Parks California – It’s in our nature Donate

Access to Parks

Photo: Patricks Point State Park

At Parks California, we believe all people deserve park access, and the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural diversity that our state has to offer. As the statutory partner to California State Parks, our team is committed to increasing these opportunities in rural and urban parks – encouraging visitors to create lifelong relationships with nature.

To help close the park access gap, Parks California makes smart investments to raise public awareness and enhance visitor experiences by addressing barriers that keep many from exploring and appreciating state parks and public lands. This unique approach is part of Parks California’s engagement theory, which helps visitors develop ongoing and deeper relationships with parks. The result: a new generation of park stewards who support a thriving, more resilient California State Park System in a truly meaningful way.

Parks California works to increase park access for all in several different ways.

Digital Access to State Parks

Not every school can offer educational trips to California’s extraordinary park system. California State Parks’ PORTS: Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students ® provides K-12 classroom free, direct digital entry to the state’s 280 parks through live, interactive video-conferencing.

We are supporting PORTS, now in its 17th year, to ensure every school district has the opportunity to digitally connect with parks across the state. To date, Parks California has provided technology equipment allowing the program to more than double the number of parks to run live, interactive video-conferencing.

Lastly, school field trips (when they are safe to resume) to California State Parks are being reimagined thanks to a new partnership between California State Parks – PORTS, Parks California and Computer Using Educators (CUE). Together they are launching passPORTS – a blended access approach that combines quality teaching practices with the latest technology to create more accessible parks.

If you would like to support PORTS please click here.

Route to Parks

Through the Route to Parks Grants, we aim to improve park access to underrepresented communities so they can create authentic connections with nature. While we understand that addressing the transportation barrier to park access is multifaceted, this initiative intends to support programs that address this barrier with longstanding solutions that are replaceable and can measure impact.

Learn about the 2021 Route to Parks grantees and their approach to connecting communities to state parks

Raising Awareness

Parks California makes strategic investments in marketing, communications, and technology to raise public awareness of state parks and create more compelling visitor experiences for everyone.

By offering all visitors an inclusive, genuine experience, we’re building park greater access, as well as the next generation of environmental stewards. Our younger, more diverse visitors need to feel seen and heard so that they want to become passionate advocates for the future of state parks – and we are committed to making that happen.

Your donation helps us hit all of these touch points to increase equitable access to our parks through:

  • School field trips and immersive digital access to parks
  • Transportation for underserved communities to visit parks
  • Developing culturally relevant programming in parks for all people
  • Outdoor leadership training and workforce development
  • Increasing park access with low-cost accommodations near public lands

Download a one-sheet about the PORTS program here.

Download a one-sheet about the Access program here.