California State Parks Foundation Declares 2009 "Year for Park Protection"

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Holds Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day to Lobby Lawmakers to Protect State Parks; Honors Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk as Legacy Award Recipients

Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk have proven to be strong advocates for the entire California state parks system

As part of its Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day, today the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) issued an ambitious policy challenge to state policymakers and advocates. Declaring 2009 as the "Year for Park Protection," CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein called on state lawmakers and park advocates to pass legislation that will protect state parks from inappropriate development and damaging infrastructure. Today's announcement comes three years to the day when CSPF, other environmental groups, and the state Attorney General filed California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits to protect San Onofre State Beach from a proposed toll road.

"The lawsuits three years ago today were an important milestone in the fight to protect state parks, but it is a fight that continues today," declared Elizabeth Goldstein. "We filed those suits not just to protect San Onofre State Beach, but as a means to protect all state parks and we're here in Sacramento today to lobby the Legislature to keep that work alive. On December 18, 2088 the state parks movement won important victories for park protection outside the legislative process and we're here to capitalize on that momentum."

On December 18, two major decisions were announced that protected San Onofre State Beach and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. After ten months of review, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce upheld a February 2008 decision by the California Coastal Commission to protect San Onofre State Beach and deny building a toll road through the heart of the park. On that same day, the state's Public Utilities Commission voted to allow a new electricity transmission line in San Diego County, but specifically selected a route that would avoid Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

"The elation that park advocates felt on December 18 from protecting these important resources was tempered by the fact that these aren't the only parks in jeopardy," said Goldstein. "Major campaigns were mounted to prevent the toll road and the power line from being built, but more than one quarter of the rest of the state park system are under threats of their own. Californians need better protections to safeguard these important resources. We have invested in state parks through bonds and state funding, we rely on them to serve as economic engines to many local communities, and now, more than ever, we need our state parks to be protected and available to all of us for affordable vacations and destinations."

As part of its Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day, CSPF is hosting more than 160 advocates from around the state lobby the legislature for better protection for state parks. Specifically, advocates are pushing for support for Senate Bill 679 (Wolk), sponsored by CSPF, and Senate Bill 372 (Kehoe). Both bills will enact greater statutory protections for state parks and preserve the integrity of California's state park system. CSPF's sponsored bill, Senate Bill 679, requires that no land acquired for the state park system may be used for non state park uses without the express authority of an act of the Legislature and the substitution of other lands of equal value.

In conjunction with Park Advocacy Day 2009, CSPF is also naming California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Senator Lois Wolk as 2009 Legacy Award recipients. CSPF is honoring Treasurer Lockyer for his dedication to defending San Onofre State Beach from the proposed Foothill-South toll road. CSPF is also recognizing Senator Wolk's leadership in advocating for funding, policy protection and preservation of California's state parks. Since 2003, CSPF has honored legislative leaders who have done exemplary work for state parks. Honorees will be recognized during a legislative reception at the close of Park Advocacy Day.

"Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk have proven to be strong advocates for the entire California state parks system," said Elizabeth Goldstein. "We commend these leaders for their commitment to state parks and in particular their leadership and advocacy in protecting California's state parks and making them available and accessible to the public. Both Treasurer Lockyer and Senator Wolk have shown a continued understanding of the value of our state parks and the need to protect them for future generations."

About Park Advocacy Day
On Monday, March 23, the California State Parks Foundation sponsors the Seventh Annual Park Advocacy Day. Over 160 participants from across the state are expected to converge at the State Capitol to lobby policymakers on critical issues facing the state park system, including park protection. In addition to lobby visits, a noontime rally will be held on the North Steps of the Capitol between 12:00-1:00 p.m. The Foundation's Legacy Award reception will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts. For more information about Park Advocacy Day, contact 916-442-2119.

About California State Parks Foundation
With our 100,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is the only statewide independent nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks. Since 1969, CSPF has raised more than $150 million to benefit state parks. CSPF is committed to improving the quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities offered by California's 279 state parks--the largest state park system in the United States.


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