State parks protect less than 1% of the state's landbase. Nearly half of the units in the system are smaller than 2,000 acres, and only eight units cover more than 3,000 acres. As a result, activities on the landscape beyond park boundaries increasingly affect the ecological integrity of the parks. The long-range goal in landscape planning is to maintain the ecological viability of the parks by encouraging the environmental compatibility of activities on surrounding lands.
Addressing such issues as water quality, adjacent land uses and transportation project impacts often requires the cooperation and assistance of other state, federal and local agencies. The quality of water flowing into the parks is critical to the maintenance of high quality natural communities and their associated aquatic species. Protection of water quality requires collaboration with regulatory agencies to ensure that they understand the potential effects of proposed discharges and construction activities in park watersheds. Local zoning and the review of environmental documents are tools that can help to avoid incompatible land uses next to the parks and to minimize the impacts of construction projects near the parks. Adapting our land acquisition plans or encouraging other conservation organizations to protect adjacent lands can help to maintain corridors of natural habitat to connect the parks to other natural lands. This is important for wildlife migrations but can also provide opportunities for expanded recreational use.