One State Park a Week – That’s All We Ask!

Remember that advertising campaign from Blue Diamond Almonds? “One can a week, that’s all we ask.” The same could be said for California’s State Parks. If everyone visited a state park each week, the perilous situation our parks are facing would change dramatically. Of course, it’s certainly not realistic to expect busy Californians to visit a state park every week: Maybe once a month would be possible?

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I visited four state parks, none of which I had visited before: Boethe-Napa State Park near Calistoga, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, Bale Gristmill State Park, and Jack London State Park. All were wonderful. I camped with my wife and two children (along with three other families) in Boethe-Napa. One of only two state parks with a swimming pool, the other being Hearst Castle, the park is in the process of being taken over by the county park system which is already working to make the park more marketable for year-round visitation. During our stay we observed members of the California Conservation Corps building “yurts” for more comfortable winter-time camping. We also paid a visit to the pool and looked through the small visitors center with its adjacent Native American garden.

From our home base at Boethe-Napa, we hiked a short trail to nearby to Bale Gristmill State Park, also now being managed by the county park system. On weekends, the gristmill is going full-tilt with tours. Pass from the rustic museum into the mill itself and enjoy a wonderfully informative talk by the onsite miller. One jerk of a chain to allow water to pass over the largest working water wheel west of the Mississippi River, and the belts, cranks, gears and millstones of the mill come alive. The not only does the mill still grind corn, wheat, and buckwheat, it supplies several area restaurants!

At nearby Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, we tramped along trails frequented by the famous author during his honeymoon. The Napa Valley was one of his favorite locations in the world. Of course, he wasn’t the only famous author to fall in love with the area. Next door in the valley of Sonoma County, Jack London built his dream house only to see it succumb to fire days before he moved in. He died before he had an opportunity to restore it. His widow lived the rest of her life at the first home on the site and then gifted the home and land to the state. Today the old home serves as a museum dedicated to her husband and a short trail leads down the mountain to the ruins of the home that was never occupied.

Look for Sports Leisure to offer daytrips to all these locations in the near future. Without our state parks, our history continues to be forgotten as well as our inspiration.

6 thoughts on “One State Park a Week – That’s All We Ask!”

  1. It’s a good idea to suggest that Sports Leisure travelers visit state parks frequently. However, their might be another way Sports Leisure and their long time customers could help. Is the following suggestion at all workable?

    What if Sports Leisure offered to take able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 on a free “bring your own picnic lunch and water trip” to a nearby state park in exchange for a promise that each passenger would spend a designated amount of time helping a park ranger with park maintenance activities? The trip could be financed by regular Sports Leisure customers who would sponsor the travelers by supplying Sports Leisure enough money to cover the cost of gas and the driver’s pay.

    Wouldn’t Sports Leisure and each of those paying sponsors qualify for a tax write-off for their efforts?

    Would this help some unhappy unemployed people have an enjoyable and productive day?

  2. It’s a good idea to suggest that Sports Leisure travelers visit state parks frequently. However, there might be another way Sports Leisure and their long time customers could help. Is the following suggestion at all workable?

    What if Sports Leisure offered to take able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 on a free “bring your own picnic lunch and water trip” to a nearby state park in exchange for a promise that the passengers would spend a designated amount of time helping a park ranger with park maintenance activities? The trip could be financed by regular Sports Leisure customers who would sponsor the travelers by supplying Sports Leisure enough money to cover the cost of gas and the driver’s pay.

    Wouldn’t Sports Leisure and each of those paying sponsors qualify for a tax write-off for their efforts?

    Would this help some unhappy unemployed people have an enjoyable and productive day? Could it result in a cleaner park or a repaired fence, etc.?

  3. Thanks, Kevin. Your article inspires me to get out and see more state parks. I just visited Bodie and had a wonderful time. You can check out that visit at my web site. What a great park system we have. Some folks asked how I managed to exclude all the people from my photos of Bodie. Sadly, there were not that many people to exclude.

  4. Thank you for your support of State Parks, Kevin. As a California State Parks retiree, I couldn’t agree with you more!!!

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