The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) has named Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) as its 2014 Legacy Award honoree, in recognition of his long-standing work protecting and advocating for California’s state parks. De León will be presented with the award during the Twelfth Annual Park Advocacy Day in Sacramento on Tuesday, May 6.
“Senator De León has been a leading voice for giving Californians greater park and recreation outlets to improve their communities and quality of life,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, CSPF president. “Although his own district contains only a few state parks, he understands an improved, more accessible state park system benefits all Californians. On behalf of the entire movement of state park supporters, we are pleased to recognize the achievements of Senator De León and look forward to continuing to work with him to make our parks even better.”
CSPF is honoring Senator De León for his commitment and leadership on state parks and local parks issues. For several years, he has been a leading voice in the Los Angeles region and the Capitol for developing Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP).
In the budget process last year, Senator De León helped ensure state funding for the development of LASHP was approved, facilitating progress toward a fully-implemented design for the park that will lead to enhanced community, regional, and statewide use.
He authored Senate Bill 783 in 2013 to raise visibility about the need for additional investments in local, regional and state park infrastructure, and has introduced a more updated park bond bill this session, Senate Bill 1086.
In addition to his work on behalf of state parks, Senator De León has long been a champion for bringing park resources into communities that do not have access to recreation outlets. In 2007, Senator De León authored Assembly Bill 31, which allocated park bond funding for new parks and recreational facilities in underserved communities.
“I’m honored to be recognized with the California State Parks Foundation’s Legacy Award,” said Senator De León. “Los Angeles State Historic Park represents a paradigm shift for our State Parks Department by providing our underserved urban residents local access to green and open spaces. Parks are important as they provide access to spaces that can lead to life-long habits of healthy living, including benefits to physical and mental health. Our state parks – from our beaches to our mountains - are an important part of the lure and experience of our state. We must ensure that all Californians have access to these sacred natural resources. It’s my pleasure to work with advocates to champion state parks and help bring new visitors and residents into our state parks system.”
As part of Park Advocacy Day, more than 100 park advocates plan to travel to the Capitol to show their support for state parks and urge legislative actions to continue to keep parks open. CSPF has been holding Park Advocacy Days for the last 12 years, reflecting its ongoing commitment to engaging Californians in the active protection and advocacy of their state parks.
Previous winners of the California State Parks Foundation Legacy Award include Senator Sheila Kuehl (2003), Senator Tom Torlakson (2004), Senator Denise Ducheny (2005), Assemblymember Fran Pavley (2004), Assemblymember John Laird (2005), Senator Wes Chesbro (2006), Assemblymember Tom Harman (2006), Assemblymember Pedro Nava (2007), Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (2007), Senator Christine Kehoe (2008), the California Legislative Black Caucus (2008), Congresswoman Susan Davis (2008), State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (2009), Senator Lois Wolk (2009), and Assemblymember Jared Huffman (2012). In 2010, CSPF honored park advocates across the state with its newly-inaugurated Grassroots Champion Awards. Additional Grassroots Champion Award winners include the California Travel Industry Association (2011), John Mott (2011), and Heath Hen Films (2013).
—California State Parks Foundation