Home to the largest and most diverse State Park System in the country, California State Parks has 1.6 million acres, over 280 miles of coastline, and 625 miles of lake and river frontage. The state parks protect many critical ecosystems that provide global and regional significance far beyond the park boundaries.
Dispersed across large landscapes of both private and public protected lands, state parks support habitat connectivity, provide essential biodiversity hotspots, and contribute to healthy watersheds that benefit communities throughout the state. With increasing impacts due to climate change and urbanization, parks must be stewarded to continue to provide essential refuge for the flora and fauna that are affected.
It is our belief that only by coming together will we keep pace with the pressures from climate change, populations, and other threats to our ecosystems. That’s why, in collaboration with the California State Park’s Natural Resources Division and partners across the state, we seek to accelerate and scale resource stewardship to match the challenges faced by our treasured state parks. The result of this work will deepen partnerships and relationships, increase capacity while creating efficiencies, create critical planning tools, and meet statewide resource stewardship and conservation goals.
Parks California has launched its Resource Stewardship Initiative to ensure California’s unique natural treasures are protected and managed for future generations.
Our Key Focus Areas for Resource Stewardship
In collaboration with California State Parks and regional partners, the Resource Stewardship Initiative seeks to continue sustaining and enhancing California’s celebrated landscapes by focusing on the following areas:
- Tools & Trainings: Equipping State Parks’ scientists with the critical planning tools and training needed to effectively manage current resource challenges and prepare for a climate resilient future
- Career Pathways: Opening up more pathways for future park stewards and employees that are representative of California’s diverse population through job training and skills development
- Partnerships: Strengthening capacity of regional partnerships and collaboratives to address natural resource challenges
- Cross-Boundary Stewardship: Identifying and disseminating best practices for landscape-scale environmental stewardship, data sharing, and collaboration
Learn more about our first pilot program, “Natural Resource Stewardship Career Pathways Grants” here.
How are we building the Resource Stewardship Initiative?
At Parks California, we believe landscape stewardship starts with building strong partnerships. We take a regional, landscape-level approach to foster cross boundary, multi-stakeholder partnerships for conservation.
First, we begin our resource stewardship efforts by connecting with key staff at state parks to identify and prioritize key conservation goals and resource management needs. With the help of our environmental stewardship partners, we then identify funding, build tools or programs that accomplish those specific goals.
Secondly, Parks California deepens existing relationships and fosters new partnerships with community-based organizations, Indigenous tribes, universities, nonprofits, volunteers, industry, and agencies. Park properties and adjacent lands benefit from multi-stakeholder partnerships to integrate Indigenous knowledge and lived experiences, develop more holistic approaches to landscape stewardship, and increase science-based understanding of management approaches and impacts.
Through meaningful partnerships, Parks California considers landscape-scale assessments, identifies priorities, shares best practices, leverages expertise, and mobilizes resources and investments that are critical for long-term park and resource stewardship. Along the way, we seek workforce development opportunities for the next generation of stewards that represent California’s increasingly diverse, urban, and technologically savvy population.