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Storms impact state parks and beaches
Recent storms have affected local state parks and beaches, and conditions change daily. Please be aware there may be trail closures and other adjustments as State Parks' crews clean up. If you have questions, call before you go. Individual park contact information is available on our website.

Remember to be gentle to muddy trails. Mountain bikers, please wait to let trails dry out a bit. Check out this Hilltromper article about the rules for rainy season mountain biking for more.
Cast your ballot now for the Mole & Mariachi Festival! 
Please support Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in the Good Times annual "Best Of" survey by voting the Mole & Mariachi Festival as Best Festival (Street). Voting is now open online. Best Festival (Street) is category #67 and on the second page of the ballot. Vote now! 

The fifth annual Mole & Mariachi Festival will be Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. Admission is free. The event features a mole cook-off and tasting, live mariachi music, local beer and wine, kids activities, great food and more.

Thank you for your support! 
Castro Adobe to host monthly events throughout 2017
Castro Adobe State Historic Park will be open to the public one Saturday each month this year. The monthly open house events start Jan. 21 with "Beginnings at the Adobe," a look at the Castro family's role in shaping the history of California. The open houses will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the exception of the August event, which is 6-9 p.m.

Future events will be: 
  • Romance on the Rancho, Feb. 11
  • Luck o' the Castros, March 18
  • Vaqueros y Bandidos, April 22
  • Women of the Castro, May 13
  • Papas of the Castro, June 17
  • The Castro Adobe in the American Era, July 22
  • Evenings at the Adobe, Aug. 19
  • The Pajaro Valley in the Mexican Era, Sept. 16
  • Earthquakes and the Adobe, Oct. 14
  • Thankful for Our Stewards, Nov. 18
  • Festivos en el Rancho, Dec. 9
All events are free to attend; donations are gratefully accepted. The Castro Adobe is at 184 Old Adobe Road in Watsonville. Parking is limited; please carpool.
Free guided monarch tours offered at Natural Bridges State Beach
Now is the time to view monarch butterflies as they overwinter on the Central Coast.

Free tours are offered twice daily on Saturdays and Sundays at Natural Bridges State Beach during the monarchs' migration. The one-hour guided walks through the monarch grove happen at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The grove is open to the public throughout the day. Natural Bridges State Beach is at 2531 W. Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. Parking is $10 and supports the park.

Monarchs also overwinter at Lighthouse Field State Beach, two miles south down West Cliff Drive from Natural Bridges.
State Parks' Guided Backpacking Program returns  

Who better to lead you through our parks than professionals from California State Parks? Six backpacking trips will be offered this year from April through September. The trips range from one to three nights, offering options for every experience level. Hike spectacular ridgelines, old growth redwood forests and sandy shores with our knowledgeable team of backcountry naturalists. Native plant teas, trail desserts, skills demonstrations, campfire stories and jokes are added bonuses!

Registration opens at 8 a.m. Feb. 1 for this truly unique program — and the only such program led by California State Parks staff. Participation is open to adults 18 or over and children ages 13 to 17 accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Apply to be a docent at Wilder Ranch State Park 
Docent training for Wilder Ranch State Park begins Saturday, Jan. 28. Applications are now open for this fun, engaging volunteer opportunity, and are due Friday, Jan. 20. 

Volunteers will receive the opportunity to learn about local history, as well as participate in historic costuming, ranch tours, animal tours, horse patrol, nature walks, living history demonstrations, special events and more. Learn more. 
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Friends seeks new staff member

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is looking for a new Event/Administrative assistant. Applications are now open and are due Wednesday, Feb. 1.

This position supports our state parks and beaches by working closely with the Program Manager in the downtown office on events and assisting with general office duties.

Friends is an entrepreneurial nonprofit sustaining the legacy of our state parks and beaches. Through an innovative partnership with California State Parks, and by leveraging local community support, Friends funds educational programs, visitor services and capital projects. Learn more and apply.
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