The Beach Blog: State Park Historical Frame
I got to Point Mugu state park on monday. It was late in the morning, I came right after a 9 AM exam. After a stressful day and night of cramming and studying it was a relief to stroll around the beach. It made me grateful for the State Park Service and curious of how our state decided to protect these amazing places.
California’s state parks were first established in the early 1860’s by California Senator John Conness Israel Ward Raymond to protect Yosemite and provide public recreation. A bill establishing Yosemite as protected land was then signed by President Lincoln and granted to the state of California (This land was later returned to the federal government in 1906).
California’s state parks were essential in preserving the natural beauty of our environment. Our state had an advantage over National Parks because for a piece of land to be declared a state park, it was not necessary to prove the land was economically worthless (in contrast the process for a Federal park). However, unlike Federal Parks, the state had to work out agreements to purchase the land from private owners. This meant our state had increased access to declaring public parks, while increasing the cost we would have to pay to protect the land.
Today the state parks commission maintains our park system. California’s state parks had more than 260 units of park lands. 280 miles of coast line, 625 miles of river and lake fronts, amount millions of others public natural lands. These parks not only provide incredible recreation but are a boon to tourism in our state. Recently over 70 million visits to California state parks have been recorded each year.
We are so lucky to have access to such beautiful and spectacular places as Point Mugu and other state parks. They strengthen our state’s economy, conserve our environment and beauty, and give all Californians a place to reconnect with nature. We owe a debt to the conservationists of the past who fought to protect these lands and enshire their love of nature into Californian and American Public Policy.
California State Parks, State of California. “A State Park System Is Born.” CA State Parks, https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=940.