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 1083 (Burke) Transportation electrification: electric vehicle charging infrastructure: state parks and beaches

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Watching

The state of California has set an ambitious goal of 1.5 million Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) on our roads by the year 2025.  ZEVs use low carbon fuels are a vital component of the state’s effort to reach its Green House Gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. In order to achieve this goal, California estimates that by mid-century, 87% of cars on the road will need to be full ZEVs.  There are still barriers to consumers for the adoption of ZEVs including cost, financing, and range anxiety as a result of a lack of an adequate charging network.

The development of more ZEV charging stations in long-dwell locations, such as state parks and beaches, may provide an additional incentive for drivers to adopt ZEVs. The bill would require each electrical corporation to develop a plan to create a robust charging network at all state parks and beaches within its service territory, by July 31, 2018.

AB 1281 (Limón) State parks: climate change: study

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Watching

California’s state park system encompasses over 1.5 million acres.  This bill would require the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to complete a study that includes recommendations for further action that may be necessary to address the impacts of climate change on the state parks system.

The findings of this study may help shape policies to protect our parks, and may also provide clues on how to better understand that many ways in which the preservation and protection of state parks are helping climate-threatened species to survive, and can help offset Green House Gasses (GHG).

SB 365 (Dodd) Regional park and open-space districts: County of Solano

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Support
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Currently, Solano County is the only Bay Area County without a Regional Parks and Open Space District. SB 365 is needed to allow the County to move forward with the process to create a dependent Regional Parks and Open-Space District.

CSPF is supportive of this effort, as we believe it will increase access to public lands, and create new opportunities for the County to enhance existing parks and open spaces.

SB 183 (Lara) Marine protected areas: Native American tribes

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Watching

The Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act (MMAIA) establishes a uniform classification system for state marine managed areas, prescribing 6 classifications for designating managed areas in the marine and estuarine environments, including marine protected areas. Under the MMAIA, “marine protected areas” include a state marine reserve, a state marine park, and a state marine conservation area.

This bill would authorize a California Native American tribe to submit a request to the Native American Heritage Commission to approve the tribe’s record of aboriginal use of a specified area of the marine environment for subsistence and cultural purposes. Upon approval by the Native American Heritage Commission of the tribe’s record of aboriginal use, the bill would authorize the tribe to request, and would require the Fish and Game Commission to issue, an exemption that authorizes members and lineal descendants of the tribe to engage in subsistence fishing and cultural gathering and use of live plants and dead animals within any state marine conservation area or state marine park located in the area described in the approval where the aboriginal use occurred.

SB 705 (Allen) Solid waste: disposable food service containers

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Support
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CSPF was proud to support Proposition 67, which passed in 2016 and prohibits the use of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores. SB 705 would add to these efforts, and phase out takeout expanded polystyrene (EPS) and non-recyclable plastic food packaging. This bills would ensure that alternatives can be recycled or composted in the communities where they are distributed.

EPS takeout food packaging is a statewide problem that is toxic to humans, pollutes coastal and inland waterways, litters our streets at great cost to ratepayers, kills wildlife, and impairs the ability of communities to comply with storm water regulations.  Up to 80% of ocean pollution is litter from urban runoff, and non-recyclable single-use food packaging is a primary component of urban litter that residents pay to remove.  Single-use food packaging litter is consistently in the top ten items found at beach and river cleanups. 

Nearly 100 total jurisdictions in the state have already passed a patchwork of ordinances banning expanded polystyrene takeout packaging from food vendor distribution.  SB 705 creates a unified statewide policy that will protect consumers, reduce unrecyclable or compostable waste, and safeguard our parks, open space, coasts and inland waterways.

AB 250 (Gonzalez, Fletcher) State Coastal Conservancy: Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Support
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California has 1,100 miles of coastline, but currently far too many Californians lack equitable access to the coast. A recent joint study by UCLA and San Francisco State University found that 75 percent of Californians view the high cost of overnight coastal accommodations as a barrier to coastal access.

In the last three decades, nearly 25,000 economy hotel/motel rooms have been eliminated, and today fewer than 5 percent of coastal accommodations can be considered economy. Fees for a developed campsite at a state park on the coast currently range from $40 to $65 per night and the demand for these campsites is so high that they often sell out 6 months in advance.

This combination has created a situation where far too many Californians are unable to visit the coast and receive the health, wellness and recreational benefits that come with those experiences.

The Coastal Act, passed in 1976, mandated that the California work toward “maximum access” to the beach for all. In order to provide coastal access for all California residents, we need to increase our efforts to break down barriers such as prohibitive costs of overnight accommodations, lack of public transportation and affordable parking.

AB 250 (Gonzalez Fletcher), which would require the Coastal Conservancy to establish a program to expand the availability of low coast overnight accommodations on the coast.  We strongly support AB 250 for its efforts to break down the economic barriers that are preventing equitable access to California’s coast. In addition to traditional overnight accommodations, including motels/hotels and campgrounds, we also encourage increasing the availability of group campsites within state parks, and expanding innovative alternatives in state parks such as affordable cabins, rustic shelters and yurts. 

AB 18 (E. Garcia) California Clean Water, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018

Current Status:
CSPF's Position: Support
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Having access to safe and well-maintained parks at the state and local level increases the quality of life for all California residents. Protecting and increasing access to safe areas for exercise, recreation and the preservation of protected natural and cultural resources is consistent with Californians’ desire to access open spaces and parks as part of their daily lives.

It’s time to reinvest in California’s natural and historic infrastructure – including significant investments into California’s state park system. Decreases in annual operating funding have led to the growth of a deferred maintenance backlog that exceeds $1 billion. Critical repairs are necessary to preserve visitor safety, improve amenities and increase equitable access to state parks.

CSPF supports both of the park bond bills that are currently moving through the Legislature, AB 18 (Garcia) and SB 5 (de León). We strongly support the funding these bonds propose for restoration and preservation of existing state park facilities and units. Those critical funds are sorely needed to help increase, preserve and protect park access to the public, and to preserve and protect the natural, cultural and historical resources of California’s state parks.

Ultimately only one of these bond bills will be delivered to the Governor’s desk for approval before it can be presented to voters in 2018.

Last Year's Bills

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

Current Status: Did not pass out of the Legislature
CSPF's Position: Support
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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 2249 (Cooley) California Heritage Protection Act

Current Status: Signed by the Governor
CSPF's Position: Support

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.

SB 2549 (Committee WPW) State Park System

Current Status: Signed by the Governor
CSPF's Position: Support
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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 111 (Pavley) Expanded Authority for Nonprofit Operating Agreements

Current Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly
CSPF's Position: Support
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SB 111 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. 

AB 1972 (Chau) Disabled Veterans Park Access

Current Status: Did not pass out of the Legislature
CSPF's Position: Support
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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.

SB 1333 (Block) Smoking Ban

Current Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly
CSPF's Position: Support

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

Current Status: Passed by Senate and Assembly
CSPF's Position: Support

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.

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.

Read More Here 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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