Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed $222 billion budget for California for 2020-2021. We were pleased to see alignment with the goals California State Parks Foundation has for the upcoming year, namely our Pathways to Parks initiative with First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The governor’s budget reflects his commitment to accessible open spaces by incorporating AB209, a bill we advocated for much of last year, into the budget. This bill, sponsored by Monique Limón, prioritizes youth access in state parks. In addition to park access, there are several other highlights we were excited to see proposed in the new budget.
$20 million to create a new state park
“While we don’t know for certain where this new park will be, we do know that increasing access to green space, both new and existing, is a positive for any community – parks are so much more than their beauty, they are also a valuable health and wellness resource that every Californian, regardless of zip code or income, should have access to. Wherever the park ends up, we can confidently say that coupled with the rest of the Governor’s ‘Parks for All’ plan, it’s a step in the right direction to ensure that access to parklands is a human right for all Californians.” – Rachel Norton, Executive Director, California State Parks Foundation.
$4.6 million in holdings to expand parks
We’re so pleased to see the Governor and his administration shifting the way they approach park policies by including access to parks, specifically expanding existing parks, as part of the equation.
$8.7 million to improve urban facilities
This includes $2.6 million for Candlestick Point design, $4.9 million for NPO (Nonprofit Operator) deferred maintenance, $538k for Old Sacramento riverfront improvements, and $650k for capital outlay scoping.
$20 million in Outdoor Equity Grants to increase access for underserved at-risk populations through AB209
“We must continue to push and engage in programs and policies that will increase outdoor experiences, especially for our youth, which the critical parks access bills introduced this legislative session began to do,” - Holly Martinez, Director of Programs and Advocacy, California State Parks Foundation.
“Continuing this conversation and creating new pathways to California’s state parks will help those within arm’s reach of open space begin to experience the proven health and wellness benefits they provide so we can build a healthier, stronger state now and for generations to come.”
$11.8 million enhancing access projects
This includes $8.3 million in native plant restoration, $572k for Allensworth State Historic Park visitor center design, and $2.9 million for K-12 access through PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) and summer learning programs.
There will be 19 new interpreter positions for K-12 students in support of the PORTS program.
California State Parks Foundation is thrilled for the focus on access for all to California state parks in this proposed budget. We will continue to track and provide updates on the bills we are tracking (Park Access, Park Protection, and Park Funding), so be sure to follow our social media channels (@calparks on Instagram and Twitter) for the latest information.