Welcome to California State Parks' 150th Anniversary website! During 2014, we are observing the birth of our State Park System and the beginning of the park movement. This sesquicentennial allows us to reflect on, learn from and share our history with all Californians. We are planning an amazing variety of events throughout the state and I invite you to join us and attend activities in your favorite state parks. Please watch our website, follow us on social media, and stay tuned as we commemorate this momentous occasion.
In 2014, California State Parks turns 150 years old!
California State Parks commemorates the 1864 establishment of the first state park in the world. On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting 39,000 acres of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California. Never before had land been set aside to protect its natural state for the public to enjoy. This historic legislation was the beginning of not only the California State Park System, but the national park idea we know today. To learn more about our history, view our Timeline.
As we commemorate our 150th birthday, we will continue to add information—so please check back to see what is new during this exciting time in our history.
Wonder & Inspiration
Marvel at our state parks scenes — from dramatic surf to faraway treetops to battling elephant seals to endangered birds to insects scurrying along a grass blade. Click here to learn more about natural wonders in California state parks.
Adventure & Excitement
Wind down from the plethora of recreational adventures in our state parks with a serene night sleeping under the stars after a campfire program. Click here for more activities and interpretive programs in California's state parks.
Vision & Dedication
Farsighted groups and partners join committed employees and generous volunteers to move each of our state parks from concept to reality. Click here to learn about the pioneers, founders, volunteers and staff of California State Parks.
History & Heritage
Irreplaceable cultural landmarks—from Native California Indian grinding rocks to forts and missions to mansions—are preserved for posterity in our state parks. Click here for historic preservation and landmarks in California State Parks.