California State Parks today enters a new era with its new digital Passport Program, driven by OuterSpatial, designed to increase access and engagement with the state’s 280 parks. The digital Passport Program invites people – whether they’re lifelong park lovers or first-time visitors – to compete and gain social status from collecting badges. No more carrying around paper passports to get stamped at the visitor center. The new Passport Program augments the existing features of the OuterSpatial-designed California State Parks App, which included park closures, directions, and wayfinding in one place.
“Spending time outside has many proven benefits almost as numerous as we have parks in this state, improving mental and physical health, inspiring creativity and connection, and helping visitors discover their world,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “Plus, it’s fun! This new Passport Program adds a layer of play that’ll help entice new visitors – especially digital natives and folks more accustomed to screens and feeds than streams and fields – to find that out for themselves.”
How it Works: Download, Adventure, and Share!
Now California park visitors can use the official app of California State Parks to track visits to California’s 280 extraordinary state parks and, as with a traditional passport, earn badges for each visit! If on an iOS or Android device, the link will prompt the download and take the visitor directly to the California State Parks community and its Passport Program. If on a desktop device, following the link will take the visitor to the California State Parks community on the OuterSpatial website, where they can then seamlessly transition into the app using tooling on the website.
Once the app is downloaded, participation in the Passport Program is simple:
- Get Out and Check-In: Participants can check in at each park they visit and receive a badge.
- Snap and Share: Add photos and share the majesty of California with friends.
- Build Badge Collection: Check-ins will be added to each user’s app profile, so they can track which parks they’ve visited, which are still on their bucket list and challenge others to explore the most.
“As a newly appointed California State Park and Recreation Commissioner, I am committed to visiting all 280 state parks so that we can better engage the public with our park system and increase access to our beautiful state parks. I’m at 23 parks so far and I’m totally blown away by the beauty and diversity of our incredible system, and the dedication and commitment of staff,” said Commissioner Francesca Vietor. “I encourage everyone to follow me virtually on my challenge to visit every state park at @ParksTourCA and share what you love about them.”
“With the digital Passport Program and interactive enhancements in the app, everyone will have the opportunity to create personal and meaningful relationships with parks while also developing a deeper experience – both during their park visit and long after they leave through digital community engagement,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President and CEO of Parks California. “These lasting connections will foster the next generation of park stewards who will protect these amazing places.”
The State of California champions the right of all Californians to have access to recreational opportunities and enjoy the cultural, historic, and natural resources found across the state. The state is prioritizing efforts to expand all Californians’ access to parks, open space, nature and cultural amenities. This priority requires focusing funding and programs to expand opportunities to enjoy these places. As part of Governor Newsom’s “California for All”, the Outdoors for All initiative includes three free ways to visit the state’s parks, from the California State Park Adventure Pass designed for all of the state’s fourth graders, to the California State Park Library Pass available to anyone with a library card, and the Golden Bear Pass, for residents receiving CalWORKs, and for individuals participating in SSI and low-income adults 62. Additionally, all older adults 62 and over can apply for a Limited Use Golden Bear Pass, for off-season access.
“We believe in empowering organizations to deliver the best outdoor experience to visitors. The State of California has done incredible work to provide easy access to the outdoors to people of all ages and abilities, and it’s a huge milestone for OuterSpatial to partner with California State Parks and its new digital Passport Program as part of that progress,” said Ryan Branciforte, CEO of OuterSpatial. “Our collaboration will help accelerate their popular Passport Program and will encourage a diverse audience to enjoy all that California has to offer, from its oceans, mountains, lakes, and deserts, to the rest of what its parks have to offer.”
About California State Parks
California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.
OuterSpatial is a technology platform built specifically to support outdoor organizations that want to engage with their visitors in new and innovative ways. The platform is used by more than 150 of the world’s best parks and recreation organizations.