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The Trail Companion

Winter 2002

The Campaign for Castle Rock State Park

The Sierra Club and Friends of Castle Rock State Park are currently suing the California Department of Parks and Recreation over the Department's approval last year of the Castle Rock State Park General Plan. The Club is concerned that the Castle Rock General Plan does little to provide for responsible recreation and overlooks many legal provisions to protect biological resources.
      Castle Rock has one of the last remaining black oak forests on public lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the approved plan focuses the park's camping, parking, and visitor center in and around this precious resource. Firewood brought into the camping area and traffic to the campground could easily spread sudden oak death, weeds, and other dangers to the black oak forest.
      The Sierra Club and FOCRSP urge you to write a letter today urging State Parks to settle this lawsuit out of court and practice responsible stewardship. The outcome of this action will be of great significance to the planning process now underway for many other state parks.

Address your letter to Acting State Parks Director Ruth Coleman with a copy to Assembly Speaker pro Tem Fred Keeley:

Ruth Coleman, Acting Director, Department of Parks & Recreation, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296-0001, phone: (916) 653-8380, fax: (916) 657-3903, email:
Fred Keeley, California State Assembly Speaker pro Tem, State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 319-2027 (tel), (916) 319-2127 (fax), email
The Nature Conservancy, 201 Mission Street, 4th floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, Attn: Kathy Barnes.
RHAA, 225 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941, email: .

Key points to make in your letters

  • Urge the state to negotiate in good faith and settle the suit out of court.
  • Modern science mandates that General Plans look beyond park boundaries to consider the ecological context of the park. State Parks needs a regional plan that informs the conservation and stewardship priorities for each park.
  • Because State Parks is strapped for finances for adequate staffing and expertise, they need a Technical Advisory Committee for science planning to advise on biological resource issues.
  • Resource protection should be paramount in state park management.
  • Ask for increased ranger staffing to prevent poaching of trees, construction of unauthorized trails or other activities that are damaging to natural resources.
  • Relocate high impact activities such as campgrounds and food vendors from biologically sensitive areas of the parks to less sensitive areas. In particular, the black oak forest at Castle Rock and the old growth redwoods in Big Basin are compromised by intense uses.
  • Ask to be put on the mailing list to be notified of upcoming meetings about the general plans.

To learn more, contact:

Grey Hayes, Sierra Club California State Parks Committee, (831) 426-3880, email:
Sandy Henn for information on the Nisene Marks General Plan, (831) 662-2843, email:
Citizens for the Preservation of Nisene Marks State Park, (831) 662-2843, email:

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