Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 5 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 94. )

CHAPTER 1. State Parks and Monuments [5001 - 5077.8]

  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 94. )

ARTICLE 1.8. California State Park Stewardship Act of 2012 [5019.90 - 5019.92]
  ( Article 1.8 added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 533, Sec. 1. )


This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the California State Park Stewardship Act of 2012.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 533, Sec. 1. (AB 1589) Effective January 1, 2013.)


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) California’s state parks are an essential part of California’s unique heritage, and protect important natural, cultural, and historical resources of great value to all Californians.

(b) The mission of the California State Park system is to provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. State parks are set aside to protect their natural, historical, cultural, and recreational values in perpetuity for the people of the state.

(c) California state parks are vital to the quality of life in California and are a major draw for tourism in the state, generating billions of dollars in annual economic activity in communities near state parks and in park-related expenditures. The economic activity generated by state parks helps sustain small businesses and jobs in local communities near state parks and generates significant tax revenue for the state.

(d) The budget for state parks has not kept pace with population growth and growing demand. The annual budget for state parks has been significantly below the amount necessary to maintain state parks in their current condition. State General Fund revenue for state parks declined by over 37 percent between fiscal years 2007–08 and 2012–13, inclusive. The ongoing shortfall has resulted in a deferred maintenance backlog of over one billion three hundred million dollars ($1,300,000,000) by 2010, inadequate staff to protect park resources and maintain public access and safety, and partial closures of many state parks. The state park system cannot sustain further cuts in funding and remain viable.

(e) After additional budget cuts were proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature in the 2011–12 fiscal year, the Governor’s administration announced its intent to close up to 70 state parks by July 2012.

(f) It is imperative that the state commit to a long-term goal of adequately and sustainably funding and maintaining California’s state park system to protect these irreplaceable resources and to preserve California’s legacy for the benefit of all Californians. To this end, it is necessary that the state identify new revenue strategies that will move the state toward that goal, and affirm a state policy that park closures are to occur only as a last resort, and only after all reasonable alternatives have been pursued.

(g) To fully realize the potential of nonprofit, philanthropic, and other public and nongovernmental partnerships that can help sustain a world class state park system in California, it is imperative that the Legislature and the Governor ensure an adequate level of state funding for state parks is maintained in the future and that new revenues received from private sector donors are used to supplement, and not to supplant, existing state funding.

(h) It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that a master plan for state parks be formed that will do all of the following:

(1) Ensure long-term adequate funding and maintenance of California’s state park system by, among other things, ensuring accurate and transparent accounting and disclosure of all state special funds available for support of state parks, identifying new revenues and fundraising strategies to sustain state parks, and ensuring that those new sources are not used to supplant existing state support for state parks or to justify further reductions in General Fund support that would leave the park system unsustainable.

(2) Ensure that any new revenues received from private donors for the support of state parks are used to supplement, and not to supplant, existing state funding for state parks and are used only for the purposes for which they are given.

(3) Ensure greater efficiency in the management of state parks, including enhancing the collection of existing fees and other revenue generating potential at state parks, while maintaining public access for all Californians.

(4) Minimize the number of parks subject to closure in future years and encourage creative partnerships to assist the state with park operations and management.

(i) It is further the policy of the Legislature to promote formation of a multidisciplinary advisory council, including, but not limited to, members of the public, persons with park management expertise, representatives of nonprofit park organizations, and representatives of the private philanthropic community, to conduct an independent assessment and make recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor on future management, planning, and funding proposals that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the state park system.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 533, Sec. 1. (AB 1589) Effective January 1, 2013.)


(a) The department shall develop a prioritized action plan to increase revenues and collection of user fees at state parks. The plan shall include strategies for generating new revenues and fee collection methodologies at state parks and may include, but is not necessarily limited to, all of the following:

(1) Installation of modern fee collection technologies and equipment at state parks such as kiosks that accept credit cards and automatic entrance gates, where appropriate.

(2) Implementation of peak demand pricing at popular campgrounds and other high-demand park facilities.

(3) Assessment of appropriate fees at all state park units.

(4) Offering of additional mission-appropriate fee-for-service amenities with revenue generating potential at select parks where consistent with park unit general plans. Those amenities may include, but are not limited to, installation of additional recreational vehicle spaces to expand campground capacity at heavily used parks where natural resource needs and space availability allow, installation of upgraded overnight options such as cabins, where feasible, and rental of park facilities for special events.

(5) Promotion and marketing of an “adopt a park” or systemwide state park sponsorship program to encourage private donations in support of state parks, with appropriate recognition to be given to donors consistent with state park policies and mission.

(6) Design, promotion, and marketing of a new state park annual access pass system with incentives to encourage increased voluntary purchases of state park access passes, including, but not necessarily limited to, all of the following:

(A) Offering of different regional and seasonal options for annual passes.

(B) Providing multiple opportunities for the purchase of annual passes, including at state park entrances and through partnerships with retail outlets, and on state tax returns.

(C) Offering of incentives such as free midweek off-peak season camping passes with the purchase of an annual pass if purchased during the first three months of the year.

(D) Offering of opportunities for purchasers to make a voluntary additional contribution that would be dedicated to support of a particular category of state parks, such as the state’s iconic redwood parks and historical parks that require funding over and above that generated by user fees to sustain the parks in good condition.

(b) The department shall report to the Legislature and the Governor on the prioritized action plan required to be developed pursuant to subdivision (a) by July 1, 2013.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 533, Sec. 1. (AB 1589) Effective January 1, 2013.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC1.8.