Written by T.J. Brightman, Vice President of Client Relations
The California budget crisis has forced the closure of nearly 70 state parks, three of them in Sonoma County, California. If successful, the state indicates it will recognize a savings of $33 million dollars over the next two fiscal years. It will mark the first time in 100 years, including the Great Depression, that the parks department will entertain closure due to budget concerns.
As many of you know, A. Bright Idea expanded its reach of services by opening an office in Glen Ellen, Sonoma, California a little over a year ago. In that time, we have had the opportunity to not only make some new friends within the business community but also experience first hand the true beauty that this part of the country has to offer.
Not only does A. Bright Idea find itself in the middle of wine country, but is just a stones throw away from Jack London State Park, a memorial to creative writer and adventurer Jack London who made his home in Glen Ellen from 1905 until his death in 1916. It was on these 1400 acres that the American author wrote more than fifty fiction and nonfiction books, essays and short stories. It was also on this hallowed ground that Jack London worked and lived off the land, experimenting and inventing various agricultural techniques.
This weekend, Brooke Austin, A. Bright Idea’s newest hire and Director of West Coast Operations, and I had the opportunity to take a behind the scenes tour of Jack London State Park with Chuck Levine, former board member of the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. Being an “East Coaster” all my life, I can’t say that I’ve ever been moved by the natural beauty of the outdoors more than I was during my visit to Jack London. Maybe it was the giant redwoods, or simply seeing the views of Sonoma County from the Jack London residence that got my attention. There was something special and tranquil about this place that could only make me imagine what Jack London saw in Sonoma when he moved from San Francisco in the early 1900s.
It was London who said, “All I wanted was a quiet place in the country to write and loaf in and get out of nature that something which we call need, only the most of us don’t know it.”
Politics aside, to think that a park like Jack London could close within the year is nothing more than a tragic outcome of the current economic crisis. Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would allow qualified nonprofit organizations to take control of the parks scheduled for closure, assuming the management and operations.
As the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association positions itself to manage Jack London State Park, we are proud to partner with this nonprofit and continue our commitment of community as the organization works to secure control of the park and its overall operations in the coming year.