Thirteen State Parks to Close?
Trail at Bogachiel State Park. Governor Gregoire has proposed closing this and 12 other parks to save $10 million. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks.
As part of her plan to deal with a nearly $6 billion state budget deficit, governor Chris Gregoire has proposed closing 13 Washington state parks. Gregoire asked State Parks to come up with $10 million in savings, and the department responded by naming 13 parks that they believe are better suited to be managed as local or county parks (not that counties are exactly flush with cash right now, either.) The list follows:
- Lake Osoyoos
- Brooks Memorial
- Fay Bainbridge
- Fort Okanogan
- Fort Ward
- Joemma Beach
- Lake Sylvia
- Old Fort Townsend
Read more about the rationale behind the list in this blog on the News Tribune website.
Many of these parks have great low-elevation and family-friendly trails and beaches, including Bogachiel on the Olympic Peninsula, and Schafer in the Willapa Hills. While these parks don't offer rugged wilderness experiences, state parks are crucial for youth and families who want to begin to discover the outdoors, whether through hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife watching or beachcombing. Though WTA recognizes the need for fiscal discipline in the state budget, it's unfortunate that these parks are slated for closure. Cash-strapped local governments are unlikely to pick up the management of all these parks.
If you want to let your legislators know you oppose closure of state
parks, you can find out how to contact your elected officials at WTA's
online action center.
How do you feel about closing these state parks? Post a comment...