Ten representatives from Western Nevada County’s three state parks’ cooperating associations gathered together on a brilliant Sunday, united in their desire to forge a stronger and more sustainable organization to support the educational and interpretive mission of State Parks.
Delegates from Empire Mine Park Association, South Yuba River Park Association, and Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins are collaborating with each other and State Parks to form a brand new organization designed to take advantage of common goals and capabilities, and to more efficiently serve the needs of the State Parks in Western Nevada County.
Empire Mine State Historic Park, South Yuba River State Park and Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park make up the Sierra Gold Sector of the expansive Sierra District.
Each of the three existing organizations have successfully sponsored special events, supported educational programs, led hikes and building tours, raised funds and helped to build the volunteer ranks so essential for the operation of the state parks. They also have helped to advocate for major projects such as the restoration of Bridgeport’s covered bridge, installation of a solar electricity system at Malakoff, and clean up and mitigation for the legacy impacts of mining in the parks.
Professional facilitator Randy Widera of Blue Oaks Consulting was hired to help the delegates forge the process that will transition from the current three separate entities to a single park cooperating association. He reflected on the efforts of the day: “The Sierra Gold state parks share cultural and natural histories, while individually representing signature differences. The collective wisdom, experience, and energies of the de facto founders impress me. The future looks bright!”
The representatives are united by a common vision to support all three state parks, and recognize that joining forces will produce a stronger, more robust organization better positioned to provide what State Parks needs, now and in the future.
Acting State Park District Superintendent Matthew Green observes “Our Western Nevada County non-profits are on the rise and taking their organizations to another level.”
The founding of the new organization will take time and will be designed to employ the best ideas and traditions of each of the current park associations.
During the transition period, each park association will continue with their activities as before, until the new organization is launched.
Details of how membership, assets, and committees will be handled will be decided while the process develops in the coming months.
The goals of this effort are to build deeper connections with all three parks in the Sierra Gold Sector, to strengthen the ties between the community and the parks, and to grow the capacity for support beyond the local geographic area.