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At Parks California, we believe that everyone deserves a world-class park experience that can lead to a lifelong connection with nature. However, documented disparities, such as the lack of transportation or public transit options can be a barrier to fostering personal connections with the outdoors.

To help ensure that all communities, including people who have been historically marginalized, have an opportunity to visit and enjoy California State Parks, Parks California launched the Route to Parks grants program in 2020 to support local organizations that are best able to address transportation and other obstacles faced by these communities.

Together, we are helping people develop a connection, appreciation, and love for nature. Over the past three years, we have provided grants to more than 40 organizations across the state that, in turn, have been able to create transformative experiences in nature for their communities. Focused on providing experiences in State Parks to underrepresented communities, we are proud to offer this grants program for the fourth cycle.

This program is made possible through a public private partnership, supported by private fundraising by Parks California, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Waterway Connections Initiative. Route to Parks is aligned with the goals of California Natural Resources Agency’s Outdoors for All program. Through this partnership, Parks California is excited to expand the Route to Parks grants program this year with increased opportunities for water-related outdoor access and experiences. Through this program, we aim to improve park access for all Californians so they can create authentic connections with nature.

For the 2024 grant cycle, we sought proposals that addressed the following criteria:

  • Primarily provide transportation to/from: 1) California State Parks and beaches; 2) California State Park partnerships, such as partner-operated properties, and partner-operated programs at State Park properties, that connect people to inland waterways, including lakes, rivers, watersheds, and water systems
  • Offer a valuable recreational, environmental, cultural, or historical learning experiences;
  • Reach underrepresented communities who may face challenges getting to or enjoying parks, and/or lack opportunities to create meaningful connections to nature;
  • Address those parts of the state with the greatest transportation needs.
To learn about the next grant cycle, sign up for the Parks California newsletter at the top of this page.