2021 Board Meeting – May 11

Meeting Minutes

President John Koeberer called the meeting to order (via zoom) at l:05 pm

In attendance were board members; Chet Roberts, Dan Gee, Tony Minicucci, Nathan Koontz, Brian Kenny, Steve Werner, David Sloma (Bruce Fears), Warren Meyer, Chuck Ross, Enos Esquivel,Alex Ramirez, Maggie McDonough, and Bruce Vanvort. Guests included: George Loyer (Calpa), Kate Wheeler (CC Conservancy) Brian Seamans (lnterwest).

Guests arriving at 1:45 from State Parks included; Steve Szalay, Christina Jaromay, Jim Luscutoff, Matt Millspaugh, and Jared Zucker.

Guest comments: George Loyer reported on a project involving college interns to conduct a survey of their members. He reminded the Board that the CPHA is invited to participate in planning for the 2022 Partnership Conference, including topics that would be of interests to concession operators. Brian Seamans provided an update about changes in the insurance industry resulting from the pandemic and forest fires. The bottom line is that some types of insurance will be hard to get and expensive.

Approval of Minutes – The Board approved the minutes for the January 19, 2021 meeting as written.

Board member changes – Jack reported that Rocky Mountain Rec has been sold to Ortega Parks and Resorts, and Chet Roberts will represent Ortega on the Board. Bill Harper has agreed to rejoin the Board as the representative of new operator Lake Oroville Marina LLC. Mike Ebler has resigned from the Board and will try to recruit a replacement for the Board. In the meantime, Mike will continue to be our main contact for concessionaires at Columbia SHP.

CPHA Incorporation and Insurance Update – Jack Reported that the Executive Committee approved of hiring an attorney to help get our incorporation and tax status updated with the Secretary of State and the IRS. The incorporation renewal has been accomplished and the tax filings will be done as soon as we provide the attorney with financial information for the past five years. The Board approved an augmentation of $5,000 to the CPHA FY 2021 Operating Budget to cover the attorney and related costs. Brian Seamans outlined the coverage that CPHA has purchased for General Liability and Directors and Officers. The total cost was $700 below what was budgeted for this purpose.

State Parks (DPR) Report – DPR reps reviewed their 5/10 letter responding to the 3/5 letter from the CPHA requesting an extension of the rent relief program.
Although the DPR will not be extending relief on a statewide basis, they are willing to consider requests on a “case by case” basis. In addition, there are eight “max term” contracts, which will be rewritten to include three additional years in order to accomplish contract required capital improvements. The Board discussed the agenda for the 5/14 zoom call President John and Jack will be
having with Director Quintero. The Board will be informed of the meeting results.

CPHA and Low Cost accommodations projects -The CPHA is in discussions with Parks California and the DPR regarding a collaboration that could result in a statewide low cost accommodations project. Board members John Koeberer and Warren Meyer are involved on behalf of the CPHA.

Treasurers Report – Bruce VanVort reviewed the Cash Flow Statement dated 5/1/2021. Cash In YTD is $60,838.34 and Cash Out YTD is $15, 442.99 with a balance of $45,395.35

CPHA 2021 Priorities Update – Jack provided a progress report for on each of the eight priorities approved by the Board at the 1/19/2021 meeting.

Next meeting – The Board approved meeting on site at Hearst Castle on October 6 (11-3pm). Brian Kenny will collaborate with Jack and concessionaires at the Castle in planning for the meeting.

Minutes prepared by – Executive Director – Jack Harrison

Highlights of 2022 CALPA Conference and Training Event

In October 2022, the California League of Park Associations (CALPA)  staged a conference for the various entities that work for CA State parks, including non-profit cooperating associations, for-profit concessionaires and State Park Staff.  Held in Woodland Hills, CA from Oct 17-20, this conference attracted nearly 150 participants.

As part of its contribution to the conference proceedings, CPHA Sponsored three sessions focused on issues of interest to CPHA members.  

Avoiding Wage and Hour Violations

(Arthur Connors, Julie Westenskow)

California’s wage and hour laws are some of the strictes in the nation, and even experienced and conscientious  employers can find themselves embroiled in costly litigation despite their sincere efforts to comply with the law and treat their employees fairly.  This presentation will give a comprehensive over view of California’s wage and hour laws, with particular focus on compliance issues unique to California. In addition, attendees will be offered a starter packet of recommended employment policies and forms, which will provide practical guidance on complying with California’s employment laws (including issues that are beyond the scope of this presentation, e.g., anti-discrimination policies, etc.).

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will be able to identify the most commonly overlooked California wage and hour violations that can lead to costly class-action litigation.
  • Attendees will understand how to maintain time and wage records that not only comply with the law but also discourage plaintiffs’ attorneys from pursuing a case in the first place.
  • Attendees will have the opportunity to ask any question regarding California employment law compliance and litigation – even if it doesn’t neatly fit within the Wage & Hour focus of the presentation.

Partnerships Guide to the Capital Improvements Process

(Kathy Amann, Brian Dewey)

Best practices for successfully navigating the DPR approval process for contract amendments and implementing capital improvement projects

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand when and why DPR staff institutes contracts, amendments or other documents for capital improvement projects
  • Identify which park staff should be included in DPR approval processes
  • Explain opportunities and challenges that exist in the approval process
  • Describe the steps that may make this process easier to navigate

Reducing risks and insurance costs

(Brian Seamans, Jay Berkowitz, Moderators: Warren Meyer, Denise Brown)

Property insurance for structures and other assets on public lands, particularly in wilderness areas of Califor-nia subject to wildfire, is becoming increasingly expensive or even impossible to obtain. This has been a par-ticular issue for concessionaires and non-profits operating on public lands under agreements that the third party partner provide property insurance for the public assets they occupy or operate.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain tools to minimize accidents
  • Identify ways they can reduce insurance costs for their organizations

In addition to these three sessions, CPHA held its board meeting.

Minutes for the October 17, 2022 Board Meeting – Woodland Hills, CA

Board members in Attendance: 

Warren Meyer, John Koberer, Bruce Van Vort, Dan Siboma, Frank Pikus, Brandy Fredericks, Chuck Ross, Maggie McDonogh,

Guests:  Maggie Garcia-Nook (Asilomar); Ashley Kristensen (Angel Island Ferry)

Ex. Director: Ruth Coleman

Sustaining members: Steve Williams, Brian Seamans, Jay Berkowitz

Partners: George Loyer, CA League of Park Associations (CALPA)

State Park Staff:

Director Quintero, Ex. Director Liz McGurk,

Deputy Director Park Operations Kathy Amann,

Deputy Director Strategic Planning and Recreation Services Alex Stehl,

Concessions: Matthew Millspaugh, Erik Rodriguez, Sasha Tokah

Meeting was called to order at 1:10.

Minutes of previous meeting May 17 were approved.

Executive Director reviewed her written report

Interwest insurance gave a quick overview of recent trends: property insurance costs continue to climb in light of wildfires, workers compensation costs are dropping a bit, other types of insurance are climbing a bit due to inflation.  They discussed CalOSHA requirements and shared a webinar link that all CPHA members are eligible to attend.

George Loyer , President of CALPA thanked CPHA for its support of the conference and welcomed the continued partnership with CPHA. He noted that Ex. Dir. Coleman is a member of CALPA. 

State Park Update

Director Quintero noted he had a long standing history of working with the private sector, most notably at Cavallo Point, a concession within Ft. Baker in the National Park Service. He understands the need for and importance of a good relationship between State Parks and its business partners.  He noted a recent achievement in getting a new contract for Marconi Conference center.  He discussed challenges in filling positions and noted he is actively seeking to fill the Partnership position.  He also recently hired a new Human Resources director who will help the Office of Workforce Planning and Recruitment. They have a new recruitment center at the Natural Resources agency, and are now actively working to help applicants navigate the application system.

Members raised several concerns:  the Reservation System is weak; Legal issues are slowing the process. It can be difficult to know who to work with to resolve an issue due to high turnover and limited staffing levels.

Director Quintero committed to working with CPHA on the reservation system. He noted that that while the Resources Agency is seeking to cut the green tape, they continue to be hit with requirements for review by the Dept. of General Services and the State Controller’s office. 

Suggestion from Frank Pikus at ExplorUS: DPR should give out a clear road map of how to get a contract through the process.

Deputy for Park Operations Kathy Amann noted that if concessionaires should start with their point of contact (usually a sector superintendent), then elevate to the district supt. And then a field deputy. Barring any resolution, she encouraged concessionaires to contact her to get assistance to find resolution.

Report from Matt Milspaugh/Concession team:

Contract Extension from Covid – There are 8 contracts that need to be extended.  He is hoping to advance them soon. He wants to package them together because they require approval from both the Dept. of Finance (DOF) and then the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC). 

DPR-86:  Members noted that with changes in tax laws and accountant workload, it can be very challenging to submit the required documentation in May. Many file taxes in the fall.  An easy fix suggested by State Parks:  management could send out a memo to the districts now, and a follow up memo in March to recommend they allow for an extension from May to 30 days after taxes are filed.  For future contracts, Nov. 1 was recommended as a better date than May. 

RFPs in 2023 – Erik Rodriguez read a list of contracts that are likely to be put out for bid in 2023. Director Quintero indicated it would be a priority of the department to reduce the backlot of month-to-month contracts.  They suffer from severe staffing shortages and hiring challenges.  Ex. Director Liz McGurk indicated they were going to look into contracting out.


Steve Williams presented the challenge currently faced by CPHA members: historically, DPR required liability insurance against negligence. Over time this has morphed into replacement insurance requirements. Whereas 10 years ago, this differential might have been de-minimus, it now can increase insurance to the point that a concession is no longer financially viable.  The case of Big Basin was brought up and noted that while DPR asked the concessionaire’s insurance company to pay up, the insurance company would not do so until the structure is actually replaced. This was all new information to the senior management team. They agreed to create a task force to focus on this issueCPHA member Warren Meyer agreed to send them a ‘white paper’ that explains the issues,  Warren will be the point person for CPHA to be on the task force along with ED Ruth Coleman.  Director Quintero noted that there will be additional catastrophic issues to insure against with climate change, ranging from flooding to sea level rise. 

Reservation System update

Deputy Director Alex Stehl reported that a group has been formed internally to work on this project as they look to put the reservation system out to bid in 2023.  Field Chief Brian Ketterer is heading this up.  They are working with district superintendents to get the field perspective through a survey. They want to ensure they have a sense of the differences and needs across regions.  There is a technical subcommittee.  CPHA expertise centers on both a strategic level as well as technical issues.  In particular, CPHA wants to see a more open architecture that allows for third party participation which will diversify the park visitor profile. They want to see dynamic pricing and yield management.  CPHA committed to sending a letter to Alex Stehl and her team that consolidates comments from CPHA members.  This will be sent by Thanksgiving, as DPR is looking to finish their analysis and get an RFP out by March 2023. 

Low Cost Accommodation Initiative

DPR has $30 M to work with from the State Coastal Conservancy to create new low cost coastal accommodation options.  They are looking at Emma Woods (Ventura), San Clemente, Mackerricher SP, and Silver Strand.

Silver Strand has been run out of the Southern Service Center in partnership with Parks CA to gather public input. 

Feasibility studies will be developed for each site leading to the development of business strategies. CPHA can give input to the process through feasibility study.  Once a determination has been made for an approach, if it is a concession, anyone who wishes to bid will need to keep at arm’s length.  At this stage, DPR has not identified which would be run by state parks and which could be a concession.

Strategic Plan Update

The plan is expected to be released this winter. Next steps, which are expected to include reducing the backlog of month-to-month concessions would follow in late winter, early 2023. 

At 3PM DPR staff left

Business Meeting

Treasurer’s report – Bruce presented the Cash flow statement as of 9-30-22.  Several members have not yet paid the annual dues. Warren Meyer committed to reminding members.  Bruce noted that dues have not been increased in years, and with an expected increase in costs, he recommended dues be increased. Bruce will draw up the case for consideration at the next board meeting.

The Board accepted/approved the October Cash Flow statement.


  • Brochure – the board decided not to re-publish an updated brochure due to limited use.
  • Website – the board noted it needs updating/upgrading. Frank Pickus of ExplorUS volunteered to host the website and help update it.
  • Communications Strategy for CPHA members – The board decided to make use of Share Point. Frank Pikus’ team at ExplorUS had set up a test folder that is currently available to Frank and Ruth. This will be expanded to include CPHA board members.  Dir. Coleman will use those shared folders to distribute materials, and avoid multiple attachments to emails and will not mail hard copies.Strategic Planning

The list of topics from the agenda represent the priorities currently and what will continue into the next year:

  1. Contract extension from Covid
  2. Financial Statement reporting (DPR-86)
  3. Forthcoming new RFPs
  4. Changes in Legal Requirements
  5. Insurance Requirements
  6. Reservation System
  7. Low Cost Accommodation Project

Next Meeting – Feb. 7, 2023  11AM – 3 PM  Old Town San Diego

Meeting Adjourned at 4:10  PM