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By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo:  Giant Sequoia redwood trees, by Yaya  Ernst, AdobeStock

November 17,2023 (Sacramento) -- Have you ever wanted to see the California redwoods, play in the Sierra snow, take a dip at the beach or just throw a family barbecue at the park? This week, the state just launched a new strategic plan to make it happen for more people.

California just launched the "Outdoors for All Strategy," which aims to make the state's natural spaces more accessible, more welcoming and less expensive.

Katherine Toy, deputy secretary for access at the California Natural Resources Agency, said giving more people the opportunity to spend time outdoors will benefit the entire state.

"We'll know we're successful when everyone can regularly experience the outdoors without financial burden," Toy explained. "While also feeling a sense of belonging and when outdoor spaces really celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of California."

The strategy maps out a six-point plan to reduce the nature gap by building more parks and green space, improving public transportation to natural areas, prioritizing the needs of local community members, building pathways to make the workforce at parks and their parent agencies more diverse. The program will guide agencies such as the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Water Resources and CalFire as they try to mitigate climate change and preserve 30% of the state's land by 2030.

Toy noted she is particularly proud of a program to help people get into state parks for free.

"California State Parks now has a partnership with libraries throughout the state in which people can check out a park pass just like they check out a library book," Toy emphasized. "That's one example of how our departments are working to reduce the barriers that connect people to the outdoors."

Toy added the vision is going to require resources and strong partnerships between all levels of government, the private sector and philanthropy.


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