Research and Reports

To support decision-making by the Parks Forward Commission, the Parks Forward Initiative commissions research on a variety of topics, including State Parks’ finances, partnerships, and possibilities for increased funding. This work will be posted here as it becomes available. 

To see a list of the many consultants working on the Parks Forward Initiative, please click here

FTI Consulting. FTI Consulting is a global business consulting firm. In September 2013, they began work conducting a baseline financial assessment of State Parks’ current assets and operations. This work also looked at partnership arrangements and assessed maintenance backlog and prioritization.  FTI worked collaboratively with State Parks staff for nearly 10 weeks to identify how funds are budgeted, allocated, generated and spent at the department.  Their findings are outlined in the documents below.

Survey of Park-Related Public, Private, and Nonprofit Partnerships
PFI contracted with Destry Jarvis to provide a survey of park-related public, private, and nonprofit partnerships from around the country, including identification of best practices, effective partnerships, and successful collaborations in California and elsewhere. Mr. Jarvis has more than 40 years of experience in the parks, recreation, historic preservation, and youth service fields, including as Assistant Director at the National Park Service.

Potential Dedicated Revenue Sources for State Parks AB 1478 and 1589 mandated that an advisory council (now the Parks Forward Commission) identify “appropriate revenue sources for the Department and park units, including the General Fund, user fees, concessionaire and other operating revenues, existing special funds, and new fees, taxes and assessment opportunities.” In 2013 PFI hired the firm Forward Observer to look at potential dedicated public funding sources for State Parks.  Their report below summarizes six potential new revenue sources for the department.

Awareness, Attitude and Use of State Parks by IMPACTS Research and Development
In early 2014, the Parks Forward Initiative commissioned research by IMPACTS to learn more about the State Parks customer.  Scott Corwon presented his very interesting and informative research to the Parks Forward Commission at their February 12th meeting in Los Angeles.  A copy of Scott's powerpoint presentation is found here (link). Research focused on three different customer bases:  the general California population, millennials and Latinos. IMPACTS found that most visitors to State Parks do not differentiate between "type" of park, (ie. no brand awareness of State Park, National Park, regional or local).  Cabins (or other alternates to camping), special events and cultural/historical experiences provide the "greatest opportunity to optimize engagement" for both current and potential users.  Millennials, a critical audience, respond strongly to social media and other forms of digital communication.