SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 2, 2019 – On October 2, 1969, Director of California State Parks, William Penn Mott, Jr., rallied a core group of friends and park supporters to form California State Parks Foundation. From October 2, 2019 through October 2, 2020, California State Parks Foundation will be celebrating 50 years of  dedication to California’s parklands. We’ve enriched the quality of life for Californians by expanding access to the beauty, culture, history, and educational and health opportunities offered by  state parks. In 50 years, the organization has built a dedicated community of over 70,000 members and raised more than $285 million to benefit state parks.

From the beginning, California State Parks Foundation was primarily purchasing and holding new parklands, creating the system we see and enjoy today, saving our cultural and natural history, and preserving what it means to be Californian. The Foundation supported programming that connected people to parks, making sure that everyone can visit and feels welcome. When parks were threatened with closure and development, the Foundation was the voice for parks, keeping them open. As it looks to the future, one primary focus is on building the future stewards of the parks.

“In a changing California, it is imperative that we engage the future stewards in the beauty and benefits of parks, so we can ensure that parks thrive tomorrow and beyond,” said Rachel Norton, Executive Director, California State Parks Foundation. “Positive experiences in parks make our lives better, create a lasting love for these special places, and inspire protection and stewardship.”

As the needs of the times change for parks and people, California State Parks Foundation will be there to advocate, enhance and protect state parks. For the next 50 years the focus we be on access for all Californians to visit California state parks, ensuring adequate and sustainable funding for the state park system, and protecting these special places for future generations.

About California State Parks Foundation

California State Parks Foundation is an independent, member-supported nonprofit that mobilizes a diverse network of Californians to be active champions for our state parks. At California State Parks Foundation, we believe that all Californians are essential to sustaining our state parks. Every day, we inform and inspire current and future generations of park champions, enabling them to be the passionate advocates our state parks need. Because when we build a movement of park supporters, we ensure the long-term sustainability of our incredible state park treasures. Learn more at, or find California State Parks Foundation on Facebook, or Instagram and Twitter (@calparks).