The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round – to state parks. Route to Parks Grants, Parks California’s signature transportation grant program, is back with a brand-new cohort of recipients from across California, awarding $311,132 in grants. The 20 selected grantees – dedicated to strengthening parks and inspiring all to experience these extraordinary places by serving more than 3,600 people combined – will each receive $15,000 on average to fund programs increasing participation in state parks for families facing financial hardship and reducing transportation challenges.
Across California, many low-income communities experience barriers that restrict their access to California State Parks. By diminishing these barriers, Route to Parks grantees are able to connect communities to the benefits natural resources have to offer – such as an improved emotional and mental state as well as improved physical wellbeing.
Parks California, an organization created to make state parks more welcoming, inclusive and climate resilient, believes everyone should have the opportunity to build a connection with nature. By addressing transportation challenges to and from state parks, the organization intends to expand access to the outdoors for all in California. Learning from the grantee’s various transportation approaches, Parks California aims to scale best practices to inspire longstanding solutions across the state.
ABOUT ROUTE TO PARKS GRANTS:
This grant program is made possible by a shared agreement between Parks California and California State Parks to reduce transportation barriers to financially challenged communities. By matching public and private funds, Parks California is able to maximize grants that support more nonprofits and the communities they serve.
Myrian Solis Coronel, Director of Community Engagement, Parks California
“Transportation programs are essential to bringing communities closer to nature. We are moved by the meaningful experiences the grantees are facilitating to communities – from first-time toe-dipping into California’s majestic coastline to overnight camping experiences to cultural and spiritual reconnections to the land. Each of these experiences are long lasting.
Last year’s recipients helped us further understand the importance of breaking down transportation barriers for communities. As a young organization, we’ve only begun our work to make the state parks more accessible for all communities, and I trust our grantees and partners can help make this a reality.”
Gina Moran, District Superintendent, California State Parks
“California is home to the nation’s largest state park system – from beaches to mountain ranges to deserts, including parks that hold cultural and historical significance to the state. It’s truly a gift to help welcome all in California to experience these wonders.
Through the Route to Parks grants program, we are able to collectively provide communities with engaging and memorable experiences that can foster a lifelong connection to nature, history and cultural heritage. This year, in San Diego, we are looking forward to collaborating with Route to Parks grantee Outdoor Outreach and ensuring participants walk away with the assurance that these places are here for them to enjoy, play and protect.”
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”
- Big City Mountaineers for “Deepening Relationships through and with the Outdoors”
- City of Dreams for “Youth to Parks ”
- City of La Habra – Community Services for “Making the Connections to Nature, Recreation and Protection of our California State Parks”
- Latino Outdoors for “¡Vamos Outdoors, Fresno!”
- Marine Science Institute for “Marsh and Beach Exploration: Improving Access to Pescadero State Beach”
- MeWater Foundation for “MeWater Foundation Surf & Outdoor Education Camps”
- Nature for All for “All Aboard for Nature”
- NatureTrack Foundation for “NatureTracks / NewTracks”
- Outdoor Outreach for “State Parks Discovery Program”
- Point Lobos Foundation for “Experience Point Lobos for Youth & Families Residing in Community Housing and Severely Disadvantaged”
- Pukúu Cultural Community Services for “Tutcint Nature Advocates Program”
- Redwood Community Action Agency for “Nuevas Aventuras en las Antiguas Secuoyas Gigantes”
- Santa Barbara Police Activities League for “PALs Outdoors”
- Sonoma Ecology Center for “Increasing Access to Sugarloaf through Senderos Naturales and Transportation Programs”
- The LEAP Institute for “LEAP Route to the Parks”
- United American Indian Involvement, Inc. for “Bear Tracks”
- Youth Mentoring Action Network for “Pathways to Our Parks”
Last year, Parks California allocated close to $320,000 to 20 nature programs to increase state park access for all communities. Some of these programs focused on transportation to local parks and beaches, training on cultural relevancy and technical outdoor skills, science learning, physical and relaxation activities, and even overnight trips that teach participants how to properly prepare for trips to parks
2020 Route to Parks recipients reported that grant funds were critical to reducing the transportation barrier for people with financial challenges, which resulted in creating more meaningful experiences in and connections to California State Parks.
- Organization: Parks California
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About Parks California
Parks California is a statewide nonprofit working to ensure state, regional, and local parks thrive. As the statutory partner to California State Parks, Parks California has a simple mission – to help strengthen parks and inspire all to experience these extraordinary places. From redwood groves and desert springs to urban parks and lighthouses, the organization works with partners to steward these natural wonders and make California’s parks more welcoming, accessible and relevant to all visitors. For more information, please visit parkscalifornia.org.