Parks California is a nonprofit organization and California State Parks’ official statutory partner that is dedicated to expanding programs, amenities, and resources so that all people have the opportunity to build lifelong, meaningful connections with nature.
The California State Parks System includes 279 extraordinary places, spanning 1.6 million acres. From redwood groves and desert springs to light houses and ghost towns, California State Parks stand out among the world’s most vibrant protected land – each with its own diverse history, landmarks, ecosystems, recreational opportunities and stories.
As a result of the California’s State Parks Stewardship Act of 2012 and AB 1478, the Parks Forward Commission was formed to evaluate the State Park System, and provide recommendations to ensure that state parks continue to meet the needs of all people – now and into the future.
The Parks Forward report was released in 2015, and showed that far too many people in California face economic and social barriers that prohibit them from experiencing the wonder of California’s state parks; and, parks could better serve the needs of the state’s younger, more diverse population with new resources and educational opportunities.
In addition, the report revealed that state parks need additional support to protect the system’s natural and cultural resources for future generations and to adapt to a changing climate. As a result of this, we need to foster and deepen multi-stakeholder partnerships across boundaries for landscape-level resource management and community stewardship.
California’s robust state park system requires funding, scalable solutions and community connections to ensure that the parks offer an enjoyable visitor experience that meets the needs of the state’s diverse population. This need is heightened with pressures from climate change that threaten the state’s natural and built environments.
California State Parks cannot address these challenges alone. The California Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the entire park system and needs more resources and partnerships to thrive – like yours, and like ours.
That’s where Parks California comes in. With statutory authority and by collaborating with California State Parks and other partners, Parks California works to ensure that protected lands, rich with natural and cultural resources, are stewarded for future generations while also meeting the evolving needs of everyone in California. Our team is steadfast and focused on creating brand-new opportunities to showcase the quality of park experiences and increase the capacity to welcome more people. In addition, we aim to deliver programs and strategies that increase access and foster a lifelong connection to state parks among younger and more diverse visitors.
California has long been a pioneer for new, positive change – and Parks California is passionate about helping to embed that same spirit into California State Parks for generations to come.