SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – California students in the 4th grade can begin applying for a free pass granting access to nearly 20 California State Parks facilities for them and their families for a year, under a new state program.
The passes are being offered after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation earlier this year establishing a three-year pilot program for the passes and $5.6 million in funding.
First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said in a statement, "The California State Park Adventure Pass is an incredible new program that will help promote a healthier, more equitable California for all—a California where every child has the opportunity to explore, learn and benefit from our state's natural wonders."
Parks officials said on social media that the program mirrors the "Every Kid Outdoors" program, where 4th graders and their families can obtain free access to all national parks for a year. Officials explained that offering the passes to 4th graders compliments the curriculum at that grade level.
"The curriculum being taught in 4th grade on the subjects of history, natural, and social sciences makes providing 4th graders with free state park access a great supplement to the lessons being taught to them in school," officials said. "Additionally, 4th grade is a unique time in a child's development where they begin to better understand how the world around them works in concrete ways and they are more receptive to engaging with nature and the environment."
The 19 state parks facilities offering free access are spread out across the state and include beaches, hiking trails and museums.
Parks in and around the Bay Area accepting the free pass include Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Lagunitas, Hollister State Vehicular Recreation Area, Seacliff State Beach in Santa Cruz and Clear Lake State Park near Kelseyville. A full list can be found here.
State officials are also launching a State Library Park Pass Program where library patrons can check out free day-use access to state parks. Additional information about this program is expected later this fall.
for more features.