The best way to show support for state parks is to visit them, and be reminded about what wonderful resources they are for recreation, education and relaxation!
Plan Your Next State Park Visit
Pay Your User Fees
At most state parks, day use fees are charged for parking only. There are also state parks where park users pay a per person fee for tours. At some park units, budget cuts have eliminated staffing at fee collection kiosks, so fees are collected on the “honor system”.
Many park users avoid paying fees by simply parking outside the park and walking or biking in. Sometimes park users want to pay parking fees, but are unable to identify where and how to pay. In other instances, park users choose to ignore the honor system and decide to park without paying fees at all.
Whether intentional or not, the practice of park users avoiding fees creates problems. State parks rely on user fees to help maintain the state park system. Park users who do not pay user fees will still use the park restrooms, trails and picnic areas. They will still need to dispose of garbage and will still need assistance at times from park staff.
When the Department of Parks and Recreation is faced with the decision of which parks to close, parks with low revenue are the first on the chopping block. That means that parks where people avoid paying fees may be at risk of closure- because although the park is getting usage, it is not generating revenue to offset operational expenses.
When you pay your entrance fee, you are doing your part to make sure that state parks have funding to keep state parks open and maintained.
If you use state parks regularly, consider purchasing an annual pass. The Department of Parks and Recreation offers several different types of annual passes that provide you with unlimited access to state parks. The California State Parks Foundation also offers both annual passes and day use passes as benefits of membership. Memberships start at just $40. (Learn more)
Share Your Experience
Be sure to let your friends and family know about the memorable experiences you have at state parks and encourage them to plan a visit themselves!