California, Here We Come: Why We Need to Protect the Natural Beauty of the Golden State

Written by Liz Coplon

I grew up in an urban environment in the heart of San Francisco. We spent most of our weekends out in nature, whether it was roller skating or bike riding in Golden Gate Park or enjoying the flowers in the Arboretum. And when it was cold or foggy in the city (which is pretty often if you know San Francisco), we would drive across Golden Gate Bridge to go sailing or sunbathing at the beach in Tiburon, where it was always sunny and warm.

My sister and me enjoying the great outdoors, 1970s.

My father grew up on a farm in Germany and always loved the outdoors. He made sure my sister and I got to enjoy nature and learn about it too. Several times a year, we went skiing at Lake Tahoe or backpacking in Yosemite. He always taught us to leave the place better than how we found it.

As a kid, I didn’t always appreciate these trips — hiking three miles with a 25-pound backpack was not exactly my idea of a dream vacation at the time. But it was those trips that fostered the real appreciation and love for nature that I have now as an adult.

Today I’m lucky to live in an area in southern California where I am close to the city but surrounded by nature. From our back deck, I am able to see dolphins, sea lions, pelicans and even the occasional gray whale frolic in the Pacific Ocean, and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains have a lot of great hiking trails.

Nature plays a big role in my life, and it’s so important to me to be able to share California’s natural beauty with my family and protect it for everyone who lives here or visits.

This holiday season, I’m giving my friends and family the California Dreamin’ gift from NRDC’s Green Gifts Collection — and I hope you’ll consider it for the diehard West Coasters in your life as well. For $15, the gift helps support all of NRDC’s work to keep California beautiful — whether it’s saving North America’s last giant sequoia trees, creating more underwater parks for marine mammals (one of the most ambitious ocean protection efforts in history, by the way) or defending the state’s world-renowned beaches from water pollution.

It’s the perfect way to make a real difference and protect the stunning natural beauty of the Golden State that I’ve enjoyed my whole life — so that it’s here for generations of Californians to come.

Liz Coplon blogs at Farmstand LA.


Related Stories:

A Rare Chance to Save Acres of Redwood Trees

California’s Smog Problem Putting Giant Sequoia Redwoods At Risk

Success! West Coast’s First Marine Wilderness Secured



Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra6 years ago

Thank you NRDC, for Sharing this!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Not just CA!

John B.
John B6 years ago

Thanks for sharing Ms. Coplon wonderful article.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

I love my home state. Thanks for the article. I am a native San Francisco and also like biking in the GG Park, etc.

Gloria H.
Gloria H6 years ago

Don't let corporations vandalize the parks. Where do CEO's go for recreation? In their high rises in the city? some nice green place or sandy beach....out in nature ....far far away from everyone. Hmmm...don't we deserve to have a few parks where WE can go if only for a few hours, or a even a 30 minute lunch break before we go back to work for the corporations????
save the parks!

Rosemary G.
Rosemary G6 years ago

As a Travel Facilitator-Interpreter for visitors from overseas, I know the value of our treasured National Parks! We should do our utmost best to preserve ALL Parks! I would love to see smoking outlawed together with the use of plastic water bottles..I see debris everywhere as well as coins that are mindlessly thrown and pollute the environment and poison wild life .Literally thousands of businesses depend on the visitors of the Parks who bring in their much needed tourism dollars, but strict rules need to be applied to preserve the natural beauty of those magical places! I am against all forms of industrial activity in any Park..Can you image the GW Bush was trying to reopen Uranium mines in the Grand Canyon National Park! Human animals are inherently stupid and greedy!

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle6 years ago

I loved Yosemite park. It should be a crime to commercialize our national parks and monuments...not to mention allowing mining and oil companies to exploit them.

Donna M.
Donna M6 years ago

I hope you are successful in preserving the beauty of the great outdoors.

Dotti Lydon
Dotti L6 years ago

I call California my home state as I did live there most of my life. It has so much beauty to offer.