The program, in its third year, continues to address equitable access to parks for under-resourced communities statewide.
WHAT: Route to Parks Grants, Parks California’s transportation grant program is in its third year with new and many returning recipients from across California, awarding more than $340,000 in grants. The 19 selected grantees will focus on communities facing financial hardship and reducing transportation challenges into state parks. The grants are made possible by a joint agreement between California State Parks, Parks California, and the generous support of private donors, including Pacific Gas & Electric.
Many under-resourced communities in California experience real or perceived barriers restricting their access to California State Parks. By addressing the transportation barrier, Route to Park’s grantees connect communities to the many benefits nature has to offer. By offering relevant and meaningful experiences in parks, participants have the opportunity to build long-lasting connections with nature.
WHY: Parks California, the statutory state-wide non-profit partner to California State Parks, was created to help strengthen California’s state parks by becoming more welcoming, inclusive and climate resilient. By addressing transportation challenges, the organization intends to expand park access to all communities in California.
WHERE: Grantees are located throughout California, including San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Los Olivos, and Salinas.
QUOTES FROM GRANTEES:
“Ventana Wildlife Society is excited to partner with Parks California to assist in providing access to the outdoors for families of north Monterey County – because when people have meaningful outdoor experiences their health, quality of life and social well-being improve, and in turn, communities become stronger and more sustainable. We look forward to working with our partners and the community to remove common barriers to equitable access – such as transportation – to our State Parks.”
- Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director, Ventana Wildlife Society
“Being a Parks California Route to Parks grantee means that NatureTrack can provide far more wheelchair users with access to California States Parks on the Central Coast. In addition to grant support, NatureTrack has greatly benefited from the educational and networking opportunities provided by Parks California; learning about other organizations and sharing ideas has been terrific.”
- Sue Eisaguirre, Founder & Director, NatureTrack
“For so many of our students from low-income communities, taking part in field trips to Crystal Cove State Park is their very first time visiting an open space, hiking, or working alongside real scientists. But the cost of transportation can be prohibitive for so many teachers and schools, especially those in low-income neighborhoods. Parks California’s support means that hundreds of eager fifth-grade and middle school students from across Southern California will be able to visit Crystal Cove and take part in important conservation research to protect the park’s coastal sage scrub ecosystem.”
- Kate Wheeler, President & CEO, Crystal Cove Conservancy
“I’m in awe of these incredible programs and the intentionality behind meeting people where they are in their outdoor journey. From organizations offering vocational gardening and landscaping training for people in prison, to programs that foster Indigenous culture and reconnection to the land, to organizations that ensure those with physical limitations have equal access to nature – these programs remind us about the personal and unique moments that instill appreciation to nature. By collaborating with these organizations, California State Parks and Parks California, we are collectively able to have a greater impact in local communities.”
- Myrian Solis Coronel, Director of Community Engagement, Parks California
GRANTEES: To see a full list of grantees and program descriptions, visit the Parks California website.
Adventure Risk Challenge for “Adventure Risk Challenge Community Leadership Program” – Truckee
Big City Mountaineers for “Deepening Relationships through and with the Outdoors” – Berkeley
City of Dreams for “Youth to Parks” – San Francisco
City Surf Project for “Immersive Surf Experiences along the California State Park Coastline” – San Francisco
Coastside State Parks Association for “Coastal Explorers” – Pescadero
Insight Garden Program for “Insight Garden Program: Ground and Grow Reentry Services” – Berkeley
Napa County Office of Education for “Redwoods to Tidepools” – Napa
Save the Redwoods League for “Redwood Rides” – San Francisco
NatureTrack Foundation for “NatureTracks / NewTracks” – Los Olivos
Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools for “Outdoor Educational Equity at Pigeon Point” – Salinas
Ventana Wildlife Society for “State Parks Access for Families of North Monterey County” – Monterey
Community Nature Connection for “Terngava Naturalist Yu’pa’ “ – Los Angeles
Crystal Cove Conservancy for “Project Crystal & Project Crystal Code STEM Education Programs” – Newport Coast
Growth Opportunities through Athletics, Learning & Service – GOALS for “GOALS Park Adventures” – Los Angeles
Hearts for Sight Foundation for “White Cane Leaders In State Parks” – Los Angeles
Outdoor Outreach for “State Parks Discovery Project” – San Diego
Pukúu Cultural Community Services for “Tutčint Nature Advocates Program” – San Fernando
Santa Barbara Police Activities League for “PALs Outdoors” – Santa Barbara
United American Indian Involvement, Inc. for “UAII-Parks California Bear Tracks for Native Youth” – Los Angeles
INFO: For additional information about Parks California, please visit the Parks California website.
MEDIA: Please contact Alfred Torres at email@example.com. For hi-res images and b-roll video of Parks California, please visit the Parks California newsroom. Images and video of grantees are available by request.