Washington parks face emergency budget cuts

Dec 6, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s state park system is facing an emergency funding crisis. The Parks Commission will meet Tuesday to vote on a plan to immediately cut $11 million from the budget.

The crisis comes as sales of the new Discover Pass lag.

Projected revenues are off $2 million since July when the parks system moved to an entry fee as its main source of funding.

Agency spokeswoman Sandy Mealing says at this point there’s no plan to shutter any of Washington’s more than 100 state parks.

“An absolute last resort," she says. "And the Commission isn’t even discussing closing parks because we’ve got to get the Discover Pass in front of people so that they understand that this is a vital funding source for their parks system now and closing parks is counterproductive to doing that.”

However, some parks may go unstaffed a couple of days at week. Notices are going out to employees who face the possibility of getting laid-off or being reduced from full-time to seasonal employment.

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