I thought you might like to see/read a bit of how things went at yesterday's protest to keep open the state historic parks slated for closure under the Governor's proposed budget. There was a moderate outpouring of support, which was very colorful, both in front of Sutter's Fort and at the State Capitol. Sutter's Fort, Railtown, the Governor's Mansion, and Ide Adobe all had docent contingents, as did Malakoff Diggings, which also had a group of school children from their nearby elementary, Grizzly Hill (about 2 hours northeast of Sacramento).
Both the school and the park are just up the long and winding road into the mountains from where my Headstart program is located in North San Juan, and I had linked up their Place-Based Coordinator, Diana Pasquini, with my friend, Dave Freeman, a docent at Ide Adobe, back when he got the idea to put together this protest. He had no idea at the time that it would involve three separate permits, as well as promises to the Capitol personnel that no firearms or animals would step foot on the Capitol grounds. He must have put in hundreds of hours of work, and luckily got the attention of the California State Parks Foundation early on, and they helped him connect with other affected parks.
There were two wagons from Top Hand Ranch and a stagecoach belonging to the Auburn chapter of the Native Sons of the Golden West, pulled by Jeff Shinn and his four matching Percherons... Jeff has been on the Henness Pass Wagon Train the past two years, and also appears with this team at the Draft Horse Classic).
Dave was riding Emma and leading three other burros - Ashley, Blare and Rocky; most of his string representing BLM adopted animals. Glenn and I agreed to walk along with him to make sure they would do well in the parade.
We made it to the capitol without incident, where gunny sacks filled with more than 35,000 letters and postcards petitioning the Governor to save the parks from closure were delivered (along with one huge, handpainted postcard depicting Malakoff Diggings, created by the Grizzly Hill students) to the Governor.
We were competing for budget dollars, media attention, and the ears of our legislators, with supporters rallying to defend the California Community colleges.... all across our state many programs are in grave danger cuts that would fundamentally alter life here.
We might not have been as numerous, but were certainly more colorful, and walking down the city streets and watching toddlers and grown men stop in their tracks, in awe of seeing wagons and burros walking in their midst was enough to remind me that not everyone has the chance to live with animals as I do, and that interacting with our state's legacy, including wagons, pack strings and equines is an important aspect of the state park experience that would be lost if these parks are closed.
I was in costume, thoughnowhere near as authentically dressed as many, and the Vintage Capelet did get to make her debut in public. The day was sunny but quite cool, and I was very glad to have her alpaca warmth draped over my shoulders! This photo, at our arrival in front of the state capitol (well, actually, the west steps, as there are entrances on each of the four sides), doesn't do her much justice, but it was the best that DH got!! The Capelet obviously deserves better.