If you live in California, or will be there the week of June 14–18, it’s time to start making plans to attend a new kind of event.
California State Parks Week will “celebrate California’s 279 state parks and the people who visit and help protect these iconic places,” according to California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, Parks California, and the California State Parks Foundation, who are working collaboratively to organize and host events and activities.
“State Parks is excited to welcome the first-ever California State Parks Week, which celebrates the oldest state park system in the nation,” Armando Quintero, director of California State Parks, said in a statement. “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.”
Quintero went on to add, “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 the National Park Service’s National Park Week held each year in April. It also helps advance California’s “Outdoor Access For All” initiative, as well as the new “California Outdoors For All” initiative intending to expand “outdoor access to all Californians through focused investments in open space infrastructure and outdoor programming, with a priority of expanding access in underserved communities.”
The Need For California State Parks Week
The 279 state parks across California protect the state’s natural and cultural history, along with more than 340 miles of coastline, groves of majestic redwoods, deserts, lakes, rivers, beaches, and more forests. Park visitors can also discover more than 5,200 miles of trails and 15,000 campsites, as well as prehistoric and historic archeological sites, ghost towns, and historic homes and monuments.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 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,” Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, said. “It’s inspiring to see how the California 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 Week Events
“Parks have been there for us in so many ways,” Rachel Norton, executive director of California State Parks Foundation, said. “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.”
Here are the themes.
Land Acknowledgement Day
“On Land Acknowledgement Day, we will elevate, honor, and celebrate the Indigenous voices and stories that are rooted in traditional Native lands,” according to the organizers.
You can learn more about the featured event, “Honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the North Coast,” a Facebook Live presentation, here.
You can learn more about all of the Land Acknowledgement Day events here.
Kids Career Day
Kids Career Day is organized for kids and their families to learn more about all of the jobs and possible career paths in park management.
You can learn more about the featured event, “My Fun Future in the Outdoors!” at Cardiff (Seaside) State Beach in San Diego here.
You can learn more about all of the Kids Career Day events here.
Health And Wellness Day
Spending time outdoors has been proven to be important to health and overall well-being.
You can learn more about the featured event, “Guided Lava Bluffs Trail Hike,” at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, here.
You can learn more about all of the Health and Wellness Day events here.
Stewardship Day offers opportunities to learn more about all of the land and habitat management activities used to protect the plants and animals in California state parks, as well as how volunteers can get involved.
You can learn more about the featured event, “Historic Sites Preservation Tours,” at Monterey State Historic Park, here.
You can learn more about all of the Stewardship Day events here.
Partnership Day/Volunteer Day
Partnership Day/Volunteer Day offers opportunities to learn about the businesses, non-profit groups, and other partners who have important roles as stewards in the California State Park System. Visitors can also learn how they can get involved.
You can learn more about the featured event, “Science Day and StoryWalk,” at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, here.
You can learn more about all of the Partnership Day/Volunteer Day events here.
Know Before You Recreate
If you plan to attend California State Parks Week activities and events, keep in mind that California State Parks asks all visitors to “recreate responsibly” since the COVID-19 pandemic continues. First, be sure to check the status of the parks you may want to visit to learn about any restrictions and guidelines. Secondly, be sure to also have a back-up plan in case the park you want to visit is crowded when you arrive.
You can find more guidelines for attending California State Parks Week events here.
You can learn more about California State Parks Week here.
While you’re thinking about state parks, be sure to check out all of our Outdoor Activities content, including: