California State Parks is looking to increase relevant, resource based outdoor recreation opportunities to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse California population. The acquisition of carefully selected lands is needed to increase the System’s capacity for providing quality outdoor recreation facilities, programs and services. Additional lands are needed to accommodate traditional resource-based recreational activities and facilities that can accommodate and serve the needs of new and non-traditional state park users and those of under-served, urban residents.

Note:  these guidelines are current as of fiscal year 2024-25;  updates will be posted here when available.  


The following property characteristics are of high interest:

1. Water feature: properties that have a beach, river, stream or lake that also has developable land appropriate for recreation facilities such as campgrounds, picnicking, visitor services, boating, floating campsites, staging areas and trails. Developable land should be safe from changes in hydrology, such as rising seas, increased flooding, or reduced stream flow attributable to climate change.

2. Proximity: lands adjacent to or within a half-mile of a state park that can readily be developed to increase the variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking/riding, equestrian, swimming, boating, fishing, interpretation and nature viewing.

3. Urban Access: lands that are strategically located near an urban area are preferable, especially sites that can be served by existing or planned public transportation; In addition to traditional camping, picnicking, nature study and multi-use trail opportunities, these properties should be suitable to provide for a large and diverse number of active outdoor recreation opportunities such as group picnicking, open areas needed for free play, kite flying, outdoor amphitheater, campfire ring, disc flying, exercise courses, jogging, biking, swimming and geocaching.

4. Size: properties should be of a sufficient scale to allow for the development of recreation facilities, especially campgrounds and alternative camping facilities, with the potential for other uses, including: picnicking, RV hook ups, trails, and other high-in-demand opportunities. Alternative overnight accommodations include tent cabins, yurts, lodges and floating campsites. Projects involving smaller acreage will be considered if these lands offer the opportunity to significantly enhance the provision of recreation facilities and opportunities of a nearby park unit or link to other publicly owned properties.

5. Additional recreation opportunities: Properties that protect prime resources but allow other forms of resource based recreation opportunities, such as a former resort or private campground currently in decline that with State Park management has the potential for reestablishing recreation opportunities. 


High priority will be given to:

A.  Projects that are ready to go, such as a turn-key campground facility; 

B. Projects that are of scale and character that can be developed for numbers and variety of recreation opportunities, especially sites for traditional or alternative camping; 

C. Projects that include or can readily include accessible facilities;   

D. Projects that include a water feature; 

E. Acquisitions that are immediately adjacent to or are in nearby proximity to other State Park System units and those that offer potential linkages to multi-purpose trails, greenways, waterways, landscapes or corridors; 

F. Projects that are located within travel distance of urban centers with an emphasis on under-served populations;

G. Projects that improve access to existing parks from existing or planned public transportation;

H. Projects that are located in vacation destination areas; 

I. Projects in the form of easements and transfers from other public agencies that reflect the Expanded Outdoor Recreation Opportunities objectives;

J. Projects recommended as high priorities in the Central Valley Vision Implementation Plan;

K. Projects in selected geographic areas, including:

  • Western San Bernardino and Riverside Counties,
  • The Mother Lode/Gold Country area of the western Sierras, northeast of Turlock to the Auburn area,
  • Any geographic areas that meet the preferred characteristics that are located/within or adjacent to metropolitan urban areas.