At Parks California, we believe that being outside is fundamental to our well-being. Our physical health, our mental health, and the health of our communities all improve drastically when we have the opportunity to build meaningful and long-lasting connections with nature.
For those of us who are lucky enough to spend time in nature often, it can be easy to lose sight of its positive effects – the same way we don’t notice the smell of the wildflowers when we’ve been outside all afternoon, or the chill of the water when we’ve been swimming for hours.
Yet once spending time outdoors becomes limited, the role it plays in our lives becomes crystal clear. And for many communities, these limitations – both tangible and intangible – have always existed when accessing California’s public parks.
We’re here to change that.
With Parks for Everyone, we’re creating opportunities that give all people the opportunity to reap the benefits of connecting with the outdoors, and in particular, California State Parks, in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Below are some examples of how we work to build world-class park experiences, collaborating with communities and organizations as they connect, visit, and protect California’s outdoor and public spaces.
Learn more about Parks California!
- Grants to connect more people to parks – Route to Parks
The Route to Parks grants program supports organizations that are finding innovative solutions to address barriers in those parts of the state with the greatest transportation needs. The program increases park access, and enhances the park experience by providing visitors a new range of recreational, cultural, and historical learning opportunities. Learn more here.
- Career opportunities in parks – Natural Resource Stewardship Career Pathways
To catalyze the environmental stewardship workforce, Parks California is increasing access and broadening career pathways to better reflect the rich diversity of the state’s growing population. By working with tribes, community organizations, and other partners across California, we help strengthen the state’s public lands to build the next generation of stewards. Learn more here.
- Envisioning more green space – Urban Parks
For two-thirds of the state’s population, their first experience with nature is likely in an urban park. As California’s urban population continues to increase, the need for equitable park access is even more critical. In San Francisco, we are working with several nonprofit partners to co-create a collaborative park model at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. In Los Angeles, we’ve joined additional nonprofit partners supporting youth ambassadors. Learn more here.
- Discovering park history – Untold Stories
While California’s history may be well known, stories of places often overlook or misrepresent the authentic experiences shared by many. By telling these stories, visitors gain a more complete understanding of the park’s history, particularly the influence that individuals or groups of people had on these locations during a particular place and time. Connecting the past to the present through untold stories elevates and amplifies the contribution of California’s rich ethnic heritage. Parks California engages with communities to co-create solutions that reflect the broad needs of constituents while updating existing offerings through innovations in language, delivery, and technology. Learn more here.
- Virtual field trips for youth – California State Parks PORTS Program
California is home to the most diverse state park system in the country. But not every school can offer educational trips to these extraordinary places. That’s where PORTS comes in — Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students® can provide every K-12 classroom direct digital access to the state’s 279 parks through live, interactive video-conferencing. Additionally, passPORTS provides K-12 students with these digital learning experiences combined with in-person field trips to visit natural, cultural and historical state parks. Learn more here.
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- Amplifying the great work in community parks
Since 2000, the California State Parks’ Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS), Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program has administered $3 billion in grant funding to create new or improved park access in nearly 300 communities throughout California. The process of planning, creating, using, and improving parks can generate positive change in local neighborhoods– bringing people, community organizations, and the governments that serve them closer together. Parks California is proud to share these stories.
For more information, contact Michael Bridges, Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.