Monday, April 15, 2013

Wish State Parks a happier birthday

By Sarah Krueger, Public Lands Programs Manager

Peshastin Pinnacles.  Photo by Todd Gordon.
Washington is home to an incredibly diverse State Park system – where you can climb the sandstone spires of Peshastin Pinnacles, paddle the dynamic currents of Deception Pass or witness annual eagle migrations along the Skagit River at Rockport.  2013 marks the 100th birthday of Washington State Parks – but there seems to be little to celebrate.  A recent Seattle Times article by Lynda Mapes chronicles the demise of funding for state parks.
Realizing that Discover Pass sales alone won’t keep our parks open, the Washington State Parks Commission requested $27 million in general funding – however both the Senate and the House operating budgets fall short in their requests for the agency ($16.4 and $23.7 million, respectively).  For more about the state budget, see the recent post by volunteer Robert Dengel.
As budget negotiations begin behind closed doors for the coming weeks, the legislature needs to hear from constituents who care about keeping our State Parks open.    Contact your representatives today and ask them to support the House operating budget request of $23.7 million for State Parks.  Send an email through the Washington State Legislature website or call the legislative hotline at 1.800.562.600.  A personal message of support will take five minutes – but can mean millions to our State Parks!

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