Central Coast State Parks Association

Our Mission

Central Coast State Parks Association, in partnership with California State Parks, promotes public awareness and stewardship of our natural resources and cultural heritage, now and for future generations. As a cooperative association, we support interpretation, education, and volunteer efforts in local state parks.


Our organization is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit. We are one of 85 similar cooperating associations across the state who work in partnership with State Parks.

What does CCSPA do?

CCSPA’s primary purpose is to raise funds for educational and interpretive programs within our local state parks. Funding school group field trips to the Museum of Natural History and the Monarch Butterfly Grove, renovating the historic Spooner Ranch House at Montaña de Oro, and supporting the funds for docent-led hikes, walks, and talks throughout SLO County State Parks are some of our core programs. Our Mind Walks lecture series runs January through March, and provides weekly educational opportunities to keep our minds active during the colder months. We keep our SeaLife Stewards volunteers in kayaks and outfitted with necessary equipment, and we support citizen scientist data collection along our coast.

As the political nature of state programs has evolved over the past few years, so has CCSPA. Today, part of CCSPA’s efforts include advocating for California State Parks throughout California to assure the conservation, recreation, and education legacy of California State Parks remains for generations.

Next time you are in our parks, consider shopping at one of our Nature Stores (Museum of Natural History at Morro Bay State Park, Spooner Ranch House at Montaña de Oro, Monarch Trailer at the Monarch Butterfly Grove, or the Oceano Dunes Visitor Center), or purchasing wood from the camp hosts at Pismo State Beach campgrounds, Montaña de Oro campground, Morro Bay State Park campground, or Morro Strand campground – your dollars will go directly into keeping our parks’ education programs thriving and available to visitors and residents alike!


CCSPA is currently recruiting board members. For more information, click here.

Marylou Gooden


Kathie Cherrie


Asit Rairkar


Bob Priola

Board Member

Lisa Ludovici


Hannah Romo


Elaine Rosenfield

Docent Council President


Kristin Howland

Executive Director

Ryan Hughes

Retail Operation Coordinator

Alissa Maddren

Membership & Events Coordinator


CCSPA supports the work carried out by CA State Parks Volunteers and Docents. State Parks volunteer positions are diverse and comprise a wide variety of opportunities to utilize skills and interests.


Docents are highly trained volunteers who interpret the cultural, natural and recreational features of state parks for visitors. Docents work with the public or behind the scenes to help people enjoy, understand, and protect the natural and cultural wonders of the central coast. The docent programs are a great way to invest your time in worthwhile activities, to meet people who share your interests, and to continue to learn.


For more information about the work of a docent, click here.

SeaLife Stewards

SeaLife Stewards is an interagency program that started in April 2016 and whose purpose is to place trained volunteers in kayaks on Morro Bay waters to educate kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders, and others about how to observe wildlife while minimizing disturbance and while following applicable laws. The program focuses on seabirds, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, and other wildlife.


For more information about SeaLife Stewards, click here.

Coast Mounted Assistance

Coast Mounted Assistance (CMA) was established in 1973 by a local group of San Luis Obispo County equestrians who originally assisted State Parks employees to map and construct the trails system within Montaña de Oro State Park. Today, this volunteer organization is part of the California State Parks Volunteers in Parks Program (VIPP).


CMA consists of approximately 55 local county horse owner/volunteers. Members must be approved by the California State Parks VIPP, be at least 18 years of age, have their own seasoned trail horse, transportation to and from the park, and be able to demonstrate their riding ability.

For more information about Coast Mounted Assistance, click here.

Volunteers in Parks (VIPP)

Volunteers are vital to California’s State Parks. The first volunteers served over 100 years ago and worked hard to preserve our most treasured places, and teach the public about their value. Today, the program has grown to nearly 40,000 volunteers across the state who donated over 1 million hours of time each year. They assist State Parks staff in countless ways, in nearly all of California’s State Parks.


For more information about the CA State Parks Volunteers in Parks Program, click here.