This month, Sacramento is abuzz as recently introduced legislation is referred to appropriate committees to be discussed and analyzed by elected officials. California State Parks Foundation has been hard at work identifying priority legislation, going through thousands of bills and focusing on those that support the protection and preservation of California state parks, for the benefit of all. In the legislature champions are stepping up to address the breadth of issues affecting state parks and we are excited to share them with you. Below is a list of our priority bills for the 2022 legislative session.
Creating a Trails Commission and on-going funding for trails by Assemblymember Steve Bennett of Ventura with Assembly Bill 1789.
Assemblymember Bennett seeks to creates an 8-person Trail Commission to promote policies for trails and investment opportunities to maximize the health, fitness, and social benefits of non-motorized trails. Additionally, this legislation asks for a one-time $75 million investment in trail infrastructure and a $15 million on-going investment to create, expand, and improve natural surface trails in the state. State parks manage more than 3000 miles of trails in California.
Giving Californians discounted admission to state parks on California Admission Day by Assemblymember Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova with Assembly Bill 2128.
Assemblymember Cooley wants to create a 50% discount upon entry to California State Parks on California Admission Day, which takes place every year on September 9. 60% of the state’s severely disadvantaged households live within a walk, bike ride, or drive from a California state park, according to a study produced by UCLA.
Protecting pollinators from harmful pesticide use at home by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan of Orinda with Assembly Bill 2146.
Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s legislation protects pollinators, like western monarchs, by banning five key neonicotinoid pesticides from use in most non-agricultural settings. In the 1980s, an estimated 4.5 million monarch butterflies migrated to the coast annually. But in both 2018 and 2019, volunteers counted under 30,000 monarchs — less than 1% of the population’s historic size. In a recent study of more than 200 samples of milkweed, the exclusive food of monarch caterpillars, 32% had lethal levels of neonaticide pesticides.
Preserving the traditional ecological knowledge of Native Americans for state land by Assemblymember Chris Ward of San Diego with Assembly Bill 2225.
Assemblymember Ward seeks to advance the policy of traditional ecological knowledge from Native American tribes by requiring the California Natural Resources Agency to conduct a listening tour and incorporate feedback from the listening tour into conservation and management of land owned by California State Parks.
Increasing equitable access to outdoor recreation opportunities for all Californians by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel of the San Fernando Valley with Assembly Bill 2346.
Assemblymember Gabriel wants to create the Equitable Access Grant Program. Existing state outdoor access grant programs are consistently and severely over-subscribed. In 2021, the Youth Community Access program received $65.2 million in funding requests, 5 times the amount the program could give out. This legislation will provide funding to local jurisdictions and nonprofits to implement programs that enhance parks access for all ages, extend outdoor education, and develop career pathways in the outdoors.
Requiring state agencies to prioritize long-term solutions for conservation restoration projects by Assemblymember Wood of Santa Rosa with Assembly Bill 2479.
Assemblymember Wood’s legislation requires all state agencies funding restoration efforts on natural and working lands to prioritize restoration projects with permanent measures to ensure they are sustainably managed. California is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ecologically restore land, including our state parks, through California’s landmark commitment to preserve 30% of land and water by 2030.
Giving California more tools to ensure oil facilities are prepared in the unfortunate case of an oil spills by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris of Laguna Beach with Assembly Bill 2609.
Beaches in Orange County were devastated in October 2021 by a 126,000-gallon oil spill from a broken pipeline that created a 13-mile-long oil slick. Current federal law requires oil facilities to prepare a plan for how they will respond in the event of an oil spill. Assemblymember Petrie-Norris wants our State Land Commission to receive this plan and hold public comments to ensure Californians have a seat at the table.
Continuing the important work of the sea level planning database by Senator John Laird of Santa Cruz with Senate Bill 867.
The Planning for Sea Level Rise Database describes steps being taken throughout the state to prepare for, and adapt to, sea level rise. Senator Laird extends the database’s use until 2028. For our cherished state parks, modeling indicates that 5 feet of sea level rise and a 100-year storm would result in the inundation of 593 structures, 150 acres of parking lots, 93 campgrounds and day-use areas, and 65 miles of access roads.
In March and April, this legislation will be debated and voted on in policy committees. California State Parks Foundation will educate officials on the importance of the policy changes proposed by these legislative measures. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @calparks to get updates on this legislation.