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California fourth graders and their families can get a free annual pass to visit 19 state parks

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in July that includes $5.6 million to fund the three-year pilot program.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Starting Wednesday, Sept. 29, fourth graders and their families in California can apply for an annual pass, which gives them free access to 19 state parks.

Some of those parks include the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley and Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Arnold among others.

"The California State Park Adventure Pass is an incredible new program that will help promote a healthier, more equitable California for all, a California where every child has the opportunity to explore, learn and benefit from our state's natural wonders," First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said in a press release.

Seventy percent of low-income communities across the country live in "nature-deprived" areas without nearby access to outdoor public spaces, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.

“Access to nature is a crucial component to the health and well-being of our kids, and these outdoor access pilot programs set us on a path to expand access to nature and benefit children’s health,” Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary, said in a July press release.

To apply for a free pass, people need a name, address, phone number and email address. Applications can be found online HERE or those without internet access or an email address can still apply by calling (800) 444-7275.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in July 2021 establishing the three-year pilot program for the adventure passes along with another bill that includes $5.6 million to fund the program. The adventure pass program is a joint effort by California State Parks, First Partner and the Natural Resources Agency.

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