Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here, fresh off a run in Andrew Molera State Parkone of California’s 279 state parks (and definitely among my personal favorites).
It’s a good week to celebrate favorite parks as Tuesday, June 14 marked the start of the grand opening California State Parks Week. “Our state’s natural wonders are a source of pride and inspiration for Californians and visitors around the world,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. the proclamation establishing the annual celebration reads as follows. “California’s first-ever State Parks Week celebrates the unprecedented opportunities in our backyard to experience some of the world’s most iconic outdoor locations, and highlights the importance of access to parks, the coast, and to public lands for the health and vitality of all our communities.
At a high level, State Park Week is part of California’s Outdoor Access for All initiative, which aims to increase access to the state’s external natural resources in a variety of ways. Among these means, as a reminder, there is the relatively new possibility of consulting a free pass for the park at the library.
The festivities continue until Saturday. Each day of the week has a chosen theme – from Land Acknowledgment Day to Kids Career Day – with corresponding events taking place at numerous parks across the state. In the Monterey District alone, that means about 15 events. Some of these have already passed, but Stewardship Day (Friday, June 17) and Partnership Day/Volunteer Day (Saturday, June 18) are still to come.
Friday, join a question-and-answer session at Weston Beach at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, where a State Parks Interpreter will answer any questions about federal “Marine Protected Areas.” (Note that the $10/car park entrance fee still applies.)
Or, Saturday, take a 1-hour tour of the Asilomar Conference Grounds, learn about its history as a Young Woman’s Christian Association summer camp, architect Julia Morgan, and more. There are also volunteer opportunities to help plant native species and remove invasive species at both Asilomar State Beach and Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Find details in this complete list of events.
I feel incredibly lucky to have lived my life with wide access to the outdoors-this week or any week. I’ve also thought a lot about how some type of access control can arise in the name of “protecting” our natural treasures, and how we might be able to balance these two equally vital ideas (in my mind): access and stewardship. If you have any inspiration, maybe it comes to mind while you are enjoying a park this weekend, you know where to find me.