SAN DIEGO — A new program that aims to give residents a more enjoyable experience with nature at San Diego County’s 23 regional parks was launched Wednesday at Los Peñasquitos Canyon County Preserve.

Experience the Outdoors is designed to eliminate financial, equipment and training barriers so people who haven’t been to parks can enjoy what they provide, county officials stated in a release.

“With this initiative we’re working to eliminate people’s anxiety about setting up a tent, paying fees, or learning a new skill,” San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said during a press conference Wednesday. “By making the activities associated with Experience the Outdoors free we are removing barriers that might prevent someone from visiting one of our 23 Regional Parks, and opening their minds to the possibilities that exist when you visit a County Park.”   

Examples of activities the program offers include a camping demonstration about how to build a tent; bike gear check, safety info and trail etiquette with San Diego Mountain Biking Association, REI and others; and a youth nature hike to discuss birds, the creek, plants and animals with Department of Parks and Recreation staff.

County officials say registration is required for classes needing borrowed equipment. The program is currently scheduled to run through June 2023.