Parks Leaders Herald New Laws to Strengthen Partnerships, Leverage Resources


Gloria Sandoval

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CULVER CITY, Calif. – Today at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, California State Parks (State Parks) Director Lisa Mangat, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and a number of partners heralded the enactment of two new laws that will help strengthen the state parks system.

Signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on October 7, the bills -- SB 204 by Pavley and AB 549 by Levine -- allow State Parks to improve and expand partnerships, enter into agreements with organizations that give youth work opportunities in state parks, accept buildings for use within the parks system, and in other ways helps the department work more easily and efficiently with external partners.

Parks officials celebrated the Governor's enactment of the laws at a relative new urban state park in Culver City that features a sweeping view of greater Los Angeles and a 500-foot peak.   

“We are grateful for Governor Brown, the California State Legislature, in particular Senator Fran Pavley, Assemblymember Marc Levine, Speaker-elect Anthony Rendon, our Natural Resources Agency, and our partners for their continued leadership,” said Director Mangat. “These new laws not only help State Parks strengthen the state park system, but they also make it easier for our partners to help us broaden our impact for more resources and services.”

Among other things, AB 549 clarifies the department's authority to enter into agreements with groups to accept money and services, including for restoration, repair, development, or improvement of a park unit. It also increases the gross revenue threshold of concession contracts which require Legislative approval from $500,000 to $1 million.

SB 204 allows cooperating associations, with the approval of the department, to provide programming beyond interpretation and education and allows the money they collect to be spent on programs within the park unit. It also increases the threshold for the department's requirement to solicit bids for historic restoration projects from $25,000 to $50,000.

The new laws will help State Parks implement the recommendations of the Parks Forward Commission.  In 2013, the Commission was established by the Legislature and Governor Brown to examine the steady deterioration of state parks over many years and to make recommendations on how to reverse that course. The Commission issued its final recommendations in January 2015. Guided by these recommendations, a Transformation Team was formed. The Team developed a tactical Transformation Action Plan, which outlines strategic goals as well as priority initiatives for the department. You can view information on the Transformation effort, including a progress report online at


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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.