A journey through California to visit the 70 majestic state parks slated to close, and meet the people who treasure them.
Last May California announced plans to close one quarter of their 278 parks,
a devastating move that is intended to save the state a mere $22 million per year. The closure list includes thousands of acres of park land, recreation areas, wildlife reserves, and 50% of the state's historic parks. By July 2012 Californians will be bereft of 70 magnificent natural parks. The media has
done little to disclose the ongoing closures or emphasize their impact.
Not wanting to miss the chance to see these places before they were gone forever, we decided to make our way across California in a converted airport shuttle bus, shooting as many parks and people as possible. Individuals we met along the way were concerned about the closing of their local parks, but no one had a collective firsthand experience of the overall picture. As we connected dots on a map, a pattern emerged. No one knew exactly what the conditions of closure would be, nor could they
see how the state would
ultimately benefit.
In May 2011, the State of California announced plans to close one quarter of its 278 parks. The closure list included thousands of acres of park land, recreation areas, wildlife reserves, and half of the state's historic parks. Upon learning that the state would save merely $22 million with these closures—while undermining local economies—three young filmmakers set out to visit the 70 parks that were doomed to close. Along the 3,000 mile trek, they capture both the majesty of the state’s parks and the outrage of local community members, park rangers and environmental activists who are confounded by the State’s financial logic, yet determined to keep these wondrous expanses of beauty open to the public. The First 70 is an awe-inspiring journey through California’s historic and natural treasures that highlights the ongoing fight to keep them open for future generations.

TRT: 30 minutes | Documentary | In English
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Box headerTHE FILMMAKERSBox header
Jarratt Moody,
Lauren Valentino
& Cory Brown
Jarratt Moody, Lauren Valentino and their longtime friend Cory Brown attended the Savannah College of Art and Design together before moving to the west coast. Spending several years working in the design industry in San Francisco, Jarratt and Lauren found themselves leaving the city most weekends to explore wilderness areas throughout California. After hearing the news of park closures, the two were compelled to get involved. Cory meanwhile had converted an old airport shuttle bus into a veggie oil powered recreational vehicle. Interested in both the project and the cause, he camped across the country from New York to San Francisco joining Jarratt and Lauren. With the help of Kickstarter, they achieved their goal and received the funding needed to make the film. Soon after the three set out to film The First 70. Soon after the three set out to film The First 70.
Box headerCREDITSBox header
Jarratt Moody

Director of Photography
Cory Brown

Lauren Valentino

Executive Producers
Avocados and Coconuts
California State Parks Foundation

Associate Producers
Jeff Boortz
Stefan Kreuzer
Ross Mercier
Mark Schatzberg
John & Cheryl Moody
Michael Valentino
Barbara Weber

Andy Miller & Robin Moore

Dmitri Gaskin

Major Contributors
Benjamin Bowler
Linda Daly
Jeffery Ess
Eric Huffman
John Kelley
Besty Mellor
Lori & George Palermo
Nicole Persson
Andreas Tintelott
Peggy Winkler
Melodie Woods
East Bay Regional Park District