Be Inspired, Not Angry

2 Nov

Thanks to California State Parks Foundation for inviting me to speak and participate yesterday. I had several requests to post what I talked about yesterday at the state capital. Here’s it is. – Christopher


Photo by Linsey Fredenburg-Humes


Said simply, I tell stories. I’ve spent the last 3 years driving 5000 miles across California to visit almost 200 CA State Parks to tell their story.

This summer, when I began filming my documentary about CA park closures, I expected to tell a story of hardship, unfairness and neglect. After driving and flying to talk with many of the people working to keep our parks open, I have a more positive message to bring back from the field: Don’t be angry, be inspired.

Be inspired by Program Director Morgan Lindsay, a 24-year old graduate who moved away from her friends and family to live in Lee Vining and work for the Mono Lake Committee.

Be inspired by volunteers Peter Ullrich and George Madrid, who started a ‘Graffiti Removal Squad’, which is basically these two guys going out to Santa Susana State Park every weekend with pressure washers and scrub brushes.

Be inspired by the middle school students who spend their summers picking up trash and hauling recycling at Austin Creek State Park.

Be inspired by the 50+ people who showed up in Sacramento to say that just because you are closing our parks, doesn’t mean we’ll accept it. Just because you choose to not fun our parks, doesn’t mean we’re giving up.

California is the land of ideas, of entrepreneurs and innovators. We know that action is stronger than anger and our purpose will always transcend our current problems.

Across the state, I have seen a new chapter beginning in CA State Parks history. Just as they did 150 years ago, our parks need new voices. New choices. Choose to be inspired, not angry. Be proud of what we’re working towards, not frustrated by what we’re working against. The future of CA State Parks is up to all of us to decide. Let’s make sure that that future is bright.


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