A range of climate change impacts is already affecting and will continue to affect public parks, recreation, and cultural resources in California, as well as how Californians interact with the outdoors. Safeguarding these resources while accommodating the desire for increased access to parks and recreation is critical to connect Californians to both their natural environment and state history, provide places for gathering and education opportunities around climate change, and also to yield public health benefits such as cooling, clean air, and space for exercise. In addition, outdoor recreation contributes significantly to the economic well-being of communities, directly providing almost 700,000 jobs in the state.[1, 2] Climate impacts to parks and recreation will affect the 56% of California residents that participate in outdoor recreation in mountains, forests, and other landscapes each year, plus millions of others who visit neighborhood parks, beaches, and other public lands.[2] These impacts include sea level rise and increased coastal erosion, large and severe wildfires, drought reducing water availability at campsites and lowering water levels for freshwater recreation, and the warming of freshwater lakes that can result in dangerous toxic algal blooms. Another impact of a changing climate is that demand will continue to increase for accessing beaches, mountains, urban parks, and other cool recreation areas that serve as refuge during extreme heat days. Declines in native fisheries will continue to detriment traditional cultural practices for communities, including a number of California Native American tribes.

Although climate change adds to the challenges of managing these resources, actions by State agencies and in coordination with diverse partners can help ensure that parks, recreation, and cultural resources can be enjoyed by future generations. An important action area is ensuring public access to the coast and coastal recreation in the face of rising seas and other impacts, while protecting beaches and coastal habitat. Furthermore, demand will likely increase for inland, mountain, and freshwater regions, and these recreation areas must adapt to increased visitors. In urban areas, climate change provides an opportunity and driver to rethink urban design with an emphasis on public space, equitable access to parks, and green infrastructure. Walking trails and green alleys can increase connectivity between residents, community parks, and other destinations while providing carbon-free transportation options. Urban parks and green space can be designed to reduce stormwater runoff and flooding, recharge drinking water supplies, and save energy used for water treatment.[3] In coastal cities, wetlands, shoreline parks, and natural areas can buffer low-lying urban centers from the impact of rising seas, storms, and flooding. Finally, efforts to preserve cultural and historic resources—including artifacts, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, ethnographic resources, museum collections, buildings and structures—from climate impacts must be interwoven into other adaptation and resilience initiatives to address climate change.

All Resources for Parks And Recreation


Final Report - Los Angeles County Public Beach Facilities Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. 2016
Flooding Sea level rise
Assessment
This report is an assessment of the Los Angeles County public beach facilities and their vulnerability to future sea-level rise. The report is focused on the erosion and flood risk that beaches in the county, which are currently artificially maintained, face. Since these beaches are valuable assets to the region, the report aims to suggest management strategies that can be used to preserve and maintain the existing public beach system for as long as possible.

Ocean Beach Master Plan

SPUR. 2012
Sea level rise
Plan or strategy
The Ocean Beach Master Plan is based on an extensive interagency and public process led by SPUR. The plan is focused on creating a comprehensive vision to address sea level rise, protect infrastructure, restore coastal ecosystems and improve public access. The plan provides detailed designs and concepts for Ocean Beach, which is an iconic part of San Francisco and a National Park. It is codified into LCP update by the city planning department.

Restoring Surfers' Point: Partnership's Persistence Pays Off

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. 2017
Sea level rise
Communication or educational material Project or Example
This website provides an overview of the story of Surfer's Point and the physical climate adaptation project that took place there. It tells that it took ten years to reach consensus among diverse partners. Once consensus was reached the Surfer's Point working group opted to retreat from the sea and use a soft solution to restore the natural habitat. As of 2014, the beach at Surfers' Point has a 70-foot wide buffer zone and a significant sediment reservoir.

The Karuk’s Innate Relationship with Fire: Adapting to Climate Change on the Klamath

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. 2017
Wildfire
Case Study
This case study describes the traditional prescribed burning practices carried out by the Karuk tribe who live and manage 1.48 million acres of their aboriginal lands along the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in northern California. The article describes the benefits of indigenous burning, such as reducing the risk of high-severity wildfire that can threaten people and natural systems such as forests and wetlands near rivers and streams. It also discusses Karuk Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the need for knowledge sovereignty, and highlights several other related reports such as the Karuk Climate Vulnerability Assessment.

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project. 2017
Sea level rise
Communication or educational material
This website provides an overview of the ongoing effort to restore the Ballona Wetlands, which in the middle of a highly urban part of Los Angeles. These wetlands represent the remaining 600 hundred acres of a once larger wetland system. They offer a unique opportunity to create an oasis in the middle of dense commercial corridors. The website provides extensive material on the planning process and the benefits of wetlands.

California Coastal Commission’s 2015 Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance

California Coastal Commission. 2015
Sea level rise
Planning and policy guidance
Chapter 7 of the California Coastal Commission’s 2015 Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance provides guidance on protecting Public Access and Recreation from the impacts of sea level rise (Section B), as well as protecting Archaeological and Paleontological Resources from the impacts of sea level rise (Section F).

California King Tides Project

California King Tides Project. 2018
Flooding Sea level rise
Communication or educational material Project or Example
This website is the home of the California King Tides project, which is part of a global network of similar programs. The project, which is a citizen science effort has two primary goals: 1) Educate the public about sea level rise by engaging people and showing them how today’s high tides are the average future condition; and 2) Create a catalogue of hyperlocal flood risk data for researchers and decision makers. The website provides more project information and details how people can get involved.

City of Del Mar Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Plan

City of Del Mar. 2016
Flooding Sea level rise
Plan or strategy
The Del Mar Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Plan serves as the City of Del Mar’s long-range planning guide to address future sea-level rise and its effects on storm surge and coastal flooding and erosion. This Adaptation Plan will provide the basis for developing new sea-level rise policies that will be integrated into the City’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) via a LCP Amendment.

City of Santa Barbara Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. 2015
Flooding Sea level rise
Assessment
Students at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management completed this vulnerability assessment for the City of Santa Barbara as it prepares to update its Local Coastal Program (LCP). This assessments looks at the impacts of sea level rise on human populations, critical infrastructure, recreation and public access, as well as ecological resources. These vulnerabilities are based on different modeling techniques including 1) exposure modeling, 2) permanent inundation modeling, 3) storm surge modeling, 4) bluff erosion modeling, and human populations sensitivity assessment. The report also includes adaptation strategies that the City can use to create a more resilient community in the face of sea level rise related hazards.

City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Study

California Energy Commission. 2012
Flooding Sea level rise
Assessment
The California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program supports public interest research, development, and demonstration projects to benefit California. This report is one of many products from this program. Specifically, this is a study that assesses the vulnerability of the City of Santa Barbara to future sea‐level rise and related coastal hazards (by 2050 and 2100). The analysis is based upon past events, shoreline topography, and exposure to sea‐level rise and wave attack. It also evaluates the likely impacts of coastal hazards to specific areas of the City and analyzes the risks. The report looks at the City’s adaptive capacity and recommends potential adaptation responses.