Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California’s State Park System

Report #215, March 2013


In this report, the Commission calls for a new vision to restore California’s State Parks to excellence. 

During its review, the Commission found that the California Department of Parks and Recreation needs a new operating model to thrive, and to protect and preserve the state’s natural and cultural treasures. The department’s model should be built around shared management, innovation, greater transparency and the expectation that it generate more revenue from its operations.

The Commission recommends the department assess all of its state parks to determine which have clear statewide significance and which parks serve primarily local or regional populations. Those parks determined to serve primarily local or regional needs should be realigned. This analysis should look beyond parks, to include the system’s cultural and historic assets as well. The Commission also identifies several chronic conditions that will threaten the state parks system if left unchecked.