If you live in California, you likely know that our state parks have been in trouble — for quite some time. Back in 2009, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to most State parks. That crisis was averted — though many of the parks still suffered from cut funding and reduced hours.

Last year, a state proposition to better fund the state parks long-term through a fee on vehicle registration fees went to voters. I voted for this — but alas the majority of Californians did not. That means that this year, as the battle over the state budget continues in Sacramento, state park fans are still biting their fingernails while waiting to hear what will happen to parks funding.

Well, next month, you can give those fingernails a chance to grow back while getting your hands dirty at the California State Parks Foundation’s 14th Annual Restoration and Cleanup. The nonprofit’s Earth Day cleanup event — scheduled for April 16, a few days before Earth Day — will let you do something concrete and park-friendly in your own neighborhood while enjoying the outdoors and getting your Vitamin D.

Plant trees, create gardens, restore trails, clean up graffiti, take out the trash, and generally beautify a state park on the weekend before Earth Day. Events are happening at 36 parks across the state, so pick a location near you. Don’t forget to sign up online so the Foundation can keep track of volunteers.  I’m planning to help clean up Malibu Lagoon State Beach. What are your plans for Earth Day?

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