First-ever: Select Committee on State Parks | Cal Parks
Published: September 8, 2023


On August 30, the Select Committee on State Parks met for the very first time. The committee, chaired by Assembly Majority Leader Emeritus Eloise Gómez Reyes, kicked off the hearing sharing why California’s state parks are important to them personally, access for all Californians, and preserving parks for future generations. 

The committee's formation underscores the growing recognition of the vital role that state parks play in health opportunities, climate resilience, providing recreational opportunities, and ensuring the conservation of natural resources for future generations. 


What is a select committee? 

The California Legislature has a broad array of issues to deal with and one way to vet ideas and hash out strategies is through select committees. Select committees are small legislative bodies appointed for a special purpose. They offer a focused platform for exploring emerging or complex subjects, allowing legislators to delve into intricate issues and provide specialized insights that can influence subsequent legislative actions and policy decisions. 

The Select Committee was formed by Assembly Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon in early 2023 at the request of Assembly Member Eloise Gómez Reyes, who has shared that maintaining State Parks and promoting access to the outdoors is a passion of hers Assemblymember Reyes told California State Parks Foundation that she and her colleagues wanted to learn more about the state park system, tour sites to understand the system’s features and challenges, and identify ways to expand park access to all Californians. 


Who is a part of this new committee? 

The committee as of August 2023 includes: 

  • Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (Chair) 
  • Assemblymember Dawn Addis 
  • Assemblymember Juan Alanis 
  • Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan 
  • Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes 
  • Assemblymember Diane Dixon 
  • Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia 
  • Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson 
  • Assemblymember Gregg Hart 
  • Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen 
  • Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva 


What did the first meeting cover? 

The first meeting focused on the issue of achieving park equity. While California state parks are public spaces, many people cannot access or experience them. Barriers to park access include lack of transportation, cost of visiting, lack of awareness of parks or the activities they offer, closures, and more. Though we are working to reduce these barriers, this is just the beginning of the effort to ensure that every Californian feels welcome in and can enjoy state parks. 

Select Committee on State Parks Panelists included: 

  • Armando M. Quintero, Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation 
  • Rachel Norton, Executive Director of the California State Parks Foundation 
  • Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President & CEO of Parks California 
  • Sonia Díaz, Public Policy Manager for Outdoor Outreach 
  • Srishti Surana, Student Advocate 




What is next for the committee? 

Committee Chair Eloise Gómez Reyes will set the next meeting and topic. Assemblymember Reyes is committed to maintaining our California state parks and promoting access to the beauty of California.  

To keep up with our advocacy work on behalf of parks at the Capitol, make sure to follow California State Parks Foundation on Facebook, or Instagram and X/Twitter (@calparks).