This bill would require the California Department of Parks and Recreation to waive the day use entrance fees to a unit of the state park system for any child in the 4th grade, or the 4th grade equivalent, who holds a valid federally issued “Every Kid in a Park” pass.
The notion that children today play outside at the same rate as generations before them is a misconception. Consider the fact that 40% of U.S. School Districts have eliminated recess, and outdoor education programs and field trips have declined significantly over the years. Addressing lack of outdoor time must be a priority when considering the overall health and wellness of California's youth.
The California state park system provides outdoor classrooms to further the education and enjoyment for California’s youth. Now more than ever, it is important the next generation of stewards enjoy and learn about California’s state parks and experience thier unique natural and cultural resources. Recognizing the importance of outdoor learning, in February 2015 President Barack Obama announced the Every Kid in a Park initiative to provide all fourth graders and families throughout the country an annual pass for free admission to national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges. A similar program for California’s 280 state parks system would increase access for youth.