Funding for Popular California State Parks Library Pass Restored

The California State Parks Foundation has announced the restoration of funding for the California State Library Parks Pass program. A joint budget deal will allocate $6.75 million to sustain the program through December 31, 2025.

“We commend the Legislature and Governor for reaching an agreement to restore full funding for this highly effective and popular program providing free access to California state parks,” said Rachel Norton, Executive Director of California State Parks Foundation. “The California State Library Parks Pass is critical to our state’s goal of a healthier, more equitable California for All.”

The California State Library Parks Pass program offers library card holders free vehicle day-use entry to over 200 participating state parks. Since its inception, 33,000 passes have been distributed to more than 1,100 public libraries, making them one of the most checked-out items.

Earlier this spring, funding for the program was cut in budget proposals. In response, the California State Parks Foundation mobilized grassroots advocates, resulting in over 5,000 emails sent to legislators. The Foundation also engaged directly with every member of the Legislature to emphasize the program’s significance and the need for funding restoration.

In addition to the Library Parks Pass, the state will continue the California State Park Adventure Pass, offering free access to 54 parks for fourth graders and their families for a year. The Golden Bear Pass program will also continue, providing free annual vehicle day-use passes to income-eligible families and individuals. Since its revamp in 2021, more than 63,000 families have received a Golden Bear Pass.

“Admission fees or parking charges can be financially burdensome for many residents, particularly those with lower incomes,” said Norton. “The cost of entry can deter people from experiencing the natural wonders within these parks, thereby excluding them from the numerous physical and mental health benefits, educational opportunities, and recreational activities that these spaces offer. These initiatives bridge this gap and should be a priority.”

A survey conducted by the California State Parks Foundation highlighted the program’s success:

  • 63% of respondents previously cited cost as the main barrier to visiting state parks.
  • 90% of respondents now plan to visit state parks over seven times a year.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents reported an income level of $60,000 or less.
  • Over 63% of respondents identified as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).

The restoration of funding ensures continued access to California’s state parks, promoting inclusivity and equity for all residents.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California
Back to top button