The mission of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) is to provide 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, cultural and historical resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation for current and future generations to enjoy. With increased urbanization, the establishment of park units and recreation areas accessible to the major population centers of the state has become particularly important. Specific activities include stewardship of natural resources, historic, cultural and archeological sites, artifacts and structures, provision of interpretive services for park visitors, construction and maintenance of campsites, trails, visitor centers, museums, and infrastructure such as roads and water systems, and creation of recreational opportunities such as hiking, bicycling, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, jogging, camping, picnicking, and off-highway vehicle recreation.
Effective July 1, 2013, pursuant to the Governor's Reorganization Plan No. 2, the Department of Boating and Waterways merges into Parks. It is the Division of Boating and Waterways mission to provide safe and convenient public access to California's waterways and leadership in promoting safe, enjoyable and environmentally sound recreational boating.
Since department programs drive the need for infrastructure investment, each department has a related capital outlay program to support this need. For the specifics on the Department of Parks and Recreation's Capital Outlay Program, see "Infrastructure Overview."