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President’s Message – December 2004

President’s Message

In November of 2003 a new era began for the Advocates. Jeff and Margaret Hicks, who have led the Advocates from its inception twelve years ago, decided it was time for a change of direction in their lives. They are following their dream and, in February, moved to Paris, France. Their leadership and energy in working to preserve, maintain, and enhance the Forrest of Nisene Marks will be missed.

Over the last twelve years, Jeff, as President of the Board of Directors, and Margaret, as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board, have many accomplishments to their credit. Under their leadership, the kiosk area has been beautified and restrooms installed. A bridge over Aptos Creek (Margaret’s bridge) was constructed. Many interpretive panels, benches, and foot bridges have been added. Most recently, Jeff and Margaret led the effort to install a seasonal bridge over Aptos Creek to Marcel’s Forrest. Beyond improvements to the Park, Jeff & Margaret worked tirelessly to expand the membership of the Advocates and establish relationships with other groups and organizations involved with using and maintaining the Park.

In January, the remaining Board members, along with members of the Advisory Council, convened to elect new officers and begin planning for a future without Jeff & Margaret. At the meeting, Paul Ticknor was elected President of the Board, Geoff Alexander was elected Secretary, and Jeff Thompson was elected Treasurer. In addition, Advisory Council member, Dave Steel, was elected as a new Board member. Chris Foster will take the lead in organizing work days for trail maintenance and Kathy Griffin volunteered to head the effort for printing the newsletter.

While the leadership of Jeff & Margaret will be missed, this offers the Advocates an opportunity to re-energize, to re-affirm our core priorities, and to develop new ideas for supporting the Park. With the current budget problems facing the State, the State Parks ability to patrol and maintain Nisene Marks has been limited. It falls to the Advocates to be the hands and feet that help maintain the trails and the eyes and ears that help keep watch on the health of the Forest. There are numerous projects on the horizon, such as the permanent bridge to Marcell’s Forest, the new trail plan, and the Aptos Village plan, for which the Advocates may provide a voice and/or a roll. Additionally, the Advocates will work to maintain relationships with other organizations in the community such as and the Stewards of the Soquel Forest.

To celebrate our new era for the Advocates, the Board has decided to hold a general meeting for the Advocates membership and other interested parties. The meeting will be held on May 11 at 7:00 P.M. at the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center.