Editor’s note: You can still post press releases at 30K feet. This has been in the works for a while as regular readers here know. We’ll be there and hope you can too:
Nevada City, CA – A grassroots effort to save two local state parks kicks off with a major Town Hall meeting next Monday night in Nevada City. Co-sponsored by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), several hundred community members are expected to attend the meeting to learn how they can take action to remove the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks from the list of state parks now slated to close on July 1, 2012.
“We will not stand by and allow these treasured parks to be abandoned by the state,” said Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s executive director. “SYRCL is co-sponsoring this Town Hall to rally parks supporters to take action: Write the Governor and ask your state and county elected representatives to make saving the parks a priority. Years ago, the community rallied behind SYRCL’s motto that ‘People Can Save a River’ and won Wild and Scenic protection for the South Yuba River. Today, we’ll show how by working together, ‘People Can Save the Parks.’”
SYRCL and its colleagues from the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins Parks Associations are very concerned about how the closure plan might impact the community. To date, the State Parks Department staff hasn’t revealed how they plan to close the 20-mile park or protect the historic Bridgeport Bridge and Malakoff Diggins.
“Over 350,000 people visited the South Yuba River State Park in 2010. If the current proposal for closing the State Parks is not corrected, many of these people would visit the Park to find the park’s visitor center and toilets closed, tours eliminated, and most concerning of all, no Park Rangers to manage law enforcement needs, emergency medical help and wildland fire problems,” said Dave Anderson, president of the South Yuba River Park Association (SYRPA).
“The two local State Parks are a vital part of our history and our community; they contain irreplaceable resources that would be endangered by fire, vandalism and theft. The beauty and recreational value of the river may be severely diminished. SYRPA is continuing to do all we can to support the local Park Rangers in finding ways to keep these areas safe and open to all park visitors.”
Local parks supporters are heartened by news that a grassroots effort succeeded in moving Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve off California’s 70-park closure list. Organizers at SYRCL are hoping to replicate that effort in Nevada County with a full-scale letter writing campaign to Governor Brown and visits to the State Capitol. Elementary school students from Grass Valley Charter School have secured meetings with Resource Secretary John Laird, and representatives for Assemblyman Dan Logue and Senator Ted Gaines Monday morning prior to the Town Hall meeting that evening.
Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Association, will join the panel discussion to provide a statewide perspective on efforts to save state parks. “Closing California state parks is bad for business, and many communities would be greatly affected by park closures,” said Goldstein. State Parks staff estimates that more than 350,000 people visit the South Yuba River State Park annually, for example, which in turn generates millions of dollars to support local businesses.
What: Town Hall on “The Fate of the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks”
When: Monday, December 12, 6:30-9:00PM (Live Broadcast on KVMR 89.5 FM at 7:00PM)
Where:Miners Foundry, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City [insert Google map]
Who: Panelists include: Matthew Green, District Superintendent, State Parks Department; Elizabeth Goldstein, President, California State Parks Foundation; Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL); Alden Olmsted, Executive Director, The Olmsted Fund
Guest speakers: Supervisor Hank Weston, Sheriff Keith Royal, Fire Chief Tim Fike, South Yuba River Parks Association President Dave Anderson, Malakoff Diggins Park Association President Tom Stark and other community representatives
Co-sponsors: KVMR 89.5 FM, Yubanet.com, Miners Foundry