Katherine Hastings

When citizens stand up and speak out on public issues, they tend to use the professional skills and resources they have at hand.

It’s no different with the impending closure of nearly one-fourth of California’s 270 state parks by September 2012, prompted by the state’s budget crisis.

Some 70 parks, including 23 on the North Coast, are on the list. Sugarloaf Ridge, Annadel, Jack London and Austin Creek are among the Sonoma County favorites listed.

Sonoma County poet Katherine Hastings is host of the “Word Temple” poetry readings and monthly KRCB radio series.

So naturally, her protest took the form of poetry. She not only wrote down her thoughts about losing the parks, but she led fellow poets on park hikes, which inspired them to write, too.

The result is a new book titled “What Redwoods Know — Poems from California State Parks,” published by Hastings’ WordTemple Press.

“This book offers loving portraits of the state parks,” Hastings said. And, she added, it “and serves as a call to arms.”

Contributors include Hastings, Francisco Alarcón, David Beckman, Janine Canan, Ed Coletti, Iris Jamahl Dunkle,  Jodi Hottel, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Hannah Maggiora, Phyllis Meshulam, Robert Sward and Lee Slonimsky.

The book costs $10, and is available from www.wordtemple.com.

Proceeds go to organizations working to keep the parks open, primarily the California State Parks Foundation.

You can reach Hastings at 536-6612.