Two Statewide Nonprofits for California State Parks
President's Message June 2017

In April I was honored to represent PRMDIA at the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s first statewide training event for state park cooperating associations. This three day event, Engaging in Partnership Training, was held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. The agenda included changes in the California State Park System, best practices for individual park nonprofits, and changes in statewide nonprofit support for California State Parks.

The news concerning statewide nonprofit support includes an evolving role for the existing statewide nonprofit, the California State Park Foundation (CSPF) The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) has worked tirelessly for California state parks, both large and small, since it was founded in 1969. CSPF played an important role in the effort to establish the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve as well as other California State Parks. Over the years, PRMDIA has participated in many of the park support opportunities offered by CSPF including Park Partner Grants and State Park Advocacy Day. Park Advocacy Day has allowed us to talk directly to legislative representatives in Sacramento. Park Partner Grants have benefited all five of the parks that PRMDIA represents. This has meant park preservation for two parks originally on the 2012 closure list, Saddleback Butte State Park and Providence Mountains SRA, and enhanced visitor services at all five parks.
At the training in Asilomar we learned that the California State Park Foundation may soon be joined by an additional statewide nonprofit that will work with the Foundation to provide support for the historic, natural and recreational treasures of our state park system. The proposal for this new nonprofit is a result of reform efforts led by the Parks Forward Commission.

We also heard a general description of a new statewide nonprofit that is being planned. More details became available when the “California State Park Support System Feasibility Study” was released in May. The study was commissioned by the Parks Forward Commission and reflects a fact finding effort among many park partners both small and large. All cooperating associations were given the opportunity to give input and PRMDIA participated in all of those opportunities. Large groups that participated included the California Department of Parks and Recreation, state legislative entities and the California State Parks Foundation.

The new park support nonprofit has yet to be named but the “Feasibility Study” describes these guiding principles:
A new nonprofit is formed with a focus on fundraising, developing revenue-generating, public-private partnerships, capital and park access project
implementation, and statewide marketing/audience building. Implementing its recent strategic plan, CSPF narrows its focus to the protection of parks, legislative advocacy supporting parks, supporting partners, and programs emphasizing volunteerism and engagement. The organizations work together to communicate their unique roles.
The next step for this process will include a “business planning process outlining potential structures and financial scenarios for the new organization” with a final report to be issued in November of 2017.

PRMDIA looks forward to working with this new statewide park support organization while also continuing our long standing relationship with the California State Park Foundation. Additional information about the California State Park Foundation, the Parks Forward Commission and the “California State Park Support System Feasibility Study” are located on the top of this page.

Margaret Rhyne
President, Poppy Reserve Mojave Desert Interpretive Association
June 2017