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The Cool Parks Response

California State Parks is responding to climate change through a three-pronged strategic initiative. That strategy focuses on adaptation, mitigation, and education.


Adaptation: preparing our parks for climate change

The Department’s Natural Resources Division has painstakingly inventoried the State Park System’s environmental assets. The resulting database will be an invaluable tool for resource management as climatic conditions change.

California State Parks is cooperating with other agencies and organizations to create large “landscape reserves” where biodiversity can be sustained.

Henry W Coe State Park Henry W. Coe State Park is just one example of the work being done to connect parklands managed by various agencies in order to create large reserves where biodiversity can be sustained.


The Department is acquiring “habitat corridors” that will connect protected open spaces...and help plants and animals readjust their ranges in response to climate change.

Besides having ecological benefits, the “prescribed burning” program conducted in many state parks (like Calaveras Big Trees State Park, pictured here) is a climate change adaptation strategy because it reduces what otherwise would be a growing risk of catastrophic wildfire. Prescribed Burn at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Staff will assess potential climate-related threats to park facilities and will make plans to adapt park infrastructure accordingly.

For more information on this subject, be sure to visit the California Climate Adaptation Strategy website.


Mitigation: becoming part of the solution

State parks will be doing its part to reduce greenhouse gases by making its facilities more energy-efficient, by relying more on solar power, and by switching to lower-emission vehicles.

Carbon sequestration will become a factor in determining State Parks’ stewardship practices and acquisition plans.

Tree Seedlings In a pioneering investment in carbon sequestration, seedlings like those pictured here are being planted as part of a post-fire reforestation project at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.


Education: sharing the knowledge and encouraging public involvement

Through its educational programs, State Parks can help the public understand climate change and appreciate its ramifications. In the process, audiences can be inspired to take positive action.

Educational Program at Millerton Lake SRA Educational programs like this one at Millerton Lake State Recreation Area can help visitors, young and old alike, understand the impacts of climate change on the resources managed by California State Parks.