There’s still time to fight for park spending!
On June 30, 2022, Governor Newsom signed a $308 billion budget for this upcoming fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. His signature represents finality from the six months of negotiations between the California Legislature and the governor to enact the largest state budget in the United States.
For state parks, the final budget mirrors the governor’s proposed January budget with a few key differences. The total budget approved to support the California Department of Parks and Recreation is $766 million. The approved budget includes the following expenditures related to California State Parks Foundation priorities:
$50 million to improve park experiences and equitable access for infrastructure projects.
$25 million to honor history and culture with art installations in parks that tell the story of Californian’s valuable cultural and historical heritage and resources.
$18 million to improve park experiences and increase park funding with capital outlay projects, including the construction of La Sage Bridge Replacement at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, Low-Cost Accommodations at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, an Entrance Kiosk at Pismo State Beach, and a Water Treatment System at MacKerricher State Park.
$15.6 million for cost-sharing with the federal government to build climate-resilient parks by stopping beach erosion.
$9.8 million to honor the history and culture of California’s indigenous people with land acknowledgements and exhibit improvements.
Above and beyond the budget priorities the governor identified in January, the historic $98 billion surplus allowed for additional investments in the final budget, including $13.5 million to expand the number of passes provided through the California State Library Parks Pass Program. For more information on California State Parks Foundation and the Department of Parks and Recreation’s work on this program, check out this blog post.
Further, $40 million was approved for a new visitor center at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park to provide better programming and educational opportunities that will enhance and further understanding and celebration of the historic site.
Unfortunately, the final state budget did not provide:
Additional investments in grants to increase access for Californians from park-poor communities and those with lower incomes to participate in outdoor environmental education experiences.
Funding for deferred maintenance in state parks.
However, the governor and the State Legislature still need to further define how nearly $1 billion in conservation funding will be used. This negotiation is happening this July and will likely conclude in mid-August.
California State Parks Foundation needs your help to urge elected officials to designate the conservation funding for deferred maintenance. Our state parks are not truly conserved if the infrastructure is failing. Please email your elected official today using our action alert.