Folding Back the Layers of California’s Latino/a History: The Stories Beneath the Stories, is taking place on October 2 and 3 in Los Angeles.

The 2013 Hidden Stories conference will explore Latino history in the context of California’s state parks. This conference seeks to go beyond existing interpretation of historical Latino figures to look at “the stories beneath the stories,” or going beyond what is commonly known in order to uncover how these figures shaped our history, influenced our society, and left permanent, although unrecognized, impressions on our state.

Find out more info…

SNEAK PEEK: California Citrus State Historic Park

Citrus Apr13 450One Hidden Stories presenter will be José Alamillo, Ph.D., Full Professor and Coordinator of the Chicana/o Studies Program at California State University, Channel Islands. His Hidden Stories presentation is titled “California Citrus State Historic Park and Mexican American Neighborhoods.”

Here’s a sneak peek of his presentation:

“Latino neighborhoods did not only originate in urban cities but also in rural and suburban areas near railroads, mines and agricultural fields. As the citrus industry expanded in the late 19th century it became a strong economic engine for the state of California. To remain profitable however it recruited foreign labor from Asia and Latin America. Mexican workers increasingly became the largest labor force during the 1920s due to stable employment and family housing provided by growers. Mexican American neighborhoods emerged with the development of California citrus industry like Santa Paula, Pomona, Orange, San Dimas, and Casa Blanca, Eastside Riverside, and Corona.”

If you would like to learn more about this and other topics surrounding California’s historic Latino population then please join us at this year’s conference!

Conference and ticket information can be found here.  PS early bird ticket prices end September 10!

Thanks Professor Alamillo!