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First annual California State Parks Week is June 14-18 

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Parks across the Golden State will celebrate the first annual California State Parks Week on June 14-18, 2022, with special community events, in-person, and virtual programming.

California State Parks Week - McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County, Calif.
Photos courtesy of California State Parks Week

Presented by California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, Parks California, and the California State Parks Foundation, this inaugural event showcases California’s 279 state parks and honors 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.”

Why is California State Parks Week important?

California State Parks Week - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Canyon State Park in Kern County, Calif.

Modeled after National Park Week, the California event was designed to advance the “Outdoor Access For All” initiative and the recently-launched “California Outdoors For All” initiative that expands outdoor access to all Californians with a priority on access for underserved communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges, but it also reinforced the importance of spending time outdoors to our physical and mental well-being. As a result, parks across the U.S. experienced increased visitation in 2020-2021, and the weeklong event highlights the vital role parks play across the state.

“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 Save the Redwoods League President and CEO Sam Hodder. “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 Week -
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Monterey County, Calif.

California’s 279 state parks encompass more than 340 miles of coastline; the tallest, largest, and among the oldest trees in the world; and deserts, lakes, rivers, and beaches. There are also more than 5,200 miles of trails, 15,000 campsites, prehistoric and historic archeological sites, ghost towns, historic homes, and monuments.

“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.

California State Parks Week Themed Days

June 14, 2022 – Land Acknowledgement Day

California State Parks Week - Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park in Lancaster, Calif.

Land Acknowledgement Day will offer events that elevate, honor, and celebrate Indigenous voices and stories rooted in traditional Native lands. During an online “Honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the North Coast” presentation, California State Parks’ North Coast Redwoods District interpreters and tribal members will share the importance of honoring Indigenous peoples who have lived on the North Coast (program available online via Facebook Live at 10 a.m. PT).

Click here to view all Land Acknowledgement Day events.

June 15, 2022 – Kids Career Day

California State Parks Weeks - Kids Career Day

Kids and families are invited to explore the important jobs that help keep parks healthy and running, including “My Fun Future in the Outdoors!” from 9-11 a.m. PT at Cardiff (Seaside) State Beach in San Diego, when park employees will share their favorite reasons for working in the parks program (available online via Facebook Live).

Click here to view all Kids Career Day events.

June 16, 2022 –  Health and Wellness Day

California State Parks Week - Los Lobos State Natural Reserve
Los Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, Calif.

Whether a park enthusiast or first-time visitor, spending time outdoors is vital to health and well-being. On Health and Wellness days, guests are invited to explore the outdoors and learn about organizations, events, and activities that inspire them, including free morning Tai Chi at 7:30 a.m. PT at Huntington State Beach in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Click here to view all Health and Wellness Day events.

June 17, 2022 – Stewardship Day

Grover Hot Springs State Park in Markleeville, Calif.

Parks safeguard a diverse plant and animal life, but these ecosystems are not immune to the impacts of climate change. Stewardship Day will provide programs and activities that help parks resist environmental threats, present ways to protect and steward parks, and recommend actions to combat climate change. One Stewardship Day event is “Weeding for Biodiversity” where visitors to Mount Diablo State Park in Danville, Calif. are invited to work with the park’s biologist to remove harmful invasive plants.

Click here to view all Stewardship Day events.

June 18, 2022 – Partnership Day/Volunteer Day

California State Parks Week - Volunteer Day

Learn how to become a volunteer during California State Parks Week and year-round, and thank those who have generously and passionately contributed so much time and energy to the most extensive and diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation. Volunteer opportunities include a “Thank You, Volunteers” Public Walk at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego and “Pudding Creek Beach Clean Up” at MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg, Calif.

Click here to view all Partnership/Volunteer Day events.

“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, and there is so much to celebrate! The themes for each day bring all those contributions into focus,” said California State Parks Foundation Executive Director Rachel Norton.

Click here for a complete list of California State Parks Week activities and events.

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