Young people can be part of the solution


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California’s state parks comprise one of the finest systems of public lands in America, a collection of places that conserve an invaluable legacy of natural, historical and cultural resources that make California the Golden State.

Inextricably linked to the state’s economy, California’s state parks protect the very essence of our history as a state and provide a vast array of wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Stabilizing their future is a must, and The Chronicle in its editorial noted several legislative efforts to put the parks on firmer footing.

Another trail to excellence is to recognize that partnerships are the future.

California’s Department of Parks and Recreation has a profound opportunity to establish formal partnerships with organizations such as the Student Conservation Association and other nonprofit conservation corps to share in park stewardship – trail maintenance, habitat restoration, interpretation, resource monitoring and workforce development.

Doing so will require a new way of doing business. By engaging youth and young adults in partnership with nonprofits, and with a modest investment of funding toward that end, the state parks can have a bright future.

Jay Thomas Watson, Student Conservation Association, Oakland

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Student Conservation Association