On Jan. 14, 2020, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) hosted an installment of the Secretary Speaker Series. This session focused on improving access to our natural and cultural treasures. Secretary for Natural Resources Agency Wade Crowfoot invited a diverse panel for a conversation about expanding and enhancing equitable access to state parks through funding, policy and projects. Joining Secretary Crowfoot were Amy Lethbridge, executive director of Community Nature Connection; Rue Mapp, founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro and California State Park and Recreation Commissioner; Dr. Nooshin Razani, MPH, of Children’s Hospital Oakland; and Katherine Toy, executive vice president of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. If you would like to watch this presentation, click here
The next session of the Secretary Speakers series was held Feb. 18, 2020, and featured Secretary Crowfoot outlining his 2020 priorities. To watch this presentation and other previous presentations, click on CRNA Speaker Series.

2020/2021 Budget Update:
Governor Gavin Newsom introduced his proposed budget in January, with good news for the Natural Resources Agency. The proposed budget includes investing in access for all to our natural resources, including parks and beaches. In total, $65.1 million has been proposed to help expand on the work that State Parks has done through its Parks for All initiative to improve access and expand the State Park System. Funds would go toward improving facilities in urban areas, acquiring land to expand parks, improving access for underserved populations and establishing a new state park.

If you would like to learn more about these budget highlights, please watch Secretary Crowfoot’s short video on YouTube and read his blog page and the Governor’s proposed 2020/2021 Budget for Natural Resources


Director’s Award Winners Announced

By Communications and Marketing Division
Congratulations to the Director’s Awards recipients! From saving lives and making parks more accessible to helping protect against climate change and educating the public about our state’s remarkable resources, the accomplishments of our awardees further and strengthen our mission, values and goals.
Thank you to those individuals who submitted nominations. You are honoring the exceptional dedication and hard work of your fellow coworkers.
Partnership Award (formerly John B. Dewitt Award): Recognizes partners who have demonstrated a high level of commitment over a substantial period of time toward accomplishing the department’s mission. This year, the Partnership Award was awarded to Tina Conway, Field Trip Foundation, Santa Cruz District.
An important goal of California State Parks is to ensure that our park system is inclusive to everyone within our state. However, with the high cost of living and transportation in California, this has been difficult for many groups to achieve.
Tina recognized this problem and dove in headfirst to provide inspiration and education to income-eligible families. She started a nonprofit in the 1980s called the Field Trip Foundation, which took underserved students to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve outside Half Moon Bay to observe the tide pools. While giving a presentation at an East Palo Alto school, Tina met Ranger Chuck Edgemon from Año Nuevo State Park. Chuck, like Tina, had also begun finding innovative ways to pair income-eligible youth with nature. On his days off, Chuck reached out to kids in Santa Cruz who didn’t have the means to come to the park. Tina wanted to expand her program and thought the tide pools combined with a field trip to Año Nuevo would be a good mix of nature for the kids. Chuck agreed, and Tina’s involvement with Año Nuevo began.
Through her foundation, Tina funds three buses (at more than $1,000 per bus) of 60 eligible students from Bay Area schools every Wednesday throughout the three-month elephant seal season. She has also participated in classroom presentations to let the kids know what they’ll be experiencing at the park to better prepare them.
Through endless hours of hard work and dedication, partners like Tina Conway and the Field Trip Foundation have gone above and beyond to provide for the health, inspiration and education of underserved children in California.

Attention Nonprofits

By Ethan Tratner, Partnerships Analyst

This is a reminder for all nonprofits and charities operating in the State of California, including our cooperating associations, donors, nonprofit operators, nonprofit concessions and other nonprofit partners. Beginning Feb. 1, 2020, the California Office of the Attorney General updated its forms and changed certain requirements to register as a charitable trust. As a reminder, to remain in good standing as a nonprofit organization in California, all 501(c)(3) organizations must register annually with the Attorney General.
Specifically, there are changes to the Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report to the Attorney General of California (RRF-1) form regarding noncash donations. There is also a new form requirement for nonprofits that make less than $50,000 annually. The California Association of Nonprofits has created a handy Nonprofit Compliance Checklist for charities to find the specific forms required for compliance. You can look up the status of your organization on the Registry of Charitable Trusts. Please review to make sure that you have submitted all the necessary documents.

New Partnerships Division Brochure

The Partnerships Division has unveiled a new brochure posted on its webpage. To view or download the online brochure, please click here.



A lot of happy faces take a break while hiking The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.
Photo by Joseph Esparza, Santa Cruz District.

Good Weather Leads to Large Turnout for First Day Hikes

By Dennis Weber, Volunteers in Parks Program Manager

Gorgeous weather across most of California attracted a large turnout for guided hikes at California state parks on New Year’s Day. A total of 53 parks offered 85 hikes in the desert, along the coast, up mountains and through redwood forests during the National First Day Hikes event.
First Day Hikes is sponsored by the National Association of State Park Directors and encourages the public to start the new year by visiting state parks across the United States and Canada to exercise and learn and connect with nature. On the 10th anniversary of California participating, a record number of 3,192 hikers covered more than 8,400 miles. Nationally, more than 84,000 visitors participated, with a final count still in process.
Most of the hike leaders at California parks are volunteers working with staff volunteer coordinators to organize the hikes. Without these volunteer and docent guides, this event would reach a small fraction of the people who participate each year in California. A huge thank you to park staff, docents, volunteers and partners for their efforts on behalf of First Day Hikes. Their support is invaluable to making this grassroots event a success.
Our state parks showed off their diversity with geology, habitats, history, nature and incredible vistas. Hikers could choose from a strenuous 9-mile hike through Red Rock Canyon State Park, hike through the redwoods at Big Basin Redwood State Park or Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, stroll the beach at Carpinteria State Beach or climb to mountain tops at several locations. More than 400 visitors toured the gravity railroad barn at Mount Tamalpais State Park.
The event achieved one of its key goals: to attract first-time visitors. Hundreds of individuals who had never entered a state park were introduced to the features and benefits of these special and public resources. For example, several hikers at Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area live only miles away, but had never visited these beautiful natural habitats.
A second goal of First Day Hikes is to engage young people and introduce them to our parks. Children enjoyed storytime under redwoods, became experts on identifying fox scat and locating amphibians, and spent quality time with their families. At Anza-Borrego Desert State Park a 9-year-old enjoyed his seventh First Day Hike. One 8-year-old was given the opportunity to lead his group back to the trailhead at Empire Mine State Historic Park. After a quick lesson in reading a map and trail signs, he “led” the way and declared he wanted to become a ranger.
The highest attendance for a hike at a single California state park was Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, where a record 130 hikers were on hand. Meanwhile, concession partner Faultline Powersports at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area hosted an off-road ride, which attracted about 160 riders. Although this may not be your typical hike, this event had the spirit of the First Day Hike’s mission. Consider planning a hike at your park next year.
Hikers stop for a photo with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background at Angel Island State Park.
Photo by Shawn Dunning


Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for California State Parks’ Partners

By Erin Frias, Human Rights Office
In 2018, California’s laws changed to require employers with five or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of training to all nonsupervisory employees by Jan. 1, 2020, and once every two years thereafter. In 2019, the law changed again to delay the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline to Jan. 1, 2021. To learn more, click on the senate bill webpages: SB 1343 and SB 778.
Typically, training of this nature can cost $60 to $150 per person; however, California State Parks’ partners can receive training for free (does not apply to travel and lodging) by coordinating through their respective park districts. Please see the schedule below for available sessions and session locations.
Alternatively, California State Parks’ Human Rights Office is developing a self-guided training for park partners that should be ready to debut this summer. If you are unable to make one of the trainings in person, the self-guided training materials may be obtained to comply with the changes to California law.

If you have questions about these training opportunities, please contact Erin Frias in the Human Rights Office at or (916) 214-0365. Thank you for ensuring a safe, enjoyable work environment!

California League of Park Associations Conference 2020: Engage, Embrace, Expand: A Shared Vision for California Parks

By Carolyn Christian, California League Park Associations

Join the California League of Park Associations (CALPA) for its biannual conference and training event, presented in partnership with California State Parks’ Partnerships Division. Members of Nonprofit Partners and State Park Staff are invited to join us in Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley) from October 19-22 for educational sessions that will enhance our ability to “engage, expand and embrace” at our parks. The training will also feature a two-day vendor show, learning excursions to some of the amazing parks in Los Angeles and an optional daylong boot camp. A call for presentations will be going out soon, and there are sponsorship opportunities are still available.

For more information, visit Registration opens soon.


New Nonprofit Partners

  • El Rio de Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative has entered into a donation agreement for the purchase, installation and maintenance of three flag poles and lighting within Rio de Los Angeles State Park.  

New Concessions Contracts

Copyright © 2020 California State Parks and Recreation: The Partnerships Division, All rights reserved.

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