My love letter to the state parks
October provided many opportunities for local folks to strengthen their connection and appreciation of Jack London State Historic Park. First came the fabulous Broadway stars, then the evening showing of White Fang and last weekend, the piano concert in Charmian London’s House of Happy Walls. State parks are important to all of us, for celebration and contemplation.
Faced with the possibility of our local parks closing, we particularly applaud Assemblymember Jared Huffman, who provided a solution. Huffman is the legislator who originated California Assembly Bill 42, which was finally signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in early October, allowing a partnership between nonprofits and our state parks. This will save many of them, for now.
Sadly the voters of California rejected the meager vehicle fees that would have supported our state parks when Proposition 21 was defeated last year. The current solution offered by AB 42 will help for a while, but ultimately I believe that state parks must be a continuing part of our state budget.
The California state parks are a rich source of memories for me. As a child, my family often vacationed in state parks. Among my favorites was Grizzly Creek State Park with the cool, green Van Duzen providing recreation. We frolicked in that stream the whole day long, enticed back to camp only by the aromas of a hardy camp dinner.
From our home in Eureka, we made frequent day trips to Patricks’ Point State Park watching the changing moods of the Pacific and hiking the many trails. Each season provided unique delights, from the crashing waves of raging winter storms to a cool summer’s day spent agate hunting, to springtime walks through fern and flower covered meadows.
Richardson’s Grove, with its towering redwoods on the banks of the Eel, was another favorite camping spot. Those stately queens of longevity Sequoia Sempervirens provided ample avenues for exploration and fantasy play.
State parks still bring me renewal and inspiration. I love to visit Sugarloaf falls after a winter rainstorm, the peaceful ruins of Jack’s Wolf House on an autumn day, or Vallejo’s home in spring. And always, I love walking in our parks. Maybe my memories helped you recall a few of your own.
In Sonoma Valley, we are particularly blessed by the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. They have provided volunteers for our Valley parks for more than three decades. Now they will insure that Jack London Park, along with Sugarloaf and Annadel, remain functional during this prolonged California budget crisis. Their work is a blessing to all of us. In their recent newsletter an article written by the late Richard Arendt provides ways in which each one of us can express our appreciation.
Dick, as he was known to his fellow volunteers both at the Bouverie Preserve and at the Sonoma/Petaluma State Historic Parks, loved our local parks and devoted his time to supporting them. In fact, Dick was volunteering at the Sonoma Barracks when he died last June. His poignant plea for support of the parks is well worth your reading and your action. Especially now. Especially if you’ve enjoyed, at any point in your life, the renewal and uplift provided by parks. Read Dick’s news online:www.jacklondonpark.com/2011_summer_moonletter.pdf. Then pay heed to this angel’s posthumous advice.
Next week I’ll share news about our Glen Ellen Historical Society’s next meeting, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. We’ll look forward to seeing you there and, as ever, on the trails.
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Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call me at 996-5995; write me at Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me,firstname.lastname@example.org. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before the run date.