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Morning Brief: Elephant Seals, Student Debt And Authentic Hong Kong Cuisine

Craggy rocks are shown on the coastline with the water coming up to the sand.
Point Mugu
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Dec. 9.

California has more than 280 state parks, from the Oregon border in the north to the Mexico border in the south.

But these vast reserves of land are less accessible to some residents than others, in part because of a lack of transportation and in part because of a general feeling of unwelcomeness.

“Sometimes it's people not seeing themselves in parks, whether it is the staffing that reflects who they are as a community, or [other] park users, said Myrian Solis Coronel, a spokesperson for the nonprofit group Parks California.

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To remedy at least one of those inequities, the state’s parks department is launching a new program that will offer grants to help city-dwellers travel to the parks via bus. 

My colleague Sharon McNary reports that 20 organizations will receive about $15,000 each, mostly earmarked for transportation. That will help fund field trips for schools and community organizations, bringing participants to the state’s coast and inland.

Once there, park officials hope that working with bilingual staffers, when necessary, and learning the parks’ trails, transit and bike paths will encourage more people to come out. After all, the state’s parks aren’t just home to trails and trees (although those are great!). They’re also home to gorgeous buildings and unexpected landmarks.

Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park, for instance, houses the Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds, described on the park website as “the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California,” and Año Nuevo State Park is where up to 10,000 elephant seals come to breed, molt and sunbathe every year.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... The San Gabriel Cafe Serving Authentic Hong Kong Dishes

San Gabriel’s Delicious Food Corner (原味店, translation: original taste shop) serves patrons Hong Kong-style milk tea, braised beef ribs over pan fried rice noodles, savory Chinese donuts and much more. KPCC/LAist managing producer Fiona Ng writes:

“The first thing I notice whenever I step into Delicious Food Corner in San Gabriel is the noise — the punchy, animated elocutions of Cantonese as spoken by a room full of Hong Kong natives … I once heard someone compare a visit there with a pilgrimage to Mecca.”

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