Caltrans and California State Parks Encourage Community Action to Preserve the Outdoors During Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial day tips

Photo right: Visitors enjoying a beautiful sunset at Crystal Cove State Park. Photo bottom left: Visitors enjoy the shores of Lake Tahoe at Kings Beach State Recreation Area.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer approaches, many Californians attracted to warmer weather and outdoor activities with friends and family are planning trips to the outdoors. With such beautiful and unique places to visit such as Emerald Bay and Humbolt Redwoods State Parks, Folsom Lake and Silverwood Lake State Recreation Areas, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Cardiff State Beach and other areas, Caltrans, Clean California, and California State Parks are reminding Californians of their impact to public lands and encouraging individuals to do their part to keep their public lands clean to protect the natural ecosystems.

During this summer season, we are aiming to increase awareness of the leave no trace principle by encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to consider the impacts they leave behind and empowering individuals to take action. Simple steps such as packing out all trash when camping, picnicking or hiking will undoubtedly help keep state parks and beaches better than how you found them.

“Whether you’re headed to community barbecues, on a camping trip or opting to spend time at the local beaches, lakes and rivers, it’s important to understand the impact of trash on our communities,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Just one piece of litter ruins the experience. We urge Californians to take conscious action to properly dispose of waste and commit to keeping trash out of our parks altogether.”

“This Memorial Day weekend, we welcome all Californians to discover the diverse and extraordinary landscapes California has to offer, from the beaches to lakes to mountains and deserts,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “We want all who visit to create memorable experiences that last a lifetime and to build stewards that will help us protect the state’s open spaces for future generations to enjoy.”

Here are a few simple tips to help keep public spaces and communities free from litter and debris, such as:    

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Leave no trace behind by bringing a trash bag, especially if visiting a remote area. Put food waste, napkins, single-use food wrappers, and other waste in the bags until it can be properly disposed of. For human waste, the use of waste alleviation (WAG) gel bags or other portable toilet options is recommended. WAG bags can be safely disposed of in regular trash.
  • Choose reusable over single-use items. Reusable containers keep harmful toxins out of our water and community recreation areas and are more economical in the long run. If you do use cans or plastic bottles, be sure to properly recycle them to help mitigate their impact. 
  • Pick up small, littered items to make a big impact. Keep an eye out for bottle caps, food wrappers, cigarette butts, and other small items and be sure to properly dispose of them.  
  • Properly dispose of broken large items, such as pop-up canopies, beach chairs, and coolers. Leaving these items on the beach or park or ‘near’ a trash bin can be considered illegal dumping. Please haul back broken items and dispose of them properly at a local garbage site.
  • Secure your load.?Whether you live nearby or are traveling to reach your destination, be sure to properly tarp and tie down items in truck beds, trailers, and boats to ensure items make it to your destination and do not fly out during the trip. Taking special care to keep items both small and large with you during transit will help keep our roads safe and clean. 

To join the statewide movement to keep California clean, beautiful, and litter-free, visit Clean California’s website at

To find a State Park close to you, visit


About Clean California: 

Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative is a sweeping, $1.2 billion, multiyear cleanup effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces. 

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans and its local partners have picked up more than 2.3 million cubic yards of litter – enough to fill about 700 Olympic-size swimming pools. This represents a substantial increase compared to the department’s previous trash collection efforts and can largely be attributed to Clean California, along with other Caltrans litter removal efforts. Caltrans has hosted more than 500 free dump days in communities throughout the state – resulting in the collection of 12,000-plus mattresses and nearly 50,000 tires. The initiative has drawn more than 10,000 community clean-up volunteers and created 15,000 jobs, including positions for individuals who were formerly incarcerated, on probation, or experiencing housing insecurity. | #CleanCA | #BeWorkZoneAlert | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


About State Parks:

The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at | X | Instagram | YouTube | Blog | Threads


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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.