May 7, 2018
The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher California State Assembly State Capitol, Room 2114 Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Assembly Bill 2614 (Carrillo) – SUPPORT
Dear Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher,
Thank you for your leadership in connecting more California to the outdoors and their state parks. Your leadership is critical to ensuring park access for all Californians. On behalf of our organizations, we urge you to support Assembly Bill (AB) 2614.
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.
AB 2614 represents one of the many pathways to parks for California’s youth. California is home to some of the most unique and world-famous natural resources and state and national parks that draw thousands of tourists annually. Yet many California residents have not
experienced these treasures in their own state. For many families, particularly those of modest economic means, lack of reliable transportation and lack of knowledge about programs and services that are available at parks and open spaces are overwhelming barriers. AB 2614 is an important step to identifying transportation opportunities to begin to address these barriers.
We support efforts in California to increase youth access to outdoor experiences by connecting schools, community organizations, outdoor recreation providers, and park and land managers as a critical step toward establishing a sustainable network for equitable outdoor access. We support the efforts in AB 2614 to develop better information about the ways that schools and school districts are connecting with organizations and entities to bring youth outdoors. We also strongly support the creation of a statewide grant program that will assist with transportation and access costs.
Outdoor experiences provide a number of positive outcomes and benefits. Park experiences are essential for health, happiness and quality of life and by ensuring all youth the opportunity to experience parklands, we foster the next generation of empowered parks stewards who, in return, have an appreciation for the significant benefits of parks.
For the above reasons, we are proud to support AB 2614 and urge your support.
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
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