Nevada County Surpasses Goal: More Than 7,000 Sign Petition Asking Governor Brown To Remove South Yuba, Malakoff From State Parks Closure List

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  January 11, 2012


Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)
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Nevada City, California—South Yuba River Citizens League has announced the winner of its signature collection challenge, part of its ongoing effort to keep Malakoff Diggins and South Yuba River State Parks off the list of 70 State Parks slated to close in July 2012. On Wednesday, students from the Grass Valley Charter School submitted 1,103 signatures – bringing the petition effort well over its goal – and earning the school free tickets to the Wild and Scenic Children’s Film Festival on Saturday morning and $250 from The Grant Farm towards its highly acclaimed environmental education effort.  With the latest submissions, SYRCL now counts more than 7,000 individual letters and petition signatures.

More than 100 students at Grass Valley Charter School participated in the petition effort, with one team of 4 young people generating more than 500 signatures. This team included Skyler Garvey, Emma Garvey, Evan Oelrichs, and Trinity Rivera.  Other leaders in the effort include Shendo Ellis-Lavigne, Eli Washburn, Ben Washburn, Hannah Youngman, Cameron Collins and Luca LaMarca.

Members of this team were part of a widely watched Lobbying Trip to the State Capitol on December 12, where they presented legislators and the Secretary of Resources a plea to keep their local parks open.  Alex Ezzell, Adventure & Service Teacher at GVCS, notes “through the experience of organizing to have their voices heard, delivering their message to Secretary of Natural Resources, John Laird, at the State Capital and most recently gathering over 1,100 petition signatures – these students have become empowered. I am proud of our students and their response to a threat to our State Parks – they have become both citizens and stewards to the resources of this community.”

The grassroots effort to save two local state parks kicked off with a major Town Hall meeting on Monday, December 12, 2011 in Nevada City. Co-sponsored by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), more than four hundred community members attended the meeting to learn how to take action to remove the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks from the list of 70 state parks slated to close on July 1, 2012.

That night, SYRCL announced a campaign to collect the signatures of 5,000 residents within 30 days urging Governor Brown to remove the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks from the list.  SYRCL noted at the time that 5,000 signatures would amount to the highest number of signatures gathered on behalf of any single State Park.

SYRCL Executive Director Caleb Dardick is optimistic about upcoming efforts with the State, including the presentation of signed letters and petitions to Governor Jerry Brown, planned for early February.   “SYRCL is deeply impressed with the commitment demonstrated by our local community to preserving our state parks.  Our petition has received widespread support, and we couldn’t be more thrilled than to divide the prize between these hard-working, young activists, whose enthusiasm is an inspiration to us all.”

Petitions will continue to be collected all week and attendees of this weekend’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival will have the opportunity to sign a postcard or petition to preserve local parks throughout the festival. The award to Grass Valley Charter School will be presented at the Children’s Film Festival on Saturday at 11:00.

Learn more about the ongoing threat to State Parks, including the proposed elimination of rangers, at:


More:  The Wild & Scenic Film Festival will include a special workshop on Saturday, January 14 from 3-4pm at Nevada City’s City Hall Activist Center, 317 Broad Street. This workshop is free and open to the public and includes a panel discussion with The Future of California State Parks. Join local and regional experts to learn about the latest updates on the State Park closures, and other issues effecting California State Parks.  Panelists will include Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the California State Parks Foundation; Caleb Dardick, Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League; Caryl Hart, Chair of the California State Parks Commission & Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks; and David Vassar, Director of California Forever, The First 70, featured in this years festival, which documents the 70 Parks threatened with closure in 2012.


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