Cuyamaca Equestrian Association’s October 2011 update:
General meeting was held on October 6th 2011
California State AB 42 was signed into law on October 4ht 2011. This new law sponsored by California State Parks Foundation and Assembly member Jared Huffman (D-Marin) is to allow nonprofit organizations to help take a direct role in helping prevent park closures. The bill allows Department of Parks and Recreations to enter into operating agreements for the improvement, restoration, care, maintenance, administration, or operation of a unit or units of the State park system with qualified nonprofit organizations. The bill provides another tool to maintain the legacy of our State park system and keep our parks open for all Californians. The passage of AB 42 will now allow for creative solutions to the financial challenges currently facing state parks.
GreenValley Falls Equestrian area: State Park Supervisor Nedra Martinez reported as of October 2nd 2011 Green Valley Falls, all parts of it - camping and day use area, have been closed by State Park. Also included in this closing is Granite Springs Campground. These locations will stay closed until (tentative) July 1st 2012. There is one exception and that is park employee John Sproule will stay on until the end of November 2011 when Los Vaqueros horse camping facility will close. All seasonal employees are being laid off as of Sunday, October 2 2011. Included in her report is that Palomar Family Campground and the Group Camp will close on the July 2 2011. It will stay closed as Palomar is slated for full closure as of July 1, 2012. Anyone who had reservations, for either of these facilities, will be given a refund. Note that each cancelled reservation costs the state $15.50.
CEA response to these closures: A letter written request was sent out by our president, Ernie Smith to other equestrian organization to write to various governmental agencies regarding the closing and financial issues currently occurring with the State parks, specifically Cuyamaca. CEA’s board also is in contact with Cuyamaca representatives to try and address these issues. A copy of the letter is posted below -
Dear Fellow Equestrians,
I have held off from forwarding this email as things have been in flux
to say the least. As most of you already know Green Valley Falls is
closing October 2nd 2001, earlier than planned. This is a huge
disappointment for all equestrians. For a state park that is not
closing, Cuyamaca is being closed for equestrian camping half of the
year, this again is discouraging. November is a soft month for this campground, last year it brought in 420 campers,76 horse campers, 199 paid day use visitors between Nov 1st and November 30th at Green Valley Falls Campground. Do the math, it is more than enough to cover the $4k for the three seasonal employees for one month, estimated
profit for this soft month could be anywhere from $15K to 25K. Cuyamaca
Rancho State Park is now wanting to close this campground until July,
losing two highly profitable months out of the early summer season, how
much money is state parks going to lose? Are the rest of our “open” parks being run this way? I was born and raised in California, camped in inexpensive nearby state parks as a child. This was what my single income, stay at home mom family could afford. This affordable family recreation activity has been taken away from the citizens of
California. Standby for further details and plan of action as this is
not acceptable to the citizens of California.
CEA is currently investigating the State parks budget for this area and questioning how these issues can be better financially resolved.
1). With the lack of loss of low cost seasonal employees, CRSP is now manning the kiosks with park rangers. The cost of a seasonal employee is less than $1500 per month. Because the state halted funding of seasonal employees, Green Valley campground is now closed, this campground generated approximately $30K during the month of November last year.
2). Request State park budget from Sacramento via the FOI act. Use this information and camping attendance numbers to support the opening of Green valley sooner then July 2012.
3). Current financial information generated:
Total $37M dollars being cut from the park budget
$22M in two stages, $11 million x 2
$5M OHV Cut
$5M OHV Grants
$5M lost revenue from closed parks
2006-2007 State parks were funded at $175 million
2012-2013 they will be funded at $99 million
4). Organize communication with CRSPIA on alternative ideas for park staffing
5). Media awareness of these issues
Update Los Caballos:
Later this month (October 2011) California State Parks, using “grant” funding, will be restoring Los Caballos to it’s native state. The long closed Los Caballos trail has been rerouted and reopened during this process. Although I welcome the reopening of this important connector trail, I will miss my old friend as I know many of my fellow equestrians will. The “clean up” at Los cab is on schedule. should be starting this month (October). Corral parts are going to be salvaged.
Trail Dedication: CEA reported on the death of one of San Diego’s local legends, Jerry Schad, writer of San Diego A Foot an A field. Currently Cuyamaca state park and CRSPIA are discussing a proposal to rename Blue Ribbon trail in his honor, other local agencies are also looking to rename other familiar hiking trails in his honor. A tribute to his contributions to all of those who have enjoyed and used his wealth of hiking trails in and around San Diego.
Mott Award : CEA’s president Ernie Smith and his wife Robin Smith, along with Cuyamaca park staff, were awarded the Mott Award for innovation in California State Parks,. The ceremony was held up in Riverside, and this award was in recognition to CEA and all equestrian groups, organizations how for the past 7 year contributed to the effort to get equestrian camping back in Cuyamaca park. Without CEA’s continuous efforts of keeping the pressure on CSP, there would be no campground. The lawsuit, our pressure on Sacramento, pressure on SHIPO regarding Ah Ha Cuyamaca, all contributed to the “willingness” of CSP to do Green Valley Falls. CEA is thankful for all how contributed to this victory.