The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting the public to participate in a community engagement and outreach process to help inform future planning and funding allocation to address regional and rural park and recreation needs.
As a focused update to the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment, this effort is called the Regional and Rural Edition. Specifically, it will apply an equity lens to comprehensively identify, analyze, map, and document:
– The need for Regional facilities, including regional parks, beaches and lakes, trails, and natural areas and open spaces; and
– The park needs of Rural communities which are primarily located in the Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley, and Santa Monica Mountains.
With the support of the Regional Park and Open Space District, L.A. County Parks has initiated the Regional and Rural Edition in response to a motion by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors which called for the development of a needs assessment to address regional recreation, beaches, rural areas, and open space. It is also appropriate to study and evaluate regional and rural park and recreation needs at this time given that outdoor public spaces, such as beaches, local and regional parks, natural areas, and trails, have all become very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek opportunities for recreation and respite.
Designed to be extensive and inclusive, the community engagement and outreach process will be launched by L.A. County Parks in March 2021 in partnership with other County departments, community-based organizations, and other groups. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on in-person meetings and group gatherings, the process will consist primarily of online methods of engagement and physically distanced activities, including the following:
Project Website Updates (https://lacountyparkneeds.org/)
Social Media, including photo competitions
“Parks are a matter of public health, social equity and serve a vital role in supporting resilient communities throughout Los Angeles County,” said Norma E. García-Gonzalez, Director of LA County Parks and Recreation. “We are excited to embark on this community outreach process that will enable us to better understand and document regional and rural park and recreation needs directly from the public. We encourage all Los Angeles County residents to participate and get involved. Their input will help inform planning and funding allocation for regional parks, open space, and trails.”
L.A. County Parks has also convened a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to help inform and guide the process of data collection and analysis, development of metrics, community engagement and outreach, and other key aspects of the project. The TAC includes representatives from a broad range of agencies and organizations with expertise in geographic information systems (GIS), beaches, parks, public health, regional planning, transportation, open space and conservation, and sustainability, including:
Cal Poly Pomona
L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors
L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation
L.A. County Department of Public Health
L.A. County Department of Regional Planning
National Recreation and Park Association
Southern California Association of Governments
The Nature Conservancy
The Wilderness Society
UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
“Unprecedented numbers of visitors to our regional parks and trails highlight the need for individuals and families to have access to parks and open space, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ said Norma E. García-Gonzalez, director of L.A. County Parks and Recreation. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that the future of our parks reflects the needs and interests of our diverse, growing population.”
L.A. County Parks is the lead agency charged with updates and implementation of the Countywide Parks Needs Assessment. The 2016 Parks Needs Assessment involved a 14-month process that included data collection and analysis, engagement with stakeholders and community members in cities and unincorporated areas, prioritization and cost estimation of prioritized park projects, and the determination of the level of park need in each study area based on a suite of metrics. The 2016 Parks Needs Assessment directly informed the development of Measure A, a Countywide funding measure for parks approved by nearly 75% of LA County voters in November 2016 and generated more than $90 million annually.
Per direction from the Board of Supervisors and the Grants Administration Manual for Measure A, the results of the Regional and Rural Edition will be used to help inform project planning and the competitive grant process. The Regional and Rural Edition will also provide valuable data and analyses to inform future park and recreation planning efforts by L.A. County Parks, cities, and other stakeholders.
For more information about the Regional and Rural Edition and the 2016 Parks Needs Assessment, please visit https://lacountyparkneeds.org/.
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About L.A. County Parks and Recreation
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation manages 183 parks and operates a network of 70,079 acres of parkland, 475 sports amenities such as futsal, basketball, tennis, lawn bowling and multipurpose fields, 42 swimming pools, 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 10 nature centers that serve as a refuge for over 200 animals, 14 lakes – 3 of which are boating and swimming lakes, 5 equestrians centers, more than 210 miles of multi-use trails, the largest municipal golf system in the nation, consisting of 20 golf courses, in addition to the world-class Arboreta and Botanic Gardens and performance venues – Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Virginia Robinson Gardens and South Coast Botanic Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl and Ford Theaters.