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SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California State Parks is honoring the service of veterans, active and reserve military members, by offering them free admission to participating parks on Memorial Day – Monday, May 31, 2021. A total of 134 park units will be honoring the free admission this year, including state vehicular recreation areas and the California State Railroad Museum. 

“Thank you to the brave men and woman who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “In their honor, State Parks is offering military individuals complimentary admission to some of the most amazing places within California’s State Park System.”

Veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel must show a valid military ID, or proof of discharge other than dishonorable or bad conduct, in order to receive the free admission. AB 150 (Olsen), signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in 2013, authorized California State Parks to offer veterans, active duty, and reserve military personnel from the United States Armed Forces and the National Guard of any state a reduced or free day use at participating state parks.  As Memorial Day weekend approaches, State Parks anticipates large crowds on one of the busiest weekends of the year, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With new guidance provided by the California Dept. of Public Health, here are some guidelines for the public visiting our parks.

Recreate Responsibly

Protect yourself, family, friends and your community from COVID-19 by following these prevention measures while recreating in California’s State Park System: 

  • Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick. 
  • Plan Ahead — Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
  • Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips
  • Keep Your Distance — Avoid crowds. If there are too many people at a park or beach, please visit us on a different day. 
  • Wear a Mask – State Parks continues to follow the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health
    • Everyone: In indoor settings, such as museums and visitor centers, face coverings are required regardless of vaccination status. 
    • Fully Vaccinated Persons: Face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events.
    • Unvaccinated Persons: Face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Leave No Trace — Leave areas as you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.   

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures. The State of California recognizes that outdoor activity is critical for mental and physical health during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, State Parks has been working with local entities on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved.

For detailed information on how State Parks is helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.