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County Park Friends

Organization Mission

Our mission is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of Santa Cruz County parks and open spaces for recreational activities, arts and cultural activities to benefit all generations in our diverse community.

We have two lines of work:
1. Places: Capital improvements (raised, then donated directly to County Parks)
2. People: Programs — Educational, Equity, and ParkRx

The Big Idea 2023:
Parks = Health + Equity

Imagine a Santa Cruz County where everyone can access the amazing natural resources that make our home so special. Time in nature is shown to improve mental and physical health — and you can help us knock down barriers to access (such as fees, language, transportation, and accessibility).

We make sure our public spaces and programs (such as swim lessons, wheelchair basketball and docent-led family exploration hikes) are truly welcoming so every kid can experience the wonder, health, wellness and joy available in our parks, beaches and trails. We ask you to invest in our free programming designed for health and wellness to ensure our community can thrive.

My kids loved the swimming lessons and the chance to get out after over a year of quarantine. My daughter loved the folkloric classes because they have helped her a lot in her physical health — she lost 13 pounds in less than a month just from dancing folklorico. She was suffering from anxiety and just wanted to eat. After the presentation of a folk dance for the children at the Felt Park community celebration Corazón de Mujer, my daughter hugged me and said "Mommy, my dream came true."

JS, mother of 3 children in Live Oak