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Cooperating Associations Program

Cooperating associations are non-profit charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the educational and interpretive programs in California State Parks. Collectively the network consists of 87 associations and serves most of the 280 state parks. These associations, with more than 27,000 members, provide critical funding for educational and interpretive needs that are impossible for state parks to meet.

Associations contribute more than 13 million dollars annually to fund critical staff positions, exhibits, visitor center developments, junior ranger and nature walk programs, living history demonstrations, special events and many other exciting projects.

Facilities -- Associations help the state to build, restore or furnish visitor centers, museums, historic buildings and exhibit shelters.

Programs -- Supported by associations include guided tours, nature walks, Junior Rangers, special events, living history and environmental living programs. Hundreds of special events that occur annually are due to the dedicated partnership between cooperating associations, department staff and volunteers.

Publications -- Books, brochures, newspapers and videos about the natural and cultural history of local units that are funded by most, if not all, associations. As parks become more popular and interpretive needs increase, many associations are expanding or upgrading sales areas to offer a wider assortment of quality educational and interpretive materials.


Cooperating associations are non-profit charitable [(501 (c) 3] organizations dedicated to enhancing the educational and interpretive programs in California State Parks. Each association is independent and annually submits financial and activity reports. This special relationship is authorized pursuant to Public Resources Code 513.