In July 2013, the Secretary of Natural Resources appointed the Parks Forward Commission (Commission) to assess the unique challenges California’s state parks face and helped identify solutions to solidify the future of the State Parks. The Commission released its final recommendations in the report titled “A New Vision for California State Parks”.

Guided by the draft Commission report in January 2015, the Administration assembled a Transformation Team (Team). The Team comprised of qualified, experienced and dedicated personnel from State Parks staff, outside entities and professional consultants developed a two-year tactical Transformation Action Plan. The plan set forth four strategic goals for the state park system:

  1. Protect and enhance natural and cultural resources
  2. Develop excellent management systems
  3. Maintain high quality operations and public service
  4. Create meaningful connections and relevancy to people

Based on these goals, the Team and its committees developed initiatives.

Though the Transformation initiatives, State Parks will deliver a stronger, more robust future for the state park system. Visitors will know that we care about their state parks when they interact with us at all levels. Collectively all of these initiatives will strengthen our efforts to protect and preserve California’s state parks which include the most significant cultural, historic and natural resources. Our sense of commitment and service will be evident and contagious. We will inspire visitors to help us protect these special places and their resources.

As a result of the Transformation, State Parks will:

  •  Seek a diverse leadership team that draws from broad skill sets across disciplines to lead State Parks. Department leaders will seek talent and creative ideas from inside and outside the state park system.
  •  Break through the many barriers to bringing in new talent from all levels of the organization. Our classifications will be reflective of the needs of the state park system and we will have established a process to bring in talent from diverse programmatic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds to the job of managing our parks for all Californians. The organization will be more diverse and reflective of the people it serves.
  •  Have a better understanding of our resources through strengthened data collection, allowing us to strategically focus our efforts and resources on compelling actions that advance our mission. We will use this enhanced information to improve our priority setting and communicate complex parks information to the public in a clear and simple way.
  •  Look beyond ourselves to better serve our visitors. We will engage the power of partnerships, philanthropy, and volunteerism on a larger scale and do so thoughtfully and strategically. Through such partnerships, we can broaden our impact for more resources and enhanced services. For instance, we will partner with the healthcare community so they will view us as an important tool to advance public health initiatives. 
  •  Create a culture of service. We will measure our performance in terms of service to visitors. In the field and at headquarters, we will cultivate a sense of service through training, mentoring, example and accountability.
  •  Pursue simplicity and clarity in all that we do. We will use fewer words to explain our actions. We will work to convey complex issues clearly and concisely.

Achieving these goals requires that we dare to imagine better solutions to problems than what we have employed in the past.