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The PRA was formed in 1975 to assist the park staff in providing interpretive and educational programs to the public. It is a contracted cooperating association with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and is chartered by the IRS as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)corporation. The mission of the association is to enhance and enrich the public's experience at Henry W. Coe State Park through education and interpretation. There is no paid staff in the association. The governing structure is the board of directors who volunteer their time.
Our programs include wildflower walks, evening programs, special backcountry hikes, and our very well received program for 1st through 6th grades. Called "Coe Connections", the program is an introduction to the concept of the ecological connections among all the parts of our environment; from the fallen dead tree that is home to myriad insects and larger animals alike; to the standing trees that provide storage for the acorn woodpecker.
Over 100 association members volunteer in the visitor center answering questions, describing trails and camping areas, registering visitors and collecting fees, and selling store merchandise. They teach in the program for the elementary schools; take guided walks and more strenuous hikes;give evening programs for campers;and publish a newsletter, maps, interpretive leaflets and books that are sold in the PRA store. The PRA and the volunteers also put on several major events during the year that are attended by over 2000 friends of the park. The Mother's Day Breakfast is a cooked-on-site feast of strawberries, bacon, eggs, coffee, biscuits, and live music. The 10K run has 250 or more enthusiastic participants. The TarantulaFest features events for children and great food. In late April the Coe Backcountry Weekend allows a limited number of cars to drive into the back country of the park for a weekend of hiking, fishing, and camping.
Each year approximately 20,000 hours are donated to the park.
The Pine Ridge Association does not receive any state funds. We are responsible for raising the money necessary to support our programs through memberships, sales at our store, and special events.
As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Pine Ridge Association is dependent upon the support of donations.
In 1984 a Resolution from the State Legislature was presented to the Pine Ridge Association honoring them and commending their exemplary contribution to the State of California. In 2000 we were named Association of the Year by the California League of Park Association (CALPA) and in 2004 received from CALPA an award for the Best Map by an Association. In 2004 the PRA received the "Association of the Year" award from the Monterey District of California State Parks.
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