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Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Trail and Tool Use in California State Parks

The California State Parks filed the Final Text and Final Statement of Reasons concerning trail use designations and minimum tool use review in natural and cultural preserves with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) in June 2014.  The proposed regulations were disapproved by OAL on August 19, 2014, and the Department was given 120 days to make changes to the proposed regulations, conduct a 15 day public review, and resubmit Final Text and Final Statement of Reasons. The Department is currently amending the regulations in preparation for a 15 day public review. The intent of the regulations has not changed, but all reference to regulating airspace over preserves is being eliminated.

The proposed regulations are summarized below:

Trail Use
This rulemaking action clarifies and makes specific the authority for regulating trail uses and users on trails in the state park system. 

  Current trail use regulations are inconsistent. 

  The new regulations clarify that all trails are open to pedestrians and closed to all other uses unless designated as open to the additional use.  

  There will not be a change in the current trail use designations as a result of these regulations being adopted.

  Any changes to current trail use designation will be decided by the District Superintendent after careful analysis and public input. 

Tool Use in Natural and Cultural Preserves
The new regulations also provide direction for establishing what tools may be used, and under what circumstances, in Cultural Preserves and Natural Preserves. 

  Clarifies that permanent structures and installations are allowed in a Wilderness or Preserve when necessary for protection of natural or cultural heritage

  Identifies a review process for determining the appropriate tool/equipment required to perform necessary natural or cultural resource stewardship activities while maintaining the integrity of the Preserve.

We believe the proposed regulations will provide clarity to rules for trail use, tool use in preserves and construction of permanent structures in a Preserve or Wilderness while protecting important resources and providing for public use and enjoyment.

If you have questions, please contact the Statewide Roads and Trails Program by emailing