Parks and Recreation Element


In 1994, the City adopted a General Plan Parks and Recreation Element (Resolution 945-26) to serve as the central policy document to guide the provision of parks and recreation in the City.  The Element considered a wide variety of recreation programs with policies addressing the community’s desire to provide a wide spectrum of parks and recreation opportunities and facilities; encouraging cooperative agreements with other government entities and public/private partnerships to enhance the availability of recreation programs; and emphasized fiscal responsibility and the objective to minimize environmental impacts.  This Element was maintained as a separately bound document in the Arcata General Plan, 2020.

 In 2010, the City updated its Parks & Recreation Master Plan, originally compiled in 1979 and updated with the preparation of the Parks and Recreation Element in 1994. The Parks & Recreation Master Plan establishes a vision for a sustainable and interconnected parks and recreation system relying on local standards and guidelines and a comprehensive implementation strategy to addresses community needs.  This Parks and Recreation Element updates the policies and program of the 1994 Element and incorporates the vision and objectives of the 2010 Parks & Recreation Master Plan. This new updated Element constitutes a complete re-write of the previous 1994 version and no tracked changes version applies.

Existing Parks and Recreation System Overview.  The City of Arcata is a unique community, in terms of the parks, trails, and recreation opportunities it provides. The City owns and maintains more than 3,744 acres of parkland at 41 sites. The City’s system for classifying parks is based on National Recreation and Park Association standards but defines park types and appropriate levels of service to reflect the unique characteristics of Arcata and to facilitate future parks planning for the City.  Arcata’s classification system includes: 

  • Neighborhood Parks which provide access to basic recreation opportunities for nearby residents; 
  • Community Parks which are larger parks that provide both active and passive recreation opportunities and that appeal to the entire community; 
  • Special Use Areas which are stand-alone recreation facilities not located within larger parks; 
  • Greenways and Linear Parks that are natural or built corridors that provide green buffers between communities or around the city; and 
  • Natural Areas that are undeveloped lands left in a natural state for conservation or outdoor recreation.

Available Documents

Planning Commission Reccommendation July 11, 2023:
Parks and Recreation Element (complete re-write of 1994 Element)

updated PRE Opens in new window
Download version HERE.