This bill would establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation in state government and would require the office to undertake certain activities, including supporting the outdoor recreation economy and working toward equitable access to outdoor areas of the state. The bill would also require the office to create an advisory committee to provide advice, expertise, support, and service to the office.
According to a 2017 report conducted by the Outdoor Foundation, the outdoor industry supports over 690,000 California jobs. In California, the impact of state and visitor spending is especially significant given the rural nature of many communities near state parks. State park visitors spend on average of $42 per day on items such as food, gas, gear, overnight accommodations, and equipment and the total economic impact increases to $6.41 billion annually when visitor spending, operating expenses and purchases of goods and services that support parks and related businesses are included. This translates into $289 million in state tax revenue and approximately $145 million in local tax revenues are on average generated annually.
Californians enjoy a wide range of recreational opportunities and benefits from state parks. Yet, the opportunities to visit, explore and play in state parks is not available for all Californians. There are both the physical and virtual barriers and constraints that contribute to both the ability to visit parks, but to also have a meaningful experience once there. The demand for affordable, safe, and quality outdoor opportunities provided by California state parks will only increase in the future, especially as California’s population increases and residents recognize the value of state parks in their communities.