Over the past 15 years, more than 1,000 individuals have participated in Park Advocacy Day, helping to send a powerful message to policymakers about the importance of California’s 280 state parks.
At the 15th annual Park Advocacy Day, over 100 park advocates from throughout California joined us in Sacramento for an exciting and productive Park Advocacy Day! Advocates heard from legislators, learned about important park issues and legislation, met with legislators and policy staff, listened to organizations connecting youth to nature and parks, and honored this year’s Legacy Award Honoree Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
With the help of advocates, we met with 110 legislators and policy staff during Park Advocacy Day! These meetings have a lasting impact on policymakers as they consider important policy decisions about state parks through the rest of this legislative session. This year, we focused on improving access for all Californians to the outdoors and to California’s state parks. During their meetings, advocates called on policymakers to:
Improve Access to Park Facilities
Investments to address critical deferred maintenance needs are crucial for a state park system to have necessary facilities and amenities to meet the needs of its growing visitor base.
SUPPORT Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) to develop a parks and resources bond for the November 2018 ballot.
It is time to reinvest in California’s natural infrastructure. Our state parks are in great need of funding to eliminate long-delayed backlogs of deferred maintenance, make critical repairs necessary to preserve visitor safety and enjoyment in our state parks, and improve amenities that will both enhance visitor value and generate revenues. A park bond is also a key opportunity to fund, improve and deliver greater access to parks, including access to park amenities and improved transportation to parks.
SUPPORT $330 million state parks funding level in Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) and urge that the final funding level for state parks in Senate Bill 5 (de León) or any negotiated agreement between Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) & Senate Bill 5 (de León) include $330 million for state parks.
Because it has been 15 years since a substantive park bond, the needs are great. That’s why it’s critical that a 2018 bond have maximum funding for state parks.
Maintaining Access & Protections for Park Lands & Monuments
California’s public lands are public trust resources that belong to all Californians – now and into the future. Whether designated as state parks, national parks, national monuments, reserves or local or city parks, all protected public lands need to remain protected.
SUPPORT SB 50 (Allen) to require the state to have the right of first refusal or option to arrange to transfer of any federal public lands that the federal government is attempting to sell.
Six of California’s national monuments are under review and possibly under threat by the US Department of Interior. Our parks and monuments are for all Americans, preserving America’s heritage and history, as well as safeguarding irreplaceable wildlife, habitat and natural resources. An attack on one monument is an attack on all public lands.
Increasing Affordable Access
Increasing access to state parks is essential to building new generations of park stewards and supporters. Addressing financial and transportation barriers is critical to opening up park access.
SUPPORT Assembly Bill 250 (Gonzalez Fletcher) to create a new Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program.
California has 1,100 miles of coastline, but coastal access is not equitable for all Californians.
A January 2017 joint study by UCLA and San Francisco State University found that 75% of Californians view the high cost of overnight coastal accommodations as a barrier to coastal access. Increasing the availability of economy overnight accommodations along the coast, including those available within California’s state park system, will allow more Californians to access and enjoy our coastlines and beaches.
SUPPORT Assembly Bill 1358 (Cooley) to make day-use admission to state parks half-price on California’s Admission Day (September 9).
Decreasing financial barriers to state park use creates opportunities to increase all Californians’ access to parks. Lowering the price of a visit to a state park reflects the importance that our parks have to our state, gives Californians a chance to enjoy their parks, and encourages ongoing support for parks.
The morning was kicked off by CSPF’s Board Chairman David Mandelkern, followed by CSPF’s new Executive Director Rachel Norton. Rachel shared her commitment to making parks accessible for all Californians.
Advocates were then honored to hear from Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León about the significance of California and protection of our public lands. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher discussed the need to remove economic barriers to California’s coastline and why Assembly Bill 250 is so critical to that effort. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, this year’s Legacy Award honoree, shared the significance and importance of a park bond and what it means for all Californians.
Later in the morning, California Department of Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Mangat talked about the important partnerships between the government and park advocates, associations and operators. Myrian Solis Coronel, California State Park and Recreation Commissioner and REI, over lunch shared her story about the importance of being outdoors and connecting Californians from all backgrounds to the outdoors.
When park advocates had finished with their meetings with legislators, they joined together for an afternoon briefing on youth outdoors. Hosted by Rachel Norton, advocates heard from Outdoor Outreach and Sonoma Ecology Center staff and directly from youth leaders about the importance of transformative outdoor experiences, and how outdoor programs help them to grow into leaders
We ended the day with a reception celebrating our 15th Annual Park Advocacy Day and honoring CSPF’s 2017 Legacy Honoree, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. Each year, CSPF recognizes the efforts of policymakers who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the protection and enhancement of California’s state parks. Assemblymember Garcia has demonstrated a commitment to investing in local, regional, and state parks and has provided key leadership in strengthening and improving Californians’ connections to the outdoors and their state parks.
Thank you to all the advocates that joined us and used their voice for parks! If you would like to join us and make your voice heard, please sign up for our newsletters to find out the next time you can use your voice to enhance, protect and advocate for California’s 280 state parks.
For more information on Park Advocacy Day or how you join us next year, please contact our Sacramento office at (916) 442-2119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speakers clockwise from top left: Norton with Senate President pro Tempore de León, Senate President pro Tempore de León, Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher, Solis Coronel, Assemblymember Garcia, Mangat