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