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Kids and the great outdoors


Last updated 6/30/2018 at 4:17pm

Electronic devices and virtual reality can be great, but there’s nothing like experiencing nature first hand. Unfortunately, many youth living in inner cities and underserved communities never have the opportunity to really experience the outdoors.

The benefits of recreating are many, including healthy exercise, learning about nature, acquiring new skills and making friends. To help make that happen, I voted in favor of Assembly Bill 2614, introduced by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D–Los Angeles), when it passed the Assembly May 31.

The bill requires the Natural Resources Agency to compile a list of schools that can contract with nonprofit organizations to provide transportation services. By allowing school busses that go unused on weekends or during vacation periods to provide transportation services for youth, better utilization of public resources will be encouraged. For many kids, shutting off the video game or the iPhone to go take a hike, go to the beach, camp or go fishing will open up possibilities and life experiences that were never dreamed of.

AB 2614 is supported by the California Parks and Recreation Society, California Outdoor Recreation Partners, the Trust for Public Land, Outdoor Afro, Westfield State University and many other groups. I’m happy to report the bill has wide bi-partisan support and has now been forwarded to the Senate, where hearings are pending in the Natural Resources and Water Committee.

With more than 280 parks covering about 1.4 million acres in the California State Parks system, including Palomar Mountain and Anza Borrego State Parks, we have ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Our parks belong to all of us – let’s help make sure our kids get to use them.


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