What do you do when you happen upon a washed out trail or graffiti on a picnic bench while hiking in your favorite park?
Well, now it's as simple as snapping a photo with your smart phone and uploading it to a State Parks website.
The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) announced the release of its new “Park Observation Program” (POP) so that park users in the Santa Cruz area can report issues they find in state parks. With California’s state parks suffering from budget cuts and a $1.3 billion maintenance backlog, the POP program will give park staff extra resources and support in the field.
POP is designed to be an informational and managerial tool for CSPF and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Information collected from the program will be recorded and shared with the park staff who will, in return, provide feedback to program participants on the outcome of their report.
“The launch of POP marks an exciting new time for visitors who want to lend a helpful hand in California’s many parks,” said CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein. “We think this is an exceptionally useful new tool for park users that allows them to help preserve the beauty of our state parks and be direct stewards of our shared resources.”
POP allows park visitors to observe maintenance issues within parks and share those observations digitally, either on their smart phone or on CSPF’s website by uploading photos and descriptions. Issues like eroded trails, a fallen tree blocking the path, an area that needs mowing, or a building that needs repairs are all observations that should be reported.
POP will start as a pilot program in the Santa Cruz district. Santa Cruz has the largest number of parks of any district in California, with parks ranging from beaches to mountains to historic sites. CSPF is grateful to the staff of the Santa Cruz district for partnering on POP. POP will be expanded throughout California over time, and will amass a valuable store of information about the state of our state parks. This information will help CSPF better understand what needs to be done in state parks to maintain an excellent state park system. Visit calparks.org/monitor for more information.
With its 130,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation is the only independent nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks. For more information about California's state parks, visit calparks.org.