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Frequently Asked Questions: Annual Pass Purchase and State Tax Deduction Program

How does the program work ?

Our program is designed to help you purchase a California State Parks $195 California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass when you file your California State Income Taxes. All you need to do is make a contribution of at least $195 to the State Parks Protection Fund on your state taxes to receive our California Explorer Annual Pass. If you make a contribution above the price of the Annual Pass to the State Parks Protection Fund, your additional contributions above that amount are tax deductible on your 2014 State Income Taxes..


Is my annual pass tax deductible when I purchase it on my state income tax return?

No, any voluntary contributions to the State Parks Protection Fund below and up to the price of the California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass are not deductible. It is only those contributions above $195 that can be deducted on your 2014 state taxes.


When will I receive my purchased $195 California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass ?

California State Parks anticipates mailing the California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Passes to those tax filers who contributed $195 on their State Income Taxes in the months of January and February around the middle of March.  Given the anticipated number of contributions in March and April, those California Explorer Annual Passes will be mailed out in the first week of June. Remember the California Explorer Annual Pass provides access to over 130 state parks for twelve months. Your California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass will be valid for an entire year from the month you receive your pass to corresponding month the next year.


Why should I contribute to the State Parks Protection Fund ?

California’s state parks include some of the most scenic beaches, mountains, meadows and deserts anywhere in the Nation. Unfortunately, the budget for California State Parks has not kept pace with population growth and growing demand. Year after year, the annual budget for state parks has been significantly below the amount necessary to maintain state parks in their current condition. A number of new revenue programs have been implemented to help our state park system. One of these programs was the creation of State Park Protection Fund.


What does a $195 California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass provide ?

Your State Parks California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass provides entry of one passenger vehicle or one motorcycle at a number of state parks where a vehicle day use fee is collected. The California Explorer Annual Pass will allow entry of one passenger vehicle or motorcycle per day, every calendar day (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day) for 12 months from the month indicated on your pass. A passenger vehicle is defined as having the capacity of nine people or less, The California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass is not honored at locally operated state park units or Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation (OHV) parks units. You may need to call a specific park unit to see if they accept the Surf Explorer Annual Pass. The $195 California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass is not valid for camping, oversize vehicle fees, extra vehicle fees or other fees such as tour fees, swimming pool fees or boat facilities, or at park units charging per-person entry fees such as Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument.

The California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual pass is not valid for commercial use. State Park admittance and use are subject to available space. Annual Pass holders may be required to pay separate or additional fees for some services within the park unit. The $195 California Explorer Annual Pass is accepted at a number of state beaches in the Los Angeles, Orange Coast and San Diego area. Please use the link on the right to read which state park units accept the California Explorer Annual Pass.


Can I designate part of my state income tax contribution to a specific state park or state beach?

No. Your contributions to the State Parks Protection Fund will be allocated by our State Legislature to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, who runs our state parks system. The money in the Fund is to be used for the restoration, preservation and protection of all state parks.


What are the types of projects will my voluntary contribution to the State Parks Protection Fund help fund ?

Your contributions to the State Park Protection Fund would available to the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop new campgrounds or improve existing campgrounds by the installation of cabins, tent cabins or other lodging. The Fund will also help to make the visitor experience better by repairing in-park day use areas or easier by the installation of credit card fee payment systems. The Fund will also help California State Parks work on a number of their deferred maintenance projects, including the restoration of historic buildings and upgrading visitor restrooms.