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Plan your stay-cation at local parks. 
Join us Thursday for the author talk, "Plan your Stay-cation!" at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is co-sponsoring this free event featuring two local travel writers who will talk about the best way to explore the outdoors in the Monterey Bay Area.

Eric Henze is an expert on outdoor experiences in Wilder Ranch State Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. 
Stuart Thornton, a 20-year Monterey Bay local, will share some hidden gems and tried-and-true favorites of Coastal California.

The event is at 7 p.m. at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave.
Volunteer in State Parks.
Do you enjoy cultural and natural history? Want to share information with visitors and school groups? Would you like to promote conservation and stewardship? Apply now to be come a volunteer docent at a local State Park! Several opportunities are available.
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Become a volunteer docent and help the environment through education. Training begins this month. Call 831-338-8883 for information and applications.
  • Portola Redwoods and Castle Rock State Parks: Apply now for the Volunteer and Docent Training Program.Volunteers rove the trails, interact with visitors, host the visitor’s center and contribute to the inspiration, education and enjoyment of park visitors. Classes begin in April. Contact State Park Interpreter Rose Nelson at (831) 291-8273 or email here for more.
  • Rancho del Oso: Join our team of active volunteers and venture into the vivid wilderness of the Waddell Valley as a Wilderness Patrol volunteer. Training starts in April. Call 427-2288 or email here for more.
Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks on our website.
Media accolades: Mission among favorite local history destinations; Mountain parks get press in UK.
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park was recognized by Santa Cruz Sentinel readers at the runner-up for best local historical destination. The honor is particularly noteworthy for this "hidden gem" of a State Park because it was on the verge of closure four years ago. 

United Kingdom writer Julia Buckley included Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park in her "Secret California" article published in The Independent and The Independent i, in late February. Check out the article here.
Celebrate salamanders this Saturday!
Join us as the “Rancho del Oso” becomes “Ranch of the Newt,” celebrating our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands and puddles of the park. Participate in the annual Salamander Saturday celebration, 12-4 p.m. Saturday, March 5. This event honors the often overlooked, but heroically well adapted amphibian native to the Santa Cruz Mountains and other moist habitats.

Live amphibians will be available for viewing. A ranger-led salamander hike will start at 3 pm to search for these regal creatures on the mile-long Marsh Trail. All-age crafts and activities will be available at the Rancho del Oso Nature & History Center.

Rancho del Oso is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway 1 at Waddell Creek (3600 Hwy. 1, Davenport). The event is free. Call (831) 427-2288 for more.
Pacific Migrations Visitor Center at New Brighton State Beach reopens.
Spring must be in the air! The Pacific Migrations Visitor Center and ParkStore at New Brighton State Beach is now open for the season. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Sunday, with additional days being added in April. 

The Pacific Migrations Visitor Center explores many Pacific Rim migrations, by both people and creatures of the sea and air, with interpretive displays. Friends' ParkStore offers educational items, as well as souvenirs to commemorate the visit to New Brighton State Beach.

New Brighton State Beach is off McGregor Drive, just south of Park Avenue in Capitola. Parking is $10 and supports the park.
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