Nearly $18 Million in Grant Funding Also Announced to Connect More Communities to Nature
LOS ANGELES—Overlooking the central city from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, state and local leaders gathered Wednesday to celebrate a new plan that will increase access to the outdoors for all Californians, regardless of who they are or where they live.
Called the “Outdoors for All Strategy,” the plan serves as a blueprint for how the state California Natural Resources Agency and communities will build a movement and further momentum on work already underway — while partnering with key communities across the state to track progress and support future actions that get more people outside and provide outdoor experiences. More specifically, the Outdoors for All Strategy lifts up six key priorities:
- Establishes spaces for people and nature to thrive by creating and maintaining more high-quality outdoor spaces of all shapes and sizes, especially in park-limited places;
- Fosters belonging in the outdoors through policies and programs that build a welcoming and inclusive culture;
- Connects people and the outdoors by improving information and transportation;
- Co-creates with communities through frequent and meaningful tribal consultation and community engagement, with attention to underserved communities;
- Builds equitable career pathways and a representative workforce by improving opportunities for all Californians to enter and sustain outdoor recreation, natural resources and restoration professions;
- Aligns funding to achieve Outdoors for All in partnership with federal, state and non-governmental entities.
Championed by Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and accelerated by Legislative investments and policies, the Outdoors for All Initiative emphasizes how state government can build on current efforts to cultivate an outdoor culture and workforce that reflects California’s diversity.
“California is one of the most beautiful places in the world and our connection to nature and outdoor recreation is a key part of our identity,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Yet today, not all Californians can get outside and into nature safely, affordably or comfortably. Outdoors for All is about expanding this opportunity to all Californians and providing lifelong outdoor experiences for families and underserved communities across the state. Today’s launch builds momentum to make this vision a reality.”
In 2021, Governor Newsom and the State Legislature committed $1 billion toward the Outdoors for All Initiative, including $500 million in grants to local communities for parks infrastructure and transportation and education programs and $500 million to expand access to California state parks and other state facilities through infrastructure and improvements to existing programs.
“Every Californian deserves to reap the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of time spent in nature,” said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Outdoors for All is a declaration of the Governor’s and my commitment to mental and physical health — with a lens on equity, inclusivity and community — to advance our vision for all Californians to not only have access to the outdoors, but ultimately to feel pride, ownership, and belonging in our state’s magnificent natural spaces.”
Through the help and support of community input — and informed by feedback from advocates, funders, community members and various government organizations — the Outdoors for All Strategy packages a vision for bringing government, private sector, and philanthropy efforts together towards a set of shared priorities.
“Outdoors for All is a movement powered by partners working together to create greater outdoor equity,” said California Natural Resources Agency Deputy Secretary for Access Katherine Toy. “Our public lands are civic and democratic spaces. As we foster belonging in the outdoors for all Californians, we build stewards who care for nature. In turn, nature cares for us.”
Through the state Youth Community Access program, grant funding was also announced for 71 projects totaling nearly $18 million statewide — including 24 projects totaling more than $6 million in the Los Angeles area.
For the full list of awarded Youth Community Access grant projects, click here.
Youth Community Access Program grants fund projects throughout the state, from San Diego to Siskiyou counties, bringing youth in underserved and low-income communities to parks, nature and places of cultural and historic significance. Youth Community Access projects include a vast variety of efforts to develop youth leadership while sailing the ocean, constructing trailheads, exploring California’s hidden places, restoring a fish hatchery and other activities that encourage getting outdoors.
Nearly $18 million in funding for 71 projects throughout the state were also announced on Wednesday, giving local communities the tools and resources to invest, support and partner in the Outdoors for All Initiative.
Twenty-four projects totaling nearly $6 million are located in the Los Angeles area.
“At Woodcraft Rangers, we wholeheartedly believe in the healing power of nature, and we see it every summer at our Camp Woodcraft,” said Helen Morales, a grant recipient and Director of Outdoor Education and Camp Woodcraft. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity through the California Natural Resources Agency Outdoors for All Initiative to expand our outdoor education offerings. Our Eco Warriors program will not only provide students with access to our camp but will also widen their understanding of environmental issues affecting them and how they can make a change.”
Youth Community Access is a grant program funded by the Proposition 64 marijuana tax to support public, educational, job training and outreach programs, as well as small capital projects and clean vehicle purchases that expand youth access to cultural and natural resources. Awards are prioritized for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies, as well as other underserved communities.
The California Natural Resources Agency’s mission is to restore, protect and manage the state's natural, historical and cultural resources for current and future generations using creative approaches and solutions based on science, collaboration and respect for all the communities and interests involved. Ensuring equitable access to outdoor spaces and activities for all Californians.