The first annual California State Parks Week begins Tuesday and will feature events for the public across the state next week.
The celebration, which runs through Saturday, aims to bring community events and in-person and virtual programming to some of California’s 279 state parks, which feature 5,200 miles of trails and 15,000 campsites.
Tuesday’s Land Appreciation Day marks the start of the week, which is hosted by California State Parks, the Save the Redwoods League, Parks California and the California State Parks Foundation.
Several events will open the week with an acknowledgment of indigenous tribes native to the lands on which state parks exist.
In the Bay Area, the public is invited to join a free evening walk Tuesday at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County, led by Desi Harp.
The 2 mile walk will be followed by a story about the indigenous people of the Mayacamas Mountains, told over a campfire. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and participants must register online.
Other California State Parks Week days will highlight state park careers for children, health and wellness, stewardship, partnership and volunteerism.
Bay Area kids can explore a junior ranger program at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park in Calistoga from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays.
Opportunities for the public to explore nature for mental health benefits Thursday through hiking, journaling, and even kite flying will be available throughout the Bay Area at Butano State Park. , Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, Mount Diablo State Park, Olompali State Historic Park, and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.
Community members can also learn about the environmental impact and clean up parks on Friday, including the dunes at Half Moon Bay State Beach and the Pescadero Marsh Nature Preserve.
The final day of the inaugural celebration week will bring volunteers to parks across the state to help with their preservation and upkeep. Bay Area residents can attend events in Calistoga, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Sonoma, Benicia, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.
California state park officials said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new appreciation for the outdoors, with state park visits increasing over the past two years.
“California State Parks Week highlights the important role parks play in communities across the state,” officials said in a news release. “California State Parks protects the best of the state’s natural and cultural history; more than 340 miles of coastline; the tallest, tallest, and some of the oldest trees in the world; and the deserts, lakes, rivers and beaches.”