Support Your California State Parks
The future of California State Parks is a League priority because redwoods live in these sanctuaries created with gifts from our members. Read the latest about our work to support redwood parks.
July 9, 2013: Thanks to your gifts, California State Parks reinstalled a seasonal bridge across the Eel River, restoring visitor access for the first time in three years to 61 stunning redwoods campsites at Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area (external link).
The bridge also allows access to
- the Standish Tree, a giant estimated to be 1,200 years old
- miles of forest trails
- a path to the sandy shores of a sparkling swimming hole
- day-use parking
The bridge and campground are open, so go enjoy the magnificent redwoods at Standish-Hickey and know that you made a difference here. Thank you!
Your generous donations were doubled by matching funds from California Assembly Bill 1478 (external link), granting Standish-Hickey a total of $100,000 for critical projects. The funds are also supporting much-needed repairs and upgrades to the park water system that supplies the campground and provides fire protection for the community of Leggett.
April 8, 2013: Your generous donations recently helped obtain matching funds for essential operating expenses and infrastructure projects at three amazing redwood parks that faced closure: Portola Redwoods, Hendy Woods and Standish-Hickey (external link). Totaling $130,000, your gifts helped protect your investments in these parks by covering operational shortfalls and business plans that help put each park on a firm financial footing, plus improvements of water systems, campsites, shelters, bridges and more.
Now because of your gifts, these parks will receive more than $1 million from the State Parks and Recreation Fund and additional matching funds from California Assembly Bill 1478 (external link). Thank you!
We are continuing to work closely with California State Parks staff and these partners:
- at Portola Redwoods with Peninsula Open Space Trust (external link) and Portola and Castle Rock Foundation (external link);
- at Hendy Woods with Hendy Woods Community (external link)
- and at Standish-Hickey with Mendocino Area Parks Association (external link) and Team Standish (external link).
Your gifts are making a difference in these redwood parks and others. One hundred percent of donations entrusted to us for our Parks Crisis Fund will be used for the following:
- Grizzly Creek: $20,000 for operational shortfall and park enhancements.
- Hendy Woods: $40,000 for operational shortfall and enhancements, including a possible new group camp site, trail improvements and other potential projects.
- Mill Creek: $10,000 for operational shortfall.
- Portola: $20,000 for projected operational shortfall. The League plans to provide an additional $20,000 to support enhancements, including developing solutions for an antiquated septic system, rebuilding a picnic shelter and improving the camping-host site.
- Standish-Hickey: $50,000 to install a summer bridge, fix the water system, and reopen campground on the other side of Eel River.
You can continue to support these and other state parks projects by giving a gift.
New Report Agrees with League Testimony on Solutions for Parks
March 25, 2013: A report issued today by a California state government agency agrees with Save the Redwoods League recommendations for putting the troubled California state parks system on a path to sustainability.
As you may know, this parks system cares for most of the redwood forests that you and other generous League members have protected through your donations since 1918.
The government agency that issued the recommendations is the Little Hoover Commission, which recommends ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. The Commission’s recommendations are submitted to the Governor and the Legislature.
The Commission produced the report after the state's budget crisis threatened to result in closure of 70 state parks last year, including redwood parks. The parks system also faces $1 billion in deferred maintenance, and is moving on after the discovery of unspent funding spurred the appointment of Major General Anthony (Tony) L. Jackson, UCMC (Ret.) as California State Parks Director.
In March 2012, Ruskin K. Hartley, then League Executive Director, testified before the Commission about the sustainability of California State Parks. The Commission's new report echoes the League's recommendations. Among the Commission's recommendations:
- The state should provide parks with stable, permanent funding and ensure that revenue generated at the parks supplement — not replace — dollar commitments in the state budget. Similarly, revise state policies so parks can invest savings at the local level into long-term projects.
- After a careful, transparent process, transfer parks that are not of “statewide significance” to regional or local agencies.
- To cut costs, launch a pilot program to jointly operate nearby parks with those operated by other government agencies.
- Develop new ways for parks to generate revenue.
For details, see the Commission's report, Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California’s State Park System.
"We applaud the Little Hoover Commission's recommendations to reform our state park system," said Harry Pollack, the League's Chief Operating Officer and Secretary. "The League will continue to work with parks staff, the Governor, the Legislature and other community groups to develop a vision for what our beloved state parks will look like 50 years from now."
Meanwhile, with your gifts, the League has already been supporting innovative partnerships to improve selected redwood state parks' infrastructure and further energize local communities near the parks.
Last year, the League committed to provide supplemental funding to cover a portion of the operational expenses for Portola Redwoods, Hendy Woods and Grizzly Creek state parks, in addition to that for Mill Creek forest, which is part of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Your initial support not only helped keep the parks open, but it also it catalyzed support from other organizations.
We know we can rely on you, our members, for your help.
Visitors love Portola Redwoods for its seclusion and tranquility among ancient redwoods and its picturesque Pescadero and Peters creeks. The park is a convenient getaway for those seeking refuge from the grind in nearby San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Last year, the League, Peninsula Open Space Trust (external link) and Portola and Castle Rock Foundation (external link) joined forces to help keep Portola open. Combined, the three organizations are contributing $100,000 to eliminate the budget gap and to fund some much-needed repairs. This year, your gifts are helping to fund creation of a ramada, business plan, marketing program and interpretive panels.
For decades, families have visited Hendy Woods to camp and hike among its gigantic 1,000-year-old redwoods and enjoy the cool shade, enveloping quiet and beautiful Navarro River. Many return year after year to what they call the perfect location for relaxing and exploring the Mendocino coast and wine country.
Last year, the League began working with another nonprofit organization, Hendy Woods Community, to keep Hendy open. This year, your gifts are helping improve the park's infrastructure, including an upgrade to make a bathroom accessible for people with disabilities.
For generations, visitors have relished the seclusion of this ancient redwood forest and the swimmer's delight, the Van Duzen River. Grizzly Creek's skyscraping trees are so stunning that they are featured in the film, Return of the Jedi. Humboldt County Parks is now operating Grizzly Creek. This year, as last year, your gifts are enabling the League to contribute a grant for park operations and maintenance.
Mill Creek, a former logging site now part of Del Norte Redwoods State Park, was left with many crumbling roads that could cause catastrophic landslides and harm forests and imperiled salmon. Once restored, Mill Creek will grow to resemble an ancient forest with a thick canopy, clear streams and abundant fish and wildlife. The health of this forest is critical to protect nearby ancient stands including Stout Grove. This year, as last year, your gifts are enabling the League to support park operations, maintenance, trail planning and restoration. Learn more about how your donations are helping to restore this forest.
Other State Parks Your Gifts Support
Your League gifts are also funding plans for a new trail at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, restoration at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and brochures to help you get the most out of your visits to redwood parks.
Over the next year, we will work with California State Parks and our park operating partners to identify possible enhancements that will help parks sustain themselves by reducing costs or increasing revenue.
With your help, we'll continue to enhance access, protect and improve parks' existing revenue streams, create new revenue streams, and restore or protect natural resources. Donate to our Park Crisis Fund to directly support threatened redwood parks. One hundred percent of your donation will be used to help state redwood parks.
- Q: What is the Little Hoover Commission and why is its report important?
A: The Little Hoover Commission is an independent state oversight agency that investigates state government operations. It produces reports, recommendations, and legislative proposals with the aim to “promote efficiency, economy and improved service.” The Commission conducted a 12-month evaluation of the state park system in California. In this report, the Commission assesses the challenges facing the California’s Department of Parks and Recreation and sets forth a set of recommendations for the long-term improvement and sustainability of the department and state parks. This evaluation and the ensuing changes will be critically important for the continued protection of California’s outstanding natural heritage, including our redwood forests.
- Q: What does the report say?
A: The Commission report says that – as evidenced by the threatened closure of 70 state parks in 2012 – change is necessary to revitalize the department and state parks. The report envisions a new approach with detailed recommendations for how to organize, finance, and operate the system. A key component of this new approach includes transitioning the department from the current model of a highly centralized state-run park system – which it calls “obsolete” – to a new, “enterprise-based” organizational model. This new model emphasizes the importance of relationships and collaboration with variety of partners; including foundations, volunteer associations, nonprofits, and other park systems. The report recommends assessing which parks truly have statewide significance, and which serve primarily local or regional needs, to determine the appropriate means of management and funding sources. It also makes recommendations for how state parks can generate more revenue; and highlights the key role parks can play in supporting local economies.
- Q: What is the League going to do?
A: The League, already a State Parks partner, will continue to cooperate with California State Parks and other groups committed to preserving the special natural places California is fortunate to have. The League is dedicated to protecting our members’ investment to support state redwood parks, the home of most of the redwood forests that you and other generous League members have protected through your donations since 1918.
- Q: How can I help?
A: With your help, we'll continue to help keep parks open, enhance access, protect and improve parks' existing revenue streams, create new revenue streams, and restore or protect natural resources. Donate to our Park Crisis Fund to directly support threatened redwood parks. One hundred percent of your donation will be used to help state redwood parks.
All donations the League makes to California State Parks are held in an account that is separate from the accounts in question. Donations made to the park system are tracked separately and can only be used for the specified purpose.
5 Ways to Support Redwood State Parks
- Donate now to the League's Park Crisis Fund
- Visit the redwood forest with friends and family
- Stay informed by bookmarking and visiting this page and by signing up for our enewsletter.
- Talk to your friends about the League's work
- Join the conversation on our Facebook page
Your Gifts Secure Match for Park Improvements
Your generous donations recently helped obtain matching funds for essential operating expenses and infrastructure projects at three amazing redwood parks that faced closure: Portola Redwoods, Hendy Woods and Standish-Hickey. Totaling $130,000, your gifts helped cover operational shortfalls and plans for improvements of septic systems, campsites, shelters, bridges and more. Now these parks will receive more than $1 million from the State Parks and Recreation Fund and matching funds from California Assembly Bill 1478. Thank you! Learn more about how you're making a difference.