Success (Again) for San Onofre!

We won another victory (our fifth one!) yesterday, March 16, at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board (RWQB.) The RWQB adopted findings that once and for all rejected Waste Water Discharge permits the Toll Road Authority’s (TCA) had requested. They did so with a vote of 6-0.  We are thrilled.  This victory was not a forgone conclusions because a great number of the RWQB Commissioners were new to the dialogue.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When RWQB originally rejected the permits in July 2013, the TCA appealed that decision to the California Water Board.  The California Water Board remanded the decision back to San Diego, saying that the Board needed to make more thorough findings but that the legal basis to their original decision was sound.  The staff report to the RWQB was excellent and in the end was persuasive.

CSPF members sent 388 letters to the RWQB at our request, making our advocacy voice heard loud and clear.  Overall all the organizations in the Coalition generated more than 5,000 letters supporting San Onofre.

As always, we are delighted to be a part of such a strong coalition of protectors of San Onofre, including the Surfrider Foundation, NRDC, Audubon, and the Endangered Habitats League.  We all bring our own strengths to this fight and are so much better for it.

We are all hoping this project doesn’t have NINE lives.


Action Alert: Write an Email to Stop the Tollroad

We need your voice! Take action now and write to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to urge them stop the Foothill tollroad at their March 16 hearing. Comments are due February 18, 2015 before 2 p.m., and public support is critical.

San Onofre State Beach Image ©Julianne Bradford

What’s Going On

The proposed Foothill tollroad, if built on the route preferred by the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), would literally bisect San Onofre State Beach and would run through some of Southern California’s most intact habitat lands in Orange and San Diego counties. The California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce turned down the TCA’s original proposal. Even so, the TCA came up with a new strategy to first construct the northern segment — called the Tesoro Extension — thus creating pressure for full completion.

When asked for a water quality permit, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board saw through this ruse, and refused to issue a permit for Tesoro until such time as the entirety of the project was before them. Upon appeal, the State Water Board affirmed the legal basis for this denial. Now, the San Diego Regional Board needs to make “findings” at its March 16 hearing to finalize its decision.

Our Position

As you know, the California State Parks Foundation, along with a great coalition of other organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Surfrider Foundation, the Endangered Habitats League, Sea and Sage Audubon and the California Coastkeeper, have been working to prevent the tollroad from destroying San Onofre State Beach for many years. We keep winning and then another challenge appears on the horizon. Fundamentally, this battle is about whether state parks are protected lands or outside agencies may make use of these lands willy-nilly for non-park purposes. We believe state parks should be protected.

How You Can Help

Please help us reinforce the San Diego Regional Water Board decision to reject the toll road’s water quality permit by sending an email with our online form.

Comments are due by 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 18!

Toll Road Proposal Rejected

GREAT NEWS! The proposal to put a toll road through San Onofre State Beach was rejected by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board at a hearing yesterday. This is a huge win for the park.

The Water Quality board rejected a permit for the Transportation Cooridor Agencies (TCA) that would have allowed a six-mile expansion — the Tesoros Extension — of the Foothills South Tollroad. Opponents to the proposal felt this was just the first step towards a longer extension into the park and Trestles coastal habitat area.

Photo by Julianne Bradford

Photo by Julianne Bradford

Over 300 people attended the hearing to protest the toll road, and there were 6 hours of public testimony. Incredible!

Here is an article that sums up the hearing.

Thank you to all who helped to protect this park.

Help Save Trestles

San Onofre State Beach is being threatened again, and we need your help!

Save_Trestles_CSPFOn Wednesday, June 19 the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is expected to make a decision regarding the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) permit to build the first “segment” of the SR-241 toll road extension. We can’t let that happen.

Can you attend the meeting in San Diego at 1:00 p.m. to demonstrate opposition to the toll road? Your presence and public comment can make a big difference.

WHAT: Water Quality Control Board Meeting regarding TCA’s permit for first 5 miles of road.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 19 @ 1:00 p.m.
: Water Quality Control Board Meeting Room: 9174 Sky Park Court, San Diego, CA 92123

Since 2011 — three years after the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration shot down the proposed extension of SR-241 through San Onofre State Beach — the TCA has been proposing to build the remainder of the road in “segments” – five miles at a time.  “Segmenting” is illegal under state and federal law.  Not only does TCA’s plan circumvent important laws, this approach makes absolutely no planning sense as it will create a “cul-de-sac of traffic” for San Juan Capistrano, and would end at a road that is not even built yet.  More recently, the TCA held a “special meeting” to approve plans for the “Tesoro Extension,” the first five miles of the 241 Toll Road extension, without any public workshops or sufficient public notice.

Help stop this plan in its tracks by attending the meeting on June 19.

The Save San Onofre Coalition has resurrected the California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit that challenged the original 16-mile proposal in 2006, bringing the fight to Save Trestles back into the courtroom.

Please join this group and fellow park lovers in San Diego on June 19 and take a stand for San Onofre State Beach.

Thanks for supporting state parks!

Love State Parks? Say So!

There’s no better way to show your political support for something than to sit in the office of your local representative and tell them about it.

Seems a little intimidating perhaps? On the contrary. That’s why we coordinate our annual Park Advocacy Day. We schedule appointments for you, help you develop talking points, and put you in small groups with whom you can visit your representatives. But we need people like YOU to join us to make this day successful.


Picture yourself as a park advocate

That said, registration is now open for our 11th Annual Park Advocacy Day and we hope you will participate.

CSPF’s 11th Annual Park Advocacy Day
Sacramento, CA
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

During Park Advocacy Day, over 100 park supporters will gather together in Sacramento to spend the day meeting with policymakers and advocating in support of state parks. These meetings have a lasting impact on legislators and staff as they make decisions on legislation and budget issues.

And the day is customized to YOU. You’ll have the opportunity to speak up for YOUR state parks with your very own representatives.  What’s not to like about that?

But you have to register soon to join in, as there are limited spots and registration closes Feb. 8.

If you have questions about Park Advocacy Day, please contact us at or call 916-442-2119.

Urge lawmakers to support Assembly Bill 1478

Advocacy in action.

Over the last two weeks, thousands of state park supporters have sent messages to their legislators urging them to allocate the recently-identified and unspent state park funds back into the state park system.

As a result of the strong outpouring of support from park supporters, lawmakers have introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1478 which will appropriate $20.5 million in State Park and Recreation Fund funding to keep parks open.

In addition to allocating this funding, AB 1478 also includes several other important provisions.

  • Prohibits the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) from closing or proposing the closure of a state park in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 fiscal years.
  • Strengthens the State Park and Recreation Commission to improve their ability and capacity to provide oversight and a more meaningful connection between the public, park stakeholders, and the parks department.
  • Provides a one-time appropriation to ensure that all ongoing internal and external investigations into the DPR are fully funded.

We need your help to urge lawmakers to pass AB 1478. With only a couple days left in this legislative session, lawmakers will be making final decisions on this bill by Friday. We urge you to use our online system to send a message to your legislators and the governor specifically urging them to support AB 1478.

It only takes a minute!

Show us Why You’re Defending State Parks

As you saw last week, we launched our new Defend What’s Yours PSAs and awareness campaign. We’ve had great response from all of you, so thank you for getting involved and sharing these videos with everyone you know!

See the other PSAs here.

Because you have all had some really great things to say about parks and defending what’s yours, we thought it would be fun if YOU make the next video. So here’s what we have in mind:

  • Make a video about why you love state parks, or about why you want to defend state parks from closure.
  • It doesn’t have to be shot in a state park. Use your web cam if you want! It doesn’t matter, we just want to hear what you have to say because you are passionate about state parks and your voice matters.
  • Make the video as short at 10 seconds or as long as you want.
  • Don’t worry about being artsy fartsy. It can be raw and sincere and still be totally awesome. Use the Defend What’s Yours image below in your video if you want to brand it to the campaign.
  • Upload your video to YouTube and tag us in your description or post it on our Facebook page so we know you made it. (Or if you don’t want to upload it just contact us and we can upload it for you.)  We will share it with our friends and members so we can hear your individual voices.

We hope the Defend What’s Yours campaign has inspired you and that you will “show” us why you are defending state parks!

Defend What’s Yours—Your State Parks

Today we are announcing the launch of a new public awareness campaign called Defend What’s Yours. This is the message we are bringing to the public (in more or less words):

‘California state parks belong to you, but not for long. Six months from now 25 percent of your parks will be closed unless you step up to defend them.’

It’s a strong message, but we believe public awareness is necessary in this moment to empower citizen action and mobilize grassroots support to save the nation’s biggest and best state park system.

As part of the big launch today, we unveiled a new series of television public service announcements (PSAs) that will air statewide starting this week. Take a look at one here:

See the other PSAs on our YouTube channel.

It’s time to say enough is enough. Enjoy the videos, and please join us in this fight to defend state parks. Do you want to be a defender?

The Season of Giving

’Tis the season! Chanukah starts Tuesday and Christmas and New Year’s are just around the corner. Lights are twinkling, trees are decorated, candles are glowing. Have you caught the holiday bug yet? We at CSPF have, especially with all the generosity we have seen swirling around this year.

First, some amazing folks across the state have been working tirelessly and collaboratively to give state parks back to their fellow Californians.

  • The Coe Park Preservation Fund stepped up this week to fund Henry Coe State Park from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.
  • The Bodie Foundation will keep Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve open to the public for at least a year.
  • The National Parks Service (NPS) teamed up with State Parks to keep Tomales Bay, Samuel P. Taylor and Del Norte Coast Redwoods state parks open through 2012.
  • A crucial $250,000 federal grant was awarded and should allow McGrath State Beach Park to remain open.
  • Plenty more groups are working hard to save additional state parks, and we can’t wait to hear of new announcements of saved parks!

As if that isn’t enough, hundreds of generous people are flocking to the Kickstarter site of our friends at Heath Hen Films to help them fund their upcoming documentary, The First 70. You’ve heard us talk about them before, and we are still rooting for them as they finish up this important film. In fact, with the giving spirit all around us, CSPF today contributed to Heath Hen’s Kickstarter site, and we encourage you all to do the same! They have 16 days left to fundraise, and we want to see them succeed.

The spirit of giving is quite contagious as it turns out. Hope you catch it. Happy Holidays!

Bonus: What’s a gift without an overly elaborate wrapping job?

Be heard! March and Rally to Save State Parks

I got a fever! And the only prescription ... is more park activists!

Have you been vocalizing your disapproval of park closures lately, or has your battle cry been petering out? Don’t worry, we have a cure for that, and it’s not more cowbell … it’s more people!

CSPF and our Save Our State Parks Campaign partners will be hosting a march and rally on Tuesday, November 1 in Sacramento to show our support for state parks. We will protest the closure of 70 state parks and raise awareness of the negative impacts park closures will have on California, and we want you to join us! 

On your marks, get set, march

The march will start at 8 a.m. in front of Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park in downtown Sacramento. We will walk about a half mile to

the Capitol where we will assemble for a short rally protesting park closures. After the rally we will deliver 200 oversized postcards and thousands of petitions to the governor’s office.

We chose November 1 because that is the day a joint legislative hearing is scheduled to be held at the Capitol by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the Assembly Committee for Accountability and Administrative Review. The hearing will discuss the impacts and status of proposed state park closures. We anticipate there will be some time allocated for public comment, so we encourage all rally participants to join us in attending the hearing at 9 a.m.

The California State Capitol building in Sacra...

Finish Line

It’s going to be a productive day to make our voices heard in Sacramento. We would love for you to join us to send a message to policymakers that the people of California have not given up efforts to Save Our State Parks.

You can register online today. Need more information? Please call our Sacramento office at 916-442-2119 or email