Point Lobos State Reserve, by Sean O'Flaherty-ccLast year, when the California Department of Parks and Recreation announced that one quarter of the state’s parks would be shut down due to budget cuts, concerned citizens across the state were galvanized to action.

Now, a month before parks around the state are scheduled to close their gates, a private, non-profit foundation has come to the rescue, offering money that would keep 15 of those parks open for at least a year.

The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) announced the grants this week, awards totaling $328,586. This is just one of several steps the 43-year-old foundation is taking in response to the crisis of park closures across California’s state park system.

“We’ve been working hard on a number of different fronts, such as launching a major fundraising campaign and offering new technical assistance to nonprofits working to keep parks open,” said CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein, who thanked the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Thomas J. Long Foundation as the source of the grants.

“This is an example of the value of public-private partnerships,” said California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Ruth Coleman. “We thank CSPF for mobilizing donors and resources to assist our nonprofit partners to get through this budget crisis.”

70 state parks were originally slated for closure by July 1, 2012. Thanks to the efforts of private donors, nonprofits, local governments and DPR, numerous deals throughout the state have been finalized to keep some parks open temporarily, with many more in the works.

Since 1969, the California State Parks Foundation with their 130,000 members,raised more than $186 million to benefit for California’s magnificent state parks.

The new grants are designated for the following parks: Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, Austin Creek State Recreation Area, Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, Castle Crags State Park, China Camp State Park, Greenwood State Beach and Elk Visitor Center, Hendy Woods State Park, Jack London State Historic Park, McConnell State Recreation Area and George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area, Palomar Mountain State Park, Salton Sea State Recreation Area, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and the William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park.

(Source: www.calparks.org)

Point Lobos State Reserve, by Sean O’Flaherty-CC

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