California State Park Rangers Association
It was decided that an organization was needed to represent the statewide interests of Park Rangers to management and the state. On November 4, 1964, CSPRA held its first meeting of newly elected officers and directors under the guidance of President L. Paul Griffith. In the fall of 1965 the first annual conference was held at Asilomar. In 1967, CSPRA was incorporated as a professional organization and two years later, was recognized by the state as an authorized representative of its members.
L. Paul Griffith
CSPRA's First President
CSPRA President Paul Griffith signing organizational
start up documents with founding 1964 Officers and Board.
In 1978, with the passage of the Employee-Employer Relations Act, CSPRA made the decision to remain a professional organization, and not venture into the collective bargaining areana. Since 1979 CSPRA membership has been open to all state park employees, and now includes trades and maintenance workers, resource ecologists, guides, district interpretive specialists, seasonal staff and office technicians. Employees from all disciplines support the advocacy work that CSPRA does for state parks. Over the years CSPRA has accomplished many tasks and achieved some important goals. CSPRA has been in the forefront of many environmental battles.
Some of the many accomplishments include supporting Pescadero Marsh reclassification from park to reserve status, successfully urging that the Off-Highway Vehicle units be included as part of the current state park system, rather than creating a separate OHV department, and support of various initiatives such as the California bottle bill and a ban against offshore oil drilling. Since 1974, CSPRA has strongly lobbied in support of all Park Bond Acts and initiatives.
In 1988 CSPRA continued to lead in the effort to maintain the integrity of the State Park System by establishing the SAVE BODIE! Committee. This committee, chaired by Donna Pozzi, worked hard for nine years to prevent the mining of Bodie Bluff and resulting damage to the park. This was a fight against a Canadian mining company, Galactic, to stop construction of an open pit gold mine adjacent to Bodie State Historic Park, where gold ore would be processed and recovered with liquid cyanide. This is the largest and most significant project ever undertaken by CSPRA and is considered to be California's largest statewide historic preservation battle of the 20th century.
Palm Springs GEC 1989, CSPRA Charter Members
Back row from left; Allen Ulm, Jerry Johnson, Ron McCall, Milt Frincke, Jim Geary, Kirk Wallace
Front row from left; Bill Reinhardt, Herman Schlerf, Chuck Lyden, Phil van Duesen, Ron McCullough, Charles Mehlert, Joe McCall, Wes Cater, Dick Brock, Doug Bryce
Just as CSPRA is concerned about the resources of the State Park System we are also concerned about individual members. Since 1967 CSPRA has been providing scholarships to its members. Since its creation CSPRA has provided relief for its members in times of disaster or personal tragedy. Keeping the spirit of the park family alive is one of CSPRA's most important objectives. Together with the Park Rangers Association of California, CSPRA sponsors an Annual California Parks Conference, attracting park professionals from many agencies throughout the state. CSPRA publishes its quarterly newsletter, The Wave , as well as a volunteer managed website, to keep members up-to-date on current issues and trends.
In the 1990s, we began sponsoring an annual Retirees Rendezvous in the early fall. This has helped keep our retired members together and more in touch with CSPRA. The last decade of the century has been a very difficult time for park professionals with tighter budgets and ever-increasing demands on the park heritage. As the population has continued to grow and pressure to find prime land for development has increased, the pressure on parks has also continued to increase.
More than ever CSPRA and its members are needed to serve as the conscience for the Department of Parks and Recreation, and to do everything possible to maintain the integrity of our natural, historical, and cultural park heritage