One of the best things about San Diego is the weather that allows us to spend so much time outdoors, but not everyone has the same access to outdoor spaces and a new plan hopes to change that.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and other state and local officials laid out a new initiative called "Outdoor Access for All" that will make it possible for those in the most underserved communities to have equitable access to outdoor space, close to home.
California has up to 280 state parks, over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, and 4,500 miles of trails. These state parks are for everyone, but barriers to park access still exist.
According to the state, 70% of low-income communities across the country live in “nature-deprived” areas and communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in an area that is “nature deprived.”
A San Diego State student from San Ysidro said having access to the outdoors gave him self-purpose and confidence.
"It's almost humbling being outside. The trees, they tower over you and make you realize how small you really are. And all of your everyday troubles just go away," said Isaac Santos, an outdoor outreach field instructor. "Every youth deserves to experience the healing powers of the outdoors."
California was given $548 million to create 112 new parks in local communities across the state.
"By fostering long-term partnerships with these communities, city parks and other urban green spaces are working to ensure that every community has a meaningful chance to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the surrounding wildlife and its habitats," said Haaland.