AB-2534

May 7, 2018

The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations California State Assembly State Capitol, Room 2114 Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Assembly Bill 2534 (Limόn) — SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher,

Thank you for your leadership in connecting more Californians to the outdoors and their state parks. Your leadership is critical to ensuring park access for all Californians. On behalf of our collective organizations, we urge you to support Assembly Bill (AB) 2534.

As you know, unfortunately not all Californians who reflect the diversity of the state are experiencing and visiting state parks. This is especially true of the younger generations who are spending more and more time indoors. At a national level, children are spending less time outside than prison inmates, with the average child playing freely outside for just four to seven minutes a day, according to the recent report The Path Ahead. Additional research shows that children are spending half as much time outside today as they did 20 years ago. Couple that with the fact that 40% of U.S. School Districts have eliminated recess, and outdoor education programs and field trips have declined significantly over the years.

With Assembly Bill 2534 establishing the Outdoor Equity Grants Program, more students will have the opportunity to access the beauty and benefits our state parks have to offer. This bill will increase the ability of low-income students to participate in outdoor environmental education programs, which will provide for enriched, meaningful experiences outdoors. AB 2534 works to give more youth the opportunity for these transformative experiences, fostering the future generation of empowered park stewards among today’s youth.

For the above reasons, we are proud to support AB 2534 and urge your support.

Read full text of Assembly Bill 2534

Sincerely,

Rachel Norton Executive Director California State Parks Foundation

Eric Aaholm Executive Director YES Nature to Neighborhoods

Laura Albers Executive Director Central Coast State Parks Association

Pilar Alcivar-McCoy Legislative Chair California Park & Recreation Society

Steve Barker Founder Wild Places

Elizabeth Cameron Director of Development Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association

Marissa Christiansen Executive Director Friends of the Los Angeles River

Laura R. Cohen, J.D. Director, Western Region Rails to Trails Conservancy

Gina Fromer Chief Executive Officer San Francisco Education Fund

Mary Alice Escarsega-Fechner Executive Director California Association of Local Conservation Corps

Kenji Haroutunian Director California Outdoor Recreation Partners

Jenny Heckeroth Executive Director Mendocino Area Parks Association

Brenda Holmes Executive Director Mountain Parks Foundation

Amy Lethbridge Executive Director Community Nature Connection

Michele Luna Executive Director Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

Andrea Mackenzie General Manager Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Rue Mapp Founder and CEO OutDoor Afro

Rico Mastrodonato Senior Government Relations Manager Trust for Public Land

Matthew McClain Executive Director Mammoth Lakes Recreation

Ben McCue Executive Director Outdoor Outreach

Geoff McQuilkin Executive Director Mono Lake Committee

Russell W. Noack Legislative Advocate California Association of Recreation and Park Districts

Cailin O’Brien-Feeney State and Local Policy Manager Outdoor Industry Association

Kathryn Phillips Director Sierra Club California

David Polivy Owner Tahoe Mountain Sports

Mary Roscoe Children in Nature Collaborative

Daniel Rossman California Deputy Director The Wilderness Society

Jennifer Savage California Policy Manager Surfrider Foundation

Theresa L. Simsiman California Stewardship Director American Whitewater

Ron Sundergill Senior Director – Pacific Region Office National Parks Conservation Association

Kevin Tatsugawa, PhD Wilderness Leadership Program Coordinator Westfield State University, Movement Science Sport & Leisure Studies

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