Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joining Google Plus to Save the California Coast


I'm on Google + now, and I encourage those who care about the California coast who want to be members of a regular online conversation group of similar activists with a computer with a camera and microphone (anything bought in the last year or two), and a gmail email account (free), to add a Google Plus account (free) and search for me (Gregory Fearon).  Add me to a circle (This Blog's name), and I'll be notified.  Or just send me an email that you've joined.  I'll find and put you in one of my circles.

I'm planning on using Google Plus's Hangouts (audio/video conferencing - free) to help us work on making sure that access to the California coast is preserved, and that our coastal resources are protected.  We can look at development issues together, share documents, and enlist the world to help us when we need them.

It helps make saving the coast fun.  And we need all the fun we can get.  Come and see.

Gregory Fearon
Board Member
Coastwalk California

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sonoma Coast Iron Rangers


I decided to reprint an Op-Ed publish yesterday (6/16/2012) in the Press Democrat.  As Treasurer of this organization, I'm eager to see if a strong community organization can operate state parks well. If you see an embedded window below hat doesn't do anything, ignore it.  I'm working on including a Google Earth flyover tour to display the locations of the iron rangers n the coast.

Solutions for Keeping YOUR State Parks Open
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods has a solution-based approach to keeping our western Sonoma County state parks open. With Austin Creek SRA on the closure list and service reductions at Sonoma Coast SP, Stewards and State Parks convened two meetings in early June to engage the public in discussions of how we can work together to keep our State Parks open and accessible.
There has been public outcry regarding new parking fees at some Sonoma Coast SP locations. Stewards is not taking a position on the new fees. We have constituents who are vehemently opposed, and others who think it’s time Sonoma County implements fees that have been in place for years in other coastal areas including our own Regional Parks. There are concerns about limiting access for those in need and traffic issues. Others see that fees paid by over 2 million out-of-town visitors could increase support and prevent further decline of our parks.  

Stewards is focusing on giving the public factual information,
a voice in the process and working on solutions for keeping your parks open.

Stewards will be signing an operating agreement with State Parks to keep Austin Creek open, made possible by AB42 (Huffman). With a $56,000 grant awarded by the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), camping and day-use fees, donations, new partnerships and programs, Stewards will reopen Bull Frog Pond Campground, provide park protection, public assistance and trail maintenance utilizing volunteers.

The solutions for reopening closed areas on Sonoma Coast are more complex. The direction to charge new fees by Sacramento, the failure of Proposition 21 and the current $22 million general fund cut has resulted in many service reductions at coastal parks.

Since 1979, the State Park budget has decreased by 67%, with 37% of that reduction in the past six years. These cuts have come during a time when park visitation is at an all-time high.

Please realize the Governor’s November tax measure will NOT restore any funding for State Parks. In fact, if it does NOT pass, the triggers will result in cutting lifeguards and a 20% reduction in rangers.  Few would disagree that a dedicated sustainable funding source is needed to keep all 279 parks open and address the $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog.

What are the solutions?  Our legislators are proposing budget amendments (Evans/Simitian) and legislation (Evans and Huffman) to help State Parks and their partners, like Stewards, who are stepping up to keep our local parks open. While appreciated, their help is not enough.
The CSPF is providing technical assistance to nonprofits and continues to provide ways for Californians to advocate for their parks. In Sonoma County, the Parks Alliance for Sonoma County, a group of over 20 agencies and organizations have succeeded in keeping their five local State Parks open for at least another year. The local community of Jenner is donating to keep the Jenner Visitor Center and restrooms open.

If new fees are implemented, Stewards feels strongly that those fees need to stay local. Free day-use passes for Russian River area State Parks are available by volunteering 16 hours a year in programs supported by Stewards. 200 hours provides a statewide pass. There are affordable park passes available for Californians who are low-income, disabled, seniors and veterans of war. A reasonable pass for Sonoma County residents is needed.

Keeping our parks open will require legislation, donations, new partnerships, volunteers and advocacy.

Join Stewards so we can together represent your concerns in fighting to keep our parks open, thriving and moving towards excellence. Contact or call (707) 869-9177, or visit

Michele Luna
Executive Director
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pinterest on the California Coast


Have you checked out Pinterest?  I just did, after attending a Statewide conference of the California League of Park Associations.  They're the folks currently providing interpretive services and docents in California's State Parks, and who are responding to the closure of these parks by stepping up to operating agreements with the State.

The good news is that we all came away from the San Diego conference re-charged, and despite even more bad news from the Governor, dedicated to fighting hard to keep the parks open and accessible.

Here's some great photos and contacts accessible on Pinterest through a search of "California coast".

California coast