To Inspire and Ensure Stewardship of the State Parks in Mendocino County.
How we started
In 1984, several local park rangers were concerned that funding was being cut for educational programing in our state parks. To ensure that quality educational programming would continue, they set out to establish what is now known as the Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA). They established MAPA’s basic premise: “Appreciation, through Education, leads to Preservation”. At first, MAPA supported the operation of the Ford House visitor center in Mendocino Headlands State Park. Soon MAPA was also providing funding for the state park seasonal interpreters (or naturalists), interpretive publications and exhibit panels. Over the years MAPA took on the operational support of several visitor centers, including Van Damme, MacKerricher, and the Elk/Greenwood Museum.
As the California state park budget continued to suffer greater cuts each year, MAPA responded by creating a fund to support park improvement projects in Mendocino Headlands State Park. Local participating inns give their guests the opportunity at checkout to donate 1% of their room rate. The donation is optional, but an overwhelming majority choose to help support the parks. The Park Improvement Fund program has been very successful, raising funds for projects like the successful restoration of the exterior of the Historic Ford House. Building on the success of the Mendocino Headlands Park Improvement Fund, MAPA launched similar programs with the Inns near MacKerricher State Park and Van Damme State Park. These funds have allowed donors to help fund repairs to the Lake Cleone Boardwalk in MacKerricher, and also to raise the funds needed to reroof the Spring Ranch Barns in Van Damme State park—a project that will be completed in the fall of 2017.
In 2011, MAPA was very concerned by the proposed closure of eight of the state parks in Mendocino County. 80 parks were slated for closure state wide. Due to tremendous public pressure, the proposal to close the parks was rescinded, but not before Standish-Hickey SRA was, in fact, closed. MAPA worked with the local community to form a working group, Team Standish, whose goal was to reopen Standish-Hickey SRA. Through this group’s efforts MAPA negotiated and signed a non-profit park operator agreement to keep of Standish-Hickey SRA open and accessible for camping and recreation.
Though MAPA’s mission has expanded to include stewardship of all of the state parks in Mendocino County, support of educational programming in our parks continues to be MAPA’s major focus.