California Legislators Champion Policies to Boost Outdoor Access and Climate-Resilient State Parks | Cal Parks
Published: April 24, 2024

Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (D – Santa Cruz), Assembly Majority Leader Emerita Eloise Gomez Reyes (D – San Bernardino), and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon (D – Los Angeles) have introduced a slate of bills focused on bolstering climate resilience in California’s iconic state parks and expanding equitable outdoor access for all:  

AB 2440 (Reyes):

Highlights the key role of California State Parks in helping California reach its goals of conserving 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030 and requires the Natural Resources Agency to report on progress towards ensuring equitable outdoor access for all in the annual 30x30 report.  

AB 2103 (Pellerin):

Helps to accelerate the recovery and expansion of the historic state parks most heavily impacted by the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex wildfires – Big Basin Redwoods, Año Nuevo, and Butano State Parks. 

AB 2285 (Rendon):

Codifies the goals of the Outdoors for All Initiative and encourages investment in ecological restoration and outdoor access opportunities in urban communities.  

These bills highlight the key role that California’s iconic state parks play in combatting the climate crisis and helping California reach its ambitious climate goals, from conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 to ensuring equitable access to nature and achieving net carbon neutrality by 2045

“The California Department of Parks & Recreation contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation,” said Assembly Majority Leader Emerita Eloise Gómez Reyes. “AB 2440 would push the state to be more strategic on how it’s using public assets like State Parks in the 30x30 goal and hold the state accountable on equitable outdoor access. I am proud to be pushing sustainable and equitable park policy alongside my colleagues, Asm Pellerin and Speaker Emeritus Rendon.” 

“There will never be a solution to the climate crisis that’s as comprehensive and advanced as the tools that billions of years of evolution have already presented,” said Assemblymember Gail Pellerin. “Preservation of natural lands and species will always be key to our goals of storing carbon, purifying water, and maintaining our beautiful ecosystems for generations to come.” 

State parks not only protect California’s natural and cultural resources, but also its people. Severe heat waves, intensifying storms, poor air quality, and other extreme climate events are affecting Californians with increasing severity. By investing in urban parks and increasing access to green space and respite from these extreme events, California can equitably increase both community and climate resilience across the state. 

“California has committed to protecting and preserving our natural lands, but it’s critically important we’re not leaving our densely populated, underserved communities behind in our conservation efforts,” said Speaker Emeritus Rendon. “By encouraging California to prioritize greening and restoration of lands in heavily urbanized areas alongside our conservation efforts for natural and rural land, we can ensure we’re taking a comprehensive approach to environmental protection that will protect vulnerable communities and provide greater access to nature across California.”  

We are thrilled to be supporting these bills, and look forward to how this ground breaking legislation will support our findings in our first-of-its-kind climate report, which highlighting climate change's impact on state parks and the unique role that parks play in fighting this crisis. The report, “Building a Climate-Resilient California State Park System: Preserving Parks for Future Generations,” offers policy recommendations to both ensure the protection of state parks and maximize their contribution to the state’s climate efforts.  

"California State Parks are critical leaders in achieving the state's 30x30 and Outdoors for All goals,” says Rachel Norton, Executive Director of California State Parks Foundation. “Our parks cover the most beautiful and biodiverse lands in California, connect millions of people to the benefits of nature, and have the potential to bolster our state's climate resilience.” 

AB 2440 (Reyes) and AB 2103 (Pellerin) passed the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife committee on Tuesday and will join AB 2285 (Rendon) in the Assembly Appropriations committee.