Vision and Dedication

Farsighted groups and partners join committed employees and generous volunteers to move each of our state parks from concept to reality..

Dreamers & Planners Builders & Protectors Notable Women
Distinguished Leaders Volunteers & Partners    


Dreamers & Planners

Farsighted people envisioned lands set aside for preservation and public recreation, thereby creating the state park — and eventually the national park — concept.

Frederick Law Olmsted Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Andrew P. Hill
The Captain and the Senator

Andrew P. Hill

Photographer Andrew P. Hill, on assignment to photograph some Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods after a fire, was accused of trespassing and asked to hand over his negatives. Hill refused, went home, and began a crusade to save the redwoods--founding the Sempervirens Club. Click here to learn more about Hill's efforts.

A.P. Hill

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Builders & Protectors

America's largest state park system has grown from one guardian watching one park to 280 parks with interpreters, rangers, natural and cultural experts, maintenance and administrative staff answering to four commissions and the public.

Galen Clark, the First Ranger A "New Deal" for California State Parks
Medals of Valor

A "New Deal" for California State Parks

In the midst of the 1930s' Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt assembled a peacetime army of unemployed men to work on the nation's forestry, erosion and flood-control projects. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) members were tasked with building roads, infrastructure and camp buildings as California's State Park System expanded. More than 30,000 workers performed restoration work and built bridges, ampitheaters, museums, and campsites in the "park rustic" style. Read more about CCC projects.

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Caroline Sealy Livermore

The Bay Area of today would look very different if Caroline Livermore hadn't interceded. Responsible for conserving some of the Bay's most beautiful parklands, Livermore was a force to be reckoned with. Learn more about her determined campaign for land preservation. 

Caroline Livermore

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Distinguished Leaders

Since 1928, 22 directors have been appointed by the Governor to steer California State Parks. Through organizational and cultural changes, our leaders focus on increasing accessibility and appreciation of our resources.

Newton P. Drury William Penn Mott Director's Award Winners

William Penn Mott

William Penn Mott was committed to expanding the park experience to nontraditional visitors by bringing "parks to the people." Urban parks increased and developed during his tenure, as did the workforce caring for them. Learn more about Mott's effect on park development and organizational culture.

William Penn Mott
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Volunteers & Partners

Public-spirited groups and tireless volunteers helped build the park system without any credit; they continue to support our state parks.

Native Sons of the Golden West Save the Redwoods League Park Cooperating Associations 
Volunteers in Parks

Save the Redwoods League

Aggressive logging operations threatened the redwood forests of Northern California in the early twentieth century. A group of activists banded together to form the Save the Redwoods League. Their work in purchasing endangered groves of trees continues to this day. Learn more about how private citizens created public spaces of enormous value. 

Save the Redwoods League
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Wonder & Inspiration


Wonder 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 these treasures.

Adventure & Excitement

OHV Road 

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 interpretative programs in California State Parks

History & Heritage

Point Cabrillo 

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 to learn more about the treasures preserved and interpreted by California State Parks.

A Promise to the Future

Kids on Beach 

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
—Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

Click here to learn more about California State Parks' promises to the future.

 California Forever

The story of California State Parks dramatically comes to life in "California Forever," a powerful and moving two-part television program composed of stunning cinematography and rare archival imagery. Click here to learn more about "California Forever."