Growing is Forever
"Craving an escape to California's ancient coastal forests? Check out this short, poetic video about Redwoods National and State Parks by filmmaker Jesse Rosten and writer Kallie Markle.
Watch the Video > > Watch this moving, poetic video by filmmaker Jesse Rosten and writer Kallie Markle about the ancient forests of Redwoods National and State Parks.
Then plan a trip there with the help of National Park magazine’s spring feature, “On the Road,” about a road trip between the Redwoods, Crater Lake, and Oregon Caves."
California state parks: Can non-profits provide salvation?
"As has been reported in our sister blog, RVing California, 70 of California's 278 state parks are slated for closure under the budget cutting axe. Newspapers are filled with stories of 'everyone's favorite park' that will soon be inaccessible, all for the want of funding.
Now in the California Assembly comes a bill that suggests a possible solution to at least some of the problem. Assembly Bill 42, sponsored by Jared Huffman, D-Marin would make it possible for non-profit groups to work with the State to take up where the state can't by assuming management of selected state park properties. Last week the bill passed the Assembly with a 67-0 favorable vote. It moves along to the Senate for consideration.
Can a non-profit organization really operate a park? It's certainly been done in other places. Many small town parks are overseen and cared for by non-profit groups. The dedication and ingenuity of park management operations doesn't require a profit motivation; apparently love for the land and its access to the public carries a great weight.
Consider too, the non-profit Escapee's organization, a group dedicated to the fulltime RV lifestyle. This group has developed both from existing properties, and "from scratch" a network of RV resorts around the country. True, it hasn't been always been without some friction and griping on the park of some members, but the 11 SKP Co-Op parks across the country are a tribute to what folks can do when the put their minds to it.
RVers are often at the forefront when it comes to volunteering to care for parks. Thousands spend weeks to months volunteering to act as campground hosts, looking after day-to-day concerns like helping folks find a site, give directions to local attractions, or even change out a roll of toilet paper. Others handle trail maintenance, sell books in a gift shop, or give interpretive tours pointing out some range of nature's wonders.
With all that in mind, it shouldn't be a far stretch to imagine that organized volunteers could pick up the slack and help keep California's--or any other state with financial problems--park gates open."
California Parks Closure: State Parks Closing Has Unlikely Consequences
By JASON DEAREN 07/17/11 01:28 PM ET
CHINA CAMP STATE PARK, Calif. -- "Floating in the bay just outside 85-year-old Frank Quan's house, a replica Chinese junk named after his mother rocks in the waters where generations of Quans once caught delectable shrimp by the ton before drying, sorting and shipping them back to their ancestral homeland.
Quan and his rickety wooden shack heated by a wood stove are some of the few remnants left from one of the Chinese fishing villages that dotted the shores of San Francisco Bay in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The house and the small diner Quan runs just a few feet away are now part of China Camp State Park, one of 70 parks California plans to shut down to shave $22 million from the budget. Now Quan's fate is also hanging in the balance while officials and parks advocates scramble to find a way to save the beloved site near San Rafael in Marin County.
"We used to pull out 3 million pounds of shrimp a year around here. One boat could bring in two tons a day," Quan said Friday, as he walked through ramshackle wooden buildings holding some of the old shrimping equipment that has been restored as part of the fishing village's historic renovation. "It's hard to see this all go to hell in a lifetime."
Quan's story represents a dilemma that California faces in its plans to shutter sprawling, popular state parks next year: each one has a unique set of features and historic importance that will need to be handled carefully as the state pulls staff, locks bathrooms and blocks parking lots. As for China Camp, officials there say they are doing everything they can to not only save the park, but Quan's home.
"If I have my way Frank is going to stay here," said Danita Rodriguez, the superintendent of the Marin District for the state Department of Parks and Recreation. "I don't think our goal is to close China Camp and move Frank out. But at the end of the day some other people make that decision, but our goal is to keep Frank here."
If nothing is done by next July, the state will pull out park staff and greatly reduce maintenance at China Camp and 69 other of its 278 parks from beaches and groves of coastal redwoods to Jack London's former ranchlands. It's an idea that's never been executed and presents a major conundrum: most parks cannot actually be physically sealed off to the public – people will still access them, but their litter will not be collected and there will be no bathroom access. There will be no ranger on hand to enforce laws.
This has led to worries that the sites will become blighted – and as of now the state has few ideas to alleviate these concerns other than hoping people who love the parks care for them for free or pony up cash to pay for continued service.
"We have never had to close state parks, so this will be a trial and error process. Not locking the gates and letting visitors be our eyes and ears to protect the parks could be a solution." said Clark Blanchard, a parks spokesman, in an e-mail. "If that doesn't work, we will have to look for a Plan B."
As for Quan's unique situation?
"There is no final plan as of yet. State Parks is working to try to find a solution," Blanchard said.
Despite the bad news, lawmakers, parks officials and nonprofit groups are working to find a way to keep as many of the 70 parks open as possible through other methods.
The state Assembly in May unanimously approved legislation making it easier for nonprofit groups to take over operations at some parks. The bill, called AB42 and authored by Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, is expected to help keep some parks open but is not an overall solution. It's awaiting action by the state Senate.
Also, the California League of Parks Associations is making an effort to organize volunteers from the state's hundreds of local parks groups to volunteer to provide some presence in the parks slated for closure. Rodriguez said Sonoma and Marin counties are currently trying to form groups who can fundraise and oversee volunteer staff to take over parks in there.
Another idea gaining traction is corporate partnerships – already Coca-Cola, Stater Bros. Supermarkets and Farmer John have agreed to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep some Southern California parks open.
Officials say these corporate partnerships do not include naming rights: so don't expect a Coca-Cola State Park anytime soon.
But even the most optimistic see tough times for state parks, and not only in California. Indeed, budget woes have led statehouses around the nation to close parks that have been open to the public for decades.
Minnesota closed all its state parks for a couple of weeks because the Legislature failed to reach a budget agreement by June 30. Parks officials there have reported vandalism, litter and human waste left behind by visitors in the closed parks. Oklahoma, Connecticut and others states have also considered privatizing or shuttering state parks over budget woes.
"For the first time in over 100 years we are going to leave a legacy of closed parks to future generations. This is nothing to be proud of," said Jerry Emory of the California State Parks Foundation. "This is happening all around the U.S."
The State Parks take up so little of the budget and bring in so much revenue for the areas around them, surely they can find another way to cut expenses. http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/#usgs302a
"Given the practical difficulties, and the fact that the savings would amount to 0.3 percent of the state's $9.6 billion budget deficit, some political observers say the move may have political overtones."
Ray arrived to work, and we 'jobbed' several jobs. I have wanted to shut down the AC in my Grooming Room and Middle room for some time. They are just separated by a Dutch door, so if you cool one, you are cooling them both.
Then there is just a glass door between the Middle Room and the Hall, so that is 360 sq.ft. The area of a lot of RVs.
When Patches was adopted, Prime came to live in the house so I could shut down the Grooming Room AC, but then I took in the orphan kittens. They live in the Grooming Room and Middle Room, so I can't just shut it down. But I thought that if I could keep them in an area of my air-conditioned house for the hottest parts of the day, that would help with the electricity bill. The Grooming room has three large windows, even though they are double-paned, a lot of afternoon sun and heat comes in there, even with the blinds down.
There is no way I can turn them loose in the house, even though the crystal glasses on the shelf are held down with poster putty, since a bird of Jay's broke some. Just imagine what they would do to the reels of thread on my sewing machine. So Ray and I dug out one of my great big dog cages, 28"x 48", but I knew it would be too difficult for me to tend to it if it was on the floor, as I would be on my hands and knees. Then I would have to have a crane in there. No, seriously, I would have to have something sturdy to pull myself up several times, and it isn't worth it. It had to be up on something, just like the cat cages are in the Middle Room.
I went up in the attic to get the sturdy table that I had bought for the vintage motor home, but it was too small.
While I was up there, I traced the wiring that goes to the workshop phone, as it has been dead for the last few days. It had been checked with another phone, and it wasn't the phone that was at fault. Oh! Oh! The line had been bitten in two. So with a very long phone cord plugged into the attic wall plate, strung along the wall in the attic, lowering the other end to Ray down into the workshop as he stood on a ladder on the washing machine, he plugged the other end into that connection, we had it fixed.
There have never been varmints in the workshop before, but one had bitten a hole in the top of my plastic bird seed container, and there were empty sunflower husks around it. The remaining seed was transferred into glass jars! When the cable man was here he had moved the screen which covers that little wiring access hole way up in the wall that goes to the attic, and that darned critter had got up there and chewed my phone line. It's only an assumption that it was a mouse.
We couldn't find anything big enough to put the cage on, so we used 2 layers of four milk crates, and it is just the right height.
All set up with a two-storey kitty condo, bed, food, water, toys and box, I carried Precious and Pebbles into the house, they had never been in there before. They were trained at an early age not to go through the grooming room door. Pebbles just plopped out of my arms into the cage. Precious freaked, jumped out of my arms and ran to the grooming room door! She wanted back in 'her' room! But here she is saying "Whatcha-doin-up-there-Sis?" They have never had a 2-storey condo before.
So far they are enjoying being in the house watching everything. During the heat of the afternoon, it was over 85 deg. in the grooming room without the AC on. They won't be locked up all the time, I will put them back in the grooming room at night, when it is cooler, so they can run around, but I will turn on the AC.
The routering of the Formica which goes around the edge of the cargo trailer's table was another job that we 'jobbed', yesterday.