Climate Goals for Natural Lands Define California’s Newest State Park

governor newsom at new state park, dos rios, in the central valley.

In partnership with the nonprofit River Partners, the restoration of Dos Rios was a 10-year, $40 million project from 11 different funding sources from the public and private sectors. (Credit: CA Governor Website)

by | Apr 23, 2024

This article is included in these additional categories:

On Monday, April 22, 2024, Governor Gavin Newsom marked a historic moment by breaking ground at the Dos Rios property in Modesto, California. This ceremony showcased the state’s newest state park in a decade. Scheduled to open its gates on June 12, this expansive 1,600-acre park is a cornerstone of the state’s overarching initiative to reduce emissions across its natural landscapes.

Dos Rios Park

Dos Rios will be the 281st park in California, located in the crop-rich Central Valley. This park will allow Californians to connect with nature via hiking and picnicking, with plans for swimming and boating access. Surrounded by expansive almond orchards and dairy pastures, the park lies near the intersection of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers.

As highlighted by Ali Manzo, a Central Valley native and California State Parks interpreter – “Dos Rios is not just a park. It’s a community treasure that offers peace, adventure, and a vital connection to nature”.

Accompanied by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, Manzo and the Governor utilized Earth Day to lay out plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions on natural lands. The goal? To be carbon neutral by 2045 implies removing as much carbon from the atmosphere as the state emits.

California’s Commitment to Reversing Climate Change

Governor Newsom acknowledged that “these are stretch goals, unquestionably. The good news is we’re making real progress.” He didn’t divulge specific details regarding the plan’s success indicators or the expected costs.

In alignment with Governor Newsom’s California Climate Commitment, the state has introduced 81 objectives for nature-oriented strategies today, aimed at propelling California towards its forefront position in combating climate change, notably achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

The targets are the offshoot of a law enacted by Newsom in 2022 that mandated the state’s Natural Resources Agency to devise a plan to reduce emissions from natural lands. This strategy will see approximately 53,000 square miles of land being preserved from wildfires through vegetation control methods, planting 4.2 million trees, managing and restoring 1.6 million acres of grasslands, and protecting over 233,000 acres of wetlands and seagrasses by 2045.

As Wade Crowfoot, the Natural Resources Secretary, remarked, the plan is “a big deal.” It’s a clear pivot from previously focusing climate policies on reducing emissions from energy sectors towards action on natural lands. Crowfoot stressed that “we not only need to reduce pollution significantly, but we also need to improve the health of our landscapes to remove carbon dioxide from the air.”

This announcement comes on the heels of California’s recent legislation to phase out the sale of new cars, lawnmowers, large trucks, and trains powered by fossil fuels. This commitment adds another layer to the state’s earnest efforts to combat climate change, having already invested about $9.6 billion since 2020 on strategies using the state’s natural lands.

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This