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Support for California State Parks

In 2010, the League completed a park enhancement project in Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve to help make the park facilities more accessible. Photo by Ken Susman
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.

Save the Redwoods League has maintained a close partnership with California State Parks since we helped establish the state parks system in 1927. Since then, California State Parks has grown to be the largest state park system in the United States, with 280 park units and almost 70 million visitors annually. With donors’ support, the League connects people to the redwood forest parks to benefit society and these amazing ecosystems. The more people we introduce to these magical places, the healthier our communities will be, and the more likely these visitors will protect our forests forever.

Our Park Support Program goals are to:

  • Enhance the system of redwood parks to substantially improve the visitor experience and increase park visitation.
  • Engage a new generation of ambassadors to protect redwoods.
  • Expand access for California’s underserved and urban communities.

Parks Support Work

California’s state parks shelter 60 percent of the world’s remaining old-growth redwood forest and the League is deeply invested in the future of our parks and the people who enjoy them. California State Parks (CSP), which buys or accepts donated land from the League, has struggled with declining funding over the past two decades despite increased demand for its services. To protect these redwoods, the League, with gifts from our members, leads and supports various projects to improve the park experience and secure resources for park stewards.

Parks Forward

The future of California State Parks is a League priority — after all, gifts from supporters like you helped create these redwood sanctuaries. We have been actively involved in the Parks Forward (external link) process, designed to build a bright and stable future for California’s beloved state park system. The Parks Forward Commission, made up of independent experts, advocates and thought-leaders, have conducted an extensive assessment of the state of California State Parks. In 2015, the commission adopted the Parks Forward Report, a long-term plan to help State Parks meet the needs of all Californians, now and in the future. The League has worked closely with California State Parks since its inception, and we will expand our partnership role to help implement the recommendations of the report, which include increasing outdoor education for young people, investing in research in the parks, and expanding access for California’s underserved and urban communities. Visit the Parks Forward website to learn more about the initiative.

For updates on the Parks Forward (external link) process and the League’s parks support work, sign up for our enewsletter.

Park Enhancement Projects

The better a redwood park visitor’s experience, the more likely they will support redwoods. One such project is a $340,000 enhancement completed in November 2010 that includes the addition of signage, improved parking facilities, new accessible restrooms and picnic tables under the giant redwoods at Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve. The work resulted from an extensive environmental design and review process to make the reserve more accessible while reducing impacts to the trees, creek and the forest landscape.

Learn more about our Park Enhancement Projects below.

Proud Partner Program

California State Parks seeks partners to generate critical financial support that improves park visitors’ experiences. The League is contributing $264,000 over the next three years to sponsor 33 park brochures that will teach visitors about these parks amid the redwoods. These brochures will mention the League and our Web address to garner additional redwoods supporters.

Parks Excellence Project

In another initiative to improve the parks experience for visitors, the League, with encouragement from CSP, is partnering with California State Parks Foundation to create a vision for state parks of the future. You can read the 2011 joint report, Vision for Excellence for California’s State Parks. In developing the project, we sought the input of parks professionals, parks partners and the public. Almost 8,000 individuals participated in the online survey.

All these new efforts are part of the League’s tradition of trailblazing—of continuing as a leader in conservation with your crucial support.


How Your Gifts Enhance These Parks for You

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.

Your gifts are making a difference in these redwood parks and others:

Portola Redwoods State Park

Visitors love Portola Redwoods State Park 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.

In 2012, the League, Peninsula Open Space Trust (external link) and Portola and Castle Rock Foundation (external link) joined forces to help keep Portola open. The three organizations continue to work closely together and with California State Parks staff to eliminate the budget gap and to fund some much-needed repairs.

Your gifts have helped fund $20,000 for projected operational shortfall and an additional $20,000 to support enhancements, including developing solutions for an antiquated septic system and improving the camping-host site, which opened in 2014! Your gifts have helped fund the creation of a new ramada, business plan, marketing program and interpretive panels.

Hendy Woods State Park

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.

The League began working with another nonprofit organization, Hendy Woods Community (external link), in 2012 to keep Hendy open. Since then, your gifts have helped to improve the park’s infrastructure. Day-use area upgrades, including construction of bathrooms and a picnic area accessible to people with disabilities; interpretive signage; drinking fountains; and a resurfaced all-access trail were completed in 2015.

Mill Creek Forest

Mill Creek, a former logging site now part of Del Norte Coast 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 other wildlife. The health of this forest is critical to protect nearby ancient stands including Stout Grove. Your gifts are enabling the League to contribute funds for trail planning and restoration. Learn more about how your donations are helping to restore this forest.

Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area

The League has partnered with Mendocino Area Parks Association (external link) and Team Standish to work with California State Parks on much needed improvements at Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area. Thanks to your gifts in 2013, 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.

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

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 supported much-needed repairs and upgrades to the park water system that supplies the campground and provides fire protection for the community of Leggett.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Reaching a major milestone, we raised the $1 million needed to restore the popular Pfeiffer Falls Trail after it was destroyed by a 2008 wildfire. Despite floods and a 2016 wildfire, the California Conservation Corps (CCC) built and restored 300 feet of this beautiful trail through the redwoods. This work builds on previous accomplishments by League, CCC, California State Parks and contractors who reconstructed the trail’s lower section and added interpretive signage. We estimate that the team will complete the entire new 1-mile trail and construction of a 70-foot bridge by early 2019.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

In Big Basin Redwoods State Park, we are helping to renovate the Big Basin Nature Museum & Research Center to create an immersive experience that turns spectators into active participants in conservation.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

In Humboldt Redwoods State Park, our goal by spring 2018 is to complete a new, wheelchair-accessible staging and picnic area for visitors exploring The Garden Club of America Grove, where we restored part of the River Trail earlier. Learn about the grove.

We will continue to 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.

You can join us in the effort to protect your investment in redwood state parks by donating to our parks improvement projects today.


5 Ways to Support Redwood State Parks

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