Public Access Program

field of wildflowers under blue sky


WCB has a new streamlined application process!

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) is now using a streamlined application process across all WCB programs. More information is available in the General Grant Guidelines (March 2022) (PDF).


Access to nature contributes to our sense of community, connection to wild places, and desire to be stewards of the land. Conservation starts with individuals, families, and communities finding value in natural and wild lands.Fishing pier with Mount Shasta in the background.

The Public Access Program is one of the original Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) programs established in 1947.  Initially the Public Access Program worked with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to support projects focused on the protection and development of public access areas and the promotion of hunting and fishing opportunities. This program funded construction of fishing piers, fishing ponds, boat ramps, wetlands for waterfowl, duck blinds, and development of parking lots and restrooms at CDFW-managed wildlife areas. Over time the public demand for other wildlife-oriented uses grew to include uses such as bird watching, kayaking, and hiking. The WCB's authority expanded to new partners, and broadened its program to accommodate new uses, including ADA trails, kayak "put-in" areas, interpretive signs, and bird observation shelters. Since 1949, WCB has funded nearly 700 public access projects!

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Fishing Pier

Millions of birds flock to CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area which provides outstanding wildlife viewing, outdoor education, nature trails, fishing, and hunting Gray Lodge Fishing Pieropportunities. Gray Lodge is a year-round destination. Viewing platforms, trails, and a three-mile auto tour are available for wildlife viewing. More than 300constructed fishing pier over water species live or pass through the nearly 9,100 acres of grassy fields, wooded riparian areas, and ponds. Anglers enjoy ponds and canals that support bass, sunfish, perch, catfish, and carp. Nature programs and trail walks are available to school groups. Nearly 86,000 visitors also enjoy Gray Lodge Wildlife Area annually.

The Gray Lodge Fishing Pier project provides additional accessible opportunities to visitors. This project constructed a 580-square-foot long fishing platform accessible to those with mobility impairments. The fishing pier faces north and has views of seasonal wetlands and the nature trail. This project provides a safe, accessible platform that provides fishing access to everyone.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island Boat Launch

The Shelter Island Boat Launch facility was completely demolished, and a new, larger, safer boat launch was built for $9.6 million dollars. Shelter Island provides year-round recreational fishing and boating opportunities. Approximately, 48,000 boaters use this free facility annually-- making it one of the busiest boat launches in California.

The Shelter Island Boat Launch renovation included:

  • Larger area for better maneuverability,
  • Modern, safe 10-lane boat launch,
  • Longer boarding floats,
  • Parking lot improvements,
  • ADA compliant restroom,
  • ADA parking improvements, andShelter Island Boat Launch
  • Walking and viewing platform.

The partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Board, San Diego Unified Port District, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration Act made this project possible. Anglers and boaters are  important partners in this project. Nearly $7 million reimbursement dollars came from anglers and boaters through the Sport Fish Restoration Act funds collected in the form of federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and marine fuels.


Point Isabel

Point Isabel water entry point showing small breakwater

Accessible pathway to water

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is a popular destination for kayakers, wind surfers, paddle boarders, and dogs! It has spectacular views of San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge. The park provides great opportunities for bird watching and fishing. Point Isabel is also the designated start to the San Francisco Bay Water Trail.

With a WCB grant, East Bay Regional Parks created an accessible non-motorized launch ramp at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. This project constructed a 100-foot ADA accessible launch ramp for kayakers, wind surfers, and other non-motorized boat users. The project made improvements to the breakwater protecting boaters as they enter the water. ADA improvements include bringing ADA parking stalls up to current standards and an accessible path from the parking area to the launch area. The project also includes creation of a 3,000 square foot rigging area.


Wildlife Conservation Board
Physical Address: 715 P Street, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
Mailing Address: Wildlife Conservation Board c/o CDFW, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 445-8448 | Contact WCB