CSPF is dedicated to advocating for legislation and policy changes to advance our mission of protecting and enhancing the California state parks system.

To advance our policy goals, CSPF works with policymakers at the state, federal and local levels.

We also encourage our park partners, members and park supporters throughout California to become engaged in our grassroots advocacy efforts.

Legislative Agenda

As part of our role in advancing state parks issues for the last decade, CSPF has provided leadership in lobbying the California legislature on relevant bills and budget actions as well as proactively sponsoring legislation. CSPF has sponsored legislation to achieve park protection as well as facilitate fiscal sustainability for the state park system.

In addition to sponsoring legislation, CSPF also maintains regular communication with key policy committee members and provides testimony to legislative hearings and coordinates with other like-minded organizations on policy priorities.

Current Legislative Bills

AB 2249 (Cooley) California Heritage Protection Act

Current Status: Signed by the Governor

Assembly Bill 2249 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) is the California Heritage Protection Act. This bill responds to the surprising development that created a legal tug-of-war over the identity of renowned facilities and spaces in Yosemite National Park.

This bill passed unanimously from both the Senate and Assembly, and was signed by Governor Brown on September 21, 2016.  

AB 2249 prohibits a state park concession contract from providing, or serving as the basis for, any claim of a trademark right in the name or names associated with a state park. The contract currently used by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for state park concessions already prohibits such copywriting or trademarking. AB 2249 codifies these practices to make certain they continue. 

AB 2549 (Committee WPW) State Park System

Status: Signed by the Governor

This bill, already signed by Governor Brown, requires DPR to provide state park donors with a written accounting of expenditures made from donated funds. This bill also requires DPR and the State Park and Recreation Commission to provide recommendations to the Legislature by January 1, 2018 on ways to improve the state park planning process. 

SB 1111 (Pavley) Expanded Authority for Nonprofit Operating Agreements

Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly – Awaiting Action by Governor

SB 1111 was originally introduced to remove a cap in current law which limits DPR’s authority to enter in operating agreements with nonprofit organizations – that cap prohibits DPR from entering into more than 20 operating agreements where those agreements involve the operation of the entirety of a park unit. It also was intended to be a vehicle for additional statutory changes that may be required or desired as part of ongoing efforts at DPR as part of its Transformation Team work.

During the course of the legislative process this summer, SB 1111 was amended significantly. The 20 park unit cap was reinstated, as was a sunset date of January 1, 2025. CSPF feels strongly that this cap and the sunset should be removed, and we have already begun working with colleagues in the parks community to address this in the 2017-18 legislative session.

Another area of note in SB 1111 is that it also authorizes DPR to enter into a statewide agreement with a nonprofit park support organization to facilitate implementation of reforms recommended by the Parks Forward Commission. The intent is that by partnering with a nonprofit entity progress will be made on efforts to develop and secure expertise, services, resources, and projects that are not currently readily available to the state park system.  

SB 1333 (Block) Smoking Ban

Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly – Awaiting Action by Governor

If signed by Governor Brown, this bill would prohibit smoking, and disposing of a used cigar or cigarette waste on a state beach or within added to the bill also allow the director of DPR to designate areas within units of the state park system as exempt from this law.

This bill allows for consistency across park units, and aims to address the persistent problems related to cigarette litter. 


SB 1386 (Wolk): Natural and working lands

Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly – Awaiting Action by Governor

This bill declares it to be state policy that protecting and managing natural and working lands is an important strategy to meet California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. If signed, SB 1386 will ensure that this important strategy remains a key part of California’s emission reduction efforts and will better enable investment in carbon sequestration projects on natural and working lands. The bill will also provide important additional public benefits such as the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, parks and open space; recreational and economic opportunities; production of food and fiber; improvement of air and water quality; and flood protection.

AB 2444 (E. Garcia) California Parks, Water, Climate, and Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act

Status: Did not pass out of the Legislature

This bill would have placed the California Parks, Water, Climate, and Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act (AKA, the Parks Bond) of over $3 billion on the ballot. Originally intended for the November 2016 ballot, over the summer the bond was amended to be placed on the June 2018 ballot.

Ultimately, AB 2444 did not move forward. Assemblymember Garcia has indicated that he will bring back efforts in the 2017-18 legislative session, and we are looking forward to working with him to move the bill forward.

AB 1972 (Chau) Disabled Veterans Park Access

Status: Did not pass out of the Legislature

This bill intended to clarify that veterans who are disabled as a result of their military service – whether in wartime or not – should be eligible to receive the existing lifetime Distinguished Veteran Pass offered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). This bill did not pass out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Eligible veterans can still obtain the Distinguished Veteran Pass from DPR. The Distinguished Veteran Pass is available to honorably discharged war-time veterans, as defined, who are residents of California and submit proof that they have a 50% or greater service-connected disability, were a prisoner of war, or received a Medal of Honor. The free park pass entitles the holder to use all the basic facilities, including day use, camping and boating, at no charge. More information and an application can be found on the DPR website. Link:

For more information about CSPF’s year-round advocacy efforts, please contact

Last Year's Bills

AB 327 (Gordon) Volunteer Prevailing Wage Exemption
Knowing how critical the use of volunteers are to California’s state park system, we urged legislators to support Assembly Bill 327 by Assemblymember Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) to continue the prevailing wage exemption for volunteers through 2024.

Authored by Assemblymember Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), AB 327 continues an exemption from prevailing wage for volunteers who perform public works-type projects. Current law already provides such an exemption until 2017; AB 327 will extend that exemption for another 7 years, out to 2024.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 7/6/2015 Signed by Governor Jerry Brown

AB 988 (Stone and Atkins) Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Grants Program
CSPF is strongly committed to the goal of increasing youth access to outdoor education and recreation opportunities. We support Assembly Bill 988 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) which seeks increases opportunities for youth, especially at-risk youth, to participate in outdoor environmental educational and recreation programs. This bill advanced with bipartisan support from the Assembly and through its Senate policy committee but failed to pass off the Senate Appropriations Committee’s “suspense file” and is being held as a two-year bill. Although the FY 15-16 Budget signed by Governor Brown in June did allocate $10 million of unspent, reverted Prop 40 funds for outdoor environmental education and recreation programs, questions were raised about the challenges of using those funds for programmatic-related funding requests. We look forward to working with the Assemblymember Stone and park advocates to advance AB 988 in 2016.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 8/28/20: Failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee. 2 year bill.

AB 549 (Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)) State Park System
AB 549 advances ideas related to the February 2015 Parks Forward Commission Report and the current work of DPR’s Transformation Team. Among other things, AB 549 encourages DPR to develop more overnight accommodations in state parks and allows them to partner with nonprofits to operate such accommodations. The bill also clarifies that DPR may enter into various partnership agreements, and may provide low cost or free access to parks in recognition of such partnerships.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 10/7/15 Signed by Governor Brown

SB 317 (De Leon) The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016
CSPF worked with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to support Senate Bill 317, a $2.45 billion bond proposal, titled the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016. The bond includes include funding to California’s state parks system, as well as regional and local parks, rivers, lakes streams, coast and ocean protection and climate resilience. SB 317 includes $200 million for restoration & preservation of existing state park facilities and units and $50 million for enterprise activities in state parks that increase revenue generation. This bill has an urgency clause which requires a 2/3 vote and therefore bipartisan support. As of the end of the session, there were not Senate Republicans that indicated their support for advancing a bond through the legislative process, so the bill did not get taken up for a vote on the Senate Floor. CSPF will be working with the author and supporters on the bill to advance it in 2016.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 9/11/2015 Ordered to Inactive file on request of Senator Mitchell

SB 204 (Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)) State Parks
SB 204 advances ideas related to the February 2015 Parks Forward Commission Report and the current work of DPR’s Transformation Team. It removes the 2017 sunset on DPR’s authority to enter into operating agreements with nonprofits, which came from legislation originally written and sponsored by CSPF in 2011. SB 204 also gives DPR authority to enter into new agreements with youth-serving public agencies or nonprofit organizations to perform work in state parks, with the goal of providing youth with service and learning opportunities.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 10/7/15 Signed by Governor Brown

California State Budget

California’s state parks system is in critical need of funding to address the ever-growing backlog of deferred maintenance projects and update aging park infrastructure. This year we lobbied in support of Governor Brown’s $20 million General Fund appropriation to address deferred maintenance backlog in state parks. We are pleased that the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) did receive authority for a modest, one-time infusion of State Park & Recreation Fund (SPRF) funding to maintain current operations. In addition to the $10 million toward outdoor environmental and recreation programs discussed earlier, the budget also included funding for two projects that CSPF has helped support: to open the new museum at Donner Memorial State Park and to re-open Los Angeles State Historic Park, which has been undergoing construction over the last year.

Annually, CSPF monitors the budget and regularly meets with key legislators and staff to advocate for policy and budget changes related to fiscal sustainability for our state park system. CSPF’s primary focus in monitoring the budget is to help determine ways to improve the management, operations and access to our state parks.

The Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) budget is primarily comprised of General Fund appropriations, funds from the State Parks and Recreation Fund (SPRF), special funds and, when available, bond funds. Revenues in the SPRF are derived largely from user fees collected throughout the state park system, such as fees for day-use admission or parking, overnight camping or boating. Bond funds are available to the Department of Parks and Recreation as a result of voter-passed bonds, the most recent being Propositions 12, 40, 50 and 84.

As reported from the State Department of Finance:

The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates the state’s park system to preserve and protect the State’s most values natural, cultural and historical resources. Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision includes total funding of $553.3 million ($115.9 million General Fund and $436.4 million other funds) to support the Department. The current budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation can be found here.

Citizen Action

CSPF encourages our park partners, members and park supporters throughout California to become engaged in our grassroots advocacy efforts to advance our mission of protecting and enhancing the California state parks system.

Park Advocacy Day

Each year over 100 park advocates from throughout California participate in Park Advocacy Day to meet with legislators and lobby in support of California’s 279 state parks.

By participating in Park Advocacy Day, you’ll help send a powerful message to policymakers that California’s state parks are important places that need to be protected. Your knowledge and first-hand experience will be imperative as we work to make this the most successful Park Advocacy Day yet!

Participants come from a variety of backgrounds and affiliations, and typically include representatives of environmental, recreational and other state park related nonprofit organizations and state park cooperating associations, as well as local business leaders, educators, park volunteers, and state park users.

Planning for the 14th Annual Park Advocacy Day is underway. More details to come.

Park Advocacy Day 2016 Park Advocacy Day FAQ

For more information about CSPF’s advocacy work, please contact or call our Sacramento office at 916-442-2119

State Parks Action Network

The State Park Action Network (SPAN) is a grassroots coalition of organizations, business leaders, individuals and local governments who envision a brighter future for each of California’s 279 state parks. Led by the California State Parks Foundation, SPAN unifies the hundreds of entities throughout the state to advocate for a healthy and sustainable state park system.

If you are interested in becoming involved in SPAN, please contact or call our Sacramento office at 916-442-2119

SPAN Website

Take Action

Take action and speak up for California’s state parks. Participate in our current action alert and sign up to receive alerts directly to your email inbox.

California State Parks Foundation

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