California’s State Assembly has approved AB 618, a groundbreaking bill aimed at simplifying campsite reservations and enhancing the camping experience in state parks.
The legislation, proposed by Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, garnered strong support from Assembly members, demonstrating their commitment to improving access to California’s vast parklands. With more than 279 parks and 15,000 campsites, many campers have struggled to secure reservations due to the need to book far in advance and the limited reservation window.
AB 618 aims to tackle late cancellations and no-shows by implementing stricter penalties. In accordance with the legislation, cancellations made at least seven days prior to a reservation will be rewarded with a credit that can be utilized for another booking within five years. Conversely, individuals who fail to show up after the first day of their reservation will lose the remainder of their booking.
Additionally, the bill introduces an innovative reservation approach: a lottery system for highly coveted campsites. Expected to launch in 2025, this system will enhance fairness by randomly allocating campsites based on the State Parks Department’s analysis of booking interest observed six months ahead of the reservation date.
The bill also considers financial accessibility by offering a 25% discount for low-income individuals holding the Golden Bear pass. While the legislation presents ongoing costs, it has the potential to serve as a model for other states striving to provide equitable access to their natural treasures.
The bill is now awaiting committee assignment before progressing further, drawing the attention of outdoor enthusiasts and advocates for fair access to public lands.
You can read our previous article on the bill, with more information, here.