We are happy to report that Rec and Park has been awarded an Outdoor Environmental Education Grant for $250,000 from the California Natural Resources Agency Department of Parks and Recreation to help fund trail improvements in McLaren Park. This funding will supplement the 2012 Bond funding that we have committed for the project.
The majority of this funding will go to improvements in the “Shelley Loop Interior,” which is one of the 4 priority areas identified by the McLaren Vision Plan.
For decades McLaren Park’s natural areas have been used by the RPD’s Youth Stewardship Program (YSP) and several non-profits to support their outdoor environmental education programs. The Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative (WALC) and Kids-in-Park have been conducting environmental programming at McLaren for many years.
WALC is an academic environmental education program at Balboa and Downtown Continuation High Schools. This program serves predominately low income and high risk students. Kids in Parks has provided environmental education to more than 5,000 underserved students in the city.
The grant will support environmental education by addressing poor trail alignment, planting natives in areas damaged by erosion, and installing interpretive and wayfinding signage. These improvements will help protect and improve the natural areas so they can continue to support outdoor environmental education for future generations.
The Shelley Loop interior trails provide an important connection between the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater and the McLaren Park Group Picnic Area and improvements funded by this grant will increase opportunities for the public to access and explore the park’s interior trail system.