Santa Maria receives $589,000 grant for outside recreation experiences


SANTA MARIA, California – The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department received a $589,000 grant that will be used to provide educational and fun outdoor experiences for children and families in the city.

“We’re seeing the importance of getting outside and enjoying what we have here in California during the pandemic,” said Dennis Smitherman, manager of recreation services.

This grant is funded by California State Parks and will help the community gain access to outdoor activities such as field trips, whale watching and more.

“It will really allow us to provide access to nature and the outdoors and have experiences that many Santa Maria residents have not been able to have,” Smitherman said.

This grant also aligns with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Outdoors for All initiative, which expands access to the outdoors for all Californians through targeted investments in open space infrastructure and other outdoor programs.

“I think what’s really good about this fellowship is not only that we’re bringing people back to nature, but that we’re able to provide leadership opportunities for youth and teenagers,” Smitherman said.

Many activities hosted by the Santa Maria Outdoor Recreation Experience program will take place at Buena Vista Park in Santa Maria.

Three years of activities are already in the works and are scheduled to start this summer.

“We have great adventure tours here in Santa Maria like whale watching, horseback riding and educational opportunities,” said Dennis Smitherman.