photo of youth on ATVsA study by the Urban Institute found that urban parks go far beyond the traditional uses as open space for recreation and programs. Parks contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of a person and their community. Parks Departments offer jobs and work experience, provide youth programs, health and fitness activities, and increase property values. [Download a copy of the article.]

In support of these findings, the OHMVR Division and partners put on the first annual Los Angeles County Youth Recreation Day on October 18, 2014. Approximately 75 under-served youth from the County of Los Angeles could try kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and an All-Terrain Vehicle riding experience. The newly formed San Andreas District provided outreach and an environmental education program that promotes responsible recreation.

The 2014 Youth Recreation Day was a great success—an illustration of how various public agencies can partner to provide something truly special for California’s urban youth. We plan to offer this event annually and expand the number of recreation-based programs provided. Using this event as a template, we hope to soon offer similar programs in urban areas throughout the state.

Partners included the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Castaic Lake staff, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, Friends of Castaic Lake, the California State Parks Boating and Waterways Division, California State Northridge, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.