|Old growth redwood at Portola State Park|
In September we learned about the successful passage of AB42, which is the bill that allows non-profit groups to help operate state parks that might otherwise be closed due to severe budget cutbacks. Henry Coe State Park which was on the closure list for years, got a big boost with the announcement of The Coe Park Preservation Fund, which actually already existed, which quickly entered into an agreement with the California Department of Parks that will keep that park open through at least 2015. I remember thinking what a great thing that would be if a similar foundation could be similarly brought to bear to protect both Castle Rock and Portola state parks. This press release dated yesterday 12/6/11 announced exactly that. The Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, which has been the official cooperating association since 1991, with cooperation from Sempervirens Fund, and Adventure Out have taken that goal as their mission. Welcome news, but these parks are not safe yet. (I had originally said not “out of the woods” yet, but that would be ludicrous). The foundation will need to raise about $500,000 in order to ensure that the gates can stay open to the public beyond July of 2012. Tax deductable contributions can be made on line at their website. The Portola and Castle Rock Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit. Hopefully this trend can inspire similar foundations to protect other parks on the closure list as well.