Making Anderson Marsh State Historic Park More Accessible to Older Adults and Residents with Disabilities
Grantee Spotlight: Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association, 2022 State Park Improvement Grant Round
About the partner
Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association (AMIA) serves the public of Lake County, one of the most low-income communities in California. Additionally, Lake County has a high percentage of older adults, seniors, and residents living with disabilities, which led to the Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association creating a program specifically for this population. AMIA is an all-volunteer nonprofit association that has a contract with California State Parks to support educational, interpretive, and other programs at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. The park is located at the southeast corner of Clear Lake, the largest natural lake wholly within the borders of California. There are hiking trails that allow visitors to experience several protected habitats within the park, including freshwater marsh, oak woodland, grasslands, and riparian woodland.
Creating impact through partnership
Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association has created “Senior Days at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park,” a pilot program in which they have partnered with senior centers in Lake County to offer transportation at no cost to attend events at the park. Some of the events include presentations on native wildlife, the geology of Lake County, and the history of Indigenous peoples at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, just to name a few. Each event includes two interpretive programs and a free picnic lunch. The goal of the program is to create enjoyable experiences that will allow participants to develop a long-standing connection with the park.
The Highlands Senior Service Center is eager to partner with AMIA, stating, “This relationship will help promote activities, education, and community awareness about our state park to our senior and disabled community. This [partnership gives] them the opportunity to venture into a world they are unable to [easily] access.”
California State Parks Foundation is making this program a reality by providing $10,000 to AMIA to fund this pilot program for their 2023 events.
The benefit for parks
The “Senior Days at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park” program is unique in the audience they were hoping to reach and bring to the park. Seniors who may have limited or fixed incomes, and are unsure of what to do at the park once there, or who may not have transportation to get to the park, now have a program that addresses these specific needs and offers them a meaningful experience to connect and learn about Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. People can make connections to where they live by learning about history, geology, and wildlife. By spending time in parks relaxing and connecting with your peers, it helps people understand the value of parks.
California State Parks Foundation is looking to our partners for innovative programs to create meaningful experiences for all park visitors, which is why we are proud to support this important work of connecting seniors to their state parks.