A new bill in the California Assembly would make wise, dedicated investments in the state’s recreational trails and help meet the growing demand for trails and outdoor spaces in the Golden State—but your legislator needs to hear from you to make it happen. Our partner Rails-to-Trails has made it easy.
Trail use is the most popular outdoor activity in the nation, according to surveys by the Outdoor Industry Association—and the pandemic has only increased the need for more access to parks and trails for everyone.
Yet, California has chronically underfunded natural surface recreational trails that support hiking, cycling, hunting and other outdoor activities. The federal Recreational Trails Program provides less than $2 million per year for non-motorized trails in the state, leaving hundreds of important projects unfunded.
But Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1789, authored by Assemblymember Steve Bennett of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, addresses this historic funding shortage and establishes a recurring $15 million per year dedicated fund for natural surface trails, as well as a one-time investment of $75 million in the coming fiscal year.
These investments will help meet the growing demand for trails and outdoor spaces and ensure that everyone has access to the pathways we all love. Forty percent of grant awards from this program will be guaranteed for under-served communities, and the bill creates and staffs a Recreational Trails Commission to coordinate statewide efforts to promote and develop recreational trails.
The bill will create a Recreational Trails Commission within the California Resources Agency, and add a new Trails Coordinator position to staff it and coordinate statewide efforts to promote and develop recreational trails. Besides Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, this bill is sponsored by the California Parks & Recreation Association.
This overdue funding couldn’t come at a better time—that’s why Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and our partners at the California Parks & Recreation Association are supporting these investments.
The pandemic spurred significant demand for trails and outdoor spaces. It’s time for California to make the necessary dedicated investments to maintain and create more of the pathways we all need and love.
Please write your Assemblymember today.