Bill Passes State Legislature to Make California Park Campground Reservations Easier

A bill to make it easier for California state park campers to reserve campgrounds has passed the state legislature with near-unanimous support.

AB618Introduced by Rep. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-San Ramon), the bill aims to make sure states have space on demand by creating additional penalties to discourage late cancellations and no-shows. proposed amendments to its campground reservation policy.

The bill also directs the California State Park Service to introduce a lottery system at some of the most popular campgrounds and to offer discounts to low-income park visitors through the Golden Bear Pass.

“All Californians should have equal opportunity and access to reserve campsites within public parks,” Bauer-Kahan said in a report on the bill.

California has 279 individual parks, the most state parks in the nation, and nearly 7 million visitors stay at one of the state’s 15,000 campgrounds.

Despite this, more than half of campers experience difficulty finding a campsite to book, according to a survey conducted by the camping website. dirt — whether it’s because you booked your spot months in advance or because your hours were limited to 8am.

Bauer-Kahan’s office told KTLA’s sister station, KSWB, in April that current restrictions on booking campsites have added to the difficulty of access that outdoor enthusiasts have complained about. .

AB 618 encourages credit to be used towards another booking within 5 years if canceled at least 7 days prior to booking, but failure to show up after first day of booking will forfeit remaining booking . reserve.

The bill would limit the number of days a camper can stay at the same campsite to 30 days a year, as well as limit the booking period to seven consecutive nights during peak seasons.

These provisions apply to all state parks, including the 150 parks that do not use the California Reservation System.

But the new lottery system will only apply to up to five of the state’s most popular campgrounds starting in 2025. According to the bill, this would be determined by the State Park Service depending on reservation interest six months in advance of the reservation. date on site.

“(AB 618) proposes changes to the reservation system to encourage early cancellation, which should make more campsites available to everyone.” California State Parks Foundation I wrote about the bill. “Everyone should be able to enjoy our amazing state parks, and[this bill]implements a change of common sense to bring more people to these beautiful places.”

In addition to these reservation policy changes, AB 618 will offer a 25% discount on campsite reservations for approximately 41,000 low-income individuals who hold reservations. “Golden Bear” Annual Pass to a state park.

This pass is free to CalWORKs and Supplemental Income recipients and households below certain income levels.

According to the Congressional Appropriations Committee, the State Park Service estimates the ongoing annual cost of the measure to be about $256,000 from the General Fund for two positions in the department’s accounting office.

AB 618 was read for the first time in the State Senate on Thursday, June 1. The bill is awaiting commission assignments from the Rules Committee for legislative hearings. Bill Passes State Legislature to Make California Park Campground Reservations Easier

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