The California State Parks Foundation, one of my favorite outdoors advocacy groups, followed up on Monday’s Park Advocacy Day events in Sacramento (see my previous blog post about Park Advocacy Day) by declaring 2009 the “Year of Park Protection.”
California State Parks Foundation: Park Advocacy Day 2009
Here’s the entire press release from California State Parks Foundation website:
MARCH 23, 2009 (Sacramento, CA) – As part of its Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day, today the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) issued an ambitious policy challenge to state policymakers and advocates. Declaring 2009 as the “Year for Park Protection,” CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein called on state lawmakers and park advocates to pass legislation that will protect state parks from inappropriate development and damaging infrastructure. Today’s announcement comes three years to the day when CSPF, other environmental groups, and the state Attorney General filed California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits to protect San Onofre State Beach from a proposed toll road.
“The lawsuits three years ago today were an important milestone in the fight to protect state parks, but it is a fight that continues today,” declared Elizabeth Goldstein. “We filed those suits not just to protect San Onofre State Beach, but as a means to protect all state parks and we’re here in Sacramento today to lobby the Legislature to keep that work alive. On December 18, 2088 the state parks movement won important victories for park protection outside the legislative process and we’re here to capitalize on that momentum.”
On December 18, two major decisions were announced that protected San Onofre State Beach and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. After ten months of review, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce upheld a February 2008 decision by the California Coastal Commission to protect San Onofre State Beach and deny building a toll road through the heart of the park. On that same day, the state’s Public Utilities Commission voted to allow a new electricity transmission line in San Diego County, but specifically selected a route that would avoid Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
“The elation that park advocates felt on December 18 from protecting these important resources was tempered by the fact that these aren’t the only parks in jeopardy,” said Goldstein. “Major campaigns were mounted to prevent the toll road and the power line from being built, but more than one quarter of the rest of the state park system are under threats of their own. Californians need better protections to safeguard these important resources. We have invested in state parks through bonds and state funding, we rely on them to serve as economic engines to many local communities, and now, more than ever, we need our state parks to be protected and available to all of us for affordable vacations and destinations.”
As part of its Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day, CSPF is hosting more than 160 advocates from around the state lobby the legislature for better protection for state parks. Specifically, advocates are pushing for support for Senate Bill 679 (Wolk), sponsored by CSPF, and Senate Bill 372 (Kehoe). Both bills will enact greater statutory protections for state parks and preserve the integrity of California’s state park system. CSPF’s sponsored bill, Senate Bill 679, requires that no land acquired for the state park system may be used for non state park uses without the express authority of an act of the Legislature and the substitution of other lands of equal value.
In conjunction with Park Advocacy Day 2009, CSPF is also naming California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Senator Lois Wolk as 2009 Legacy Award recipients. CSPF is honoring Treasurer Lockyer for his dedication to defending San Onofre State Beach from the proposed Foothill-South toll road. CSPF is also recognizing Senator Wolk’s leadership in advocating for funding, policy protection and preservation of California’s state parks. Since 2003, CSPF has honored legislative leaders who have done exemplary work for state parks. Honorees will be recognized during a legislative reception at the close of Park Advocacy Day.
“Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk have proven to be strong advocates for the entire California state parks system,” said Elizabeth Goldstein. “We commend these leaders for their commitment to state parks and in particular their leadership and advocacy in protecting California’s state parks and making them available and accessible to the public. Both Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk have shown a continued understanding of the value of our state parks and the need to protect them for future generations.”
Take action to help our California State Park system. You can often help with trail maintenance or other actvities, and some parks have local volunteer organizations you can join.
Do you currently volunteer at one of the state parks? Let us know which park, which group you’re involved with, and what you personally do.