Sacramento, CA–The first annual California State Parks Week will kick off this June throughout the state, officials said.
The public is invited to celebrate the first annual California State Parks Week, June 14 to 18, presented by California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, Parks California, and the California State Parks Foundation.
Through special community events and in-person and virtual programming, the inaugural event celebrates California’s 279 state parks and the people who visit and help protect these iconic places.
“State Parks is excited to welcome the first-ever California State Parks Week, which celebrates the oldest state park system in the nation,” said Armando Quintero, director of California State Parks. “California’s state parks are as unique and diverse as the state itself. They help preserve and protect the state’s natural and cultural history for generations to come. I hope this week gives everyone a chance to visit the outdoors, enjoy its beauty and find their own connection with California’s great outdoors.”
California State Parks Week is modeled after National Park Week, and it helps advance the “Outdoor Access For All” initiative championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, as well as the recently launched “California Outdoors For All” initiative. This initiative expands outdoor access to all Californians through focused investments in open space infrastructure and outdoor programming, with a priority on expanding access in underserved communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges to California’s communities, but it also illuminated the important connection of the outdoors to our physical and mental well-being. Parks across the U.S. experienced increased visitation in 2020-21, and California State Parks Week underscores the important role parks play in communities statewide.
“As we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, we are excited to celebrate California’s resilience and expand access to so many joyful experiences and benefits of nature through California State Parks Week,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “It is inspiring to see how California’s state park system has grown over generations. The parks encompass not only the state’s most iconic landscapes, but also the diversity of our people, cultural experiences, and moments of joy to be found along thousands of miles of trails.”
California State Parks protects the best of the state’s natural and cultural history; more than 340 miles of coastline; the tallest, largest, and among the oldest trees in the world; and deserts, lakes, rivers, and beaches. Across 279 parks statewide there are more than 5,200 miles of trails, 15,000 campsites, prehistoric and historic archeological sites, ghost towns, historic homes, and monuments — all waiting to be explored.
“California State Parks Week is a fun and inclusive way to celebrate the wonder and sense of community that the outdoors provides to the people of California and visitors from all over the world,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, president, and CEO of Parks California.
“Parks have been there for us in so many ways. As we recognize the partners, volunteers, state parks staff, and many others who make California’s state park system the gem it is today, there is so much to celebrate! The themes for each day bring all those contributions into focus,” said Rachel Norton, executive director of California State Parks Foundation.
California State Parks reminds visitors to recreate responsibly as COVID-19 is still present. Prior to leaving home, visitors are asked to check the status of the park units they want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Having a backup plan in case the destination is crowded is recommended.
For additional guidelines and safety tips, visit parks.ca.gov/COVID19. A complete list of the week’s events and how to participate are available at CAStateParksWeek.org.