News Release 11-066
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Virginia Painter (360) 902-8562
Sandy Mealing (360) 902-8559
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service:
State Parks Commission will discuss budget, long-term transformation strategy
Nov. 9, 2011 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss short- and long-term budget challenges facing the park system at its regular meeting next week at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island near Stanwood.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at Cama Beach State Park, 1880 S. West Camano Drive, Camano Island. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/.
As part of the budget discussion, the Commission is expected to adopt a message to the public about how its budget challenges will be met, given that the Discover Pass is still new and that revenues raised during these early days of the program may not rise fully to replace lost general fund. The Commission has directed staff to begin work on a contingency plan for how it will operate at a reduced level through the current biennium, with a focus on keeping as many parks open as possible. Staff is working on alternative operating and staffing models for the short-term, while also working on a transformation strategy that will build partnerships and grow promotional and enterprise capability toward a sustainable future.
Dedicated public comment session: In addition to the regular public comment period for issues not
on the agenda, the Commission is designating time from 2 to 4 p.m. to hear public comment on the Discover Pass and feedback about the future direction of State Parks. Each speaker will have three minutes to speak.
In other business, the Commission will consider authorizing staff to develop a cooperative management agreement with Grant County Public Utility District for the interim operation of The Cove, a recreation site that would be managed in conjunction with State Parks’ Wanapum Recreational Area at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. Such a co-management agreement is a potential model to expand public recreation and resource stewardship in a financially sustainable way.
Also on the agenda is consideration of categories and request level for the 2013-15 Capital Budget. The Commission will consider a request target level of $40 million before program support and indirect costs. Priorities or project categories will be projects that support public and employee health and safety; projects that maximize Discover Pass sales and compliance; or projects that result in visitor experiences that in turn support a financially sustainable park system.
The Commission also will hear several reports, including a regular agency audit update; the 2010-11 Winter Recreation Program Annual Report; an update on a salt marsh estuary restoration proposal at Camano Island State Park; a report on Special Legislative session and the agency budget.
The Commission also will consider approving a request at Willapa Hills Trailhead in Chehalis from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for access and improvements to an existing underground power conduit to a signal station along their railroad track mainline. The Willapa Hills Trail was acquired from the railroad through the Rails to Trails Conservancy program in 1993. The eastern terminus of the trail is just south of Interstate 5 exit 79 in Chehalis and extends west approximately 56 miles to the western terminus at South Bend. The eastern terminus has been in development as a trailhead for hikers, cyclists and horseback riding.
Public recognition of donors to Cama Beach State Park: At 1 p.m., the Commission will take a one-hour recess for a special public recognition of members of the Worthington and Hamalainen
family, who, through the Washington State Parks Foundation, donated several million dollars toward development of Cama Beach State Park over many years. The recognition time will celebrate the completion of the Cama Center. The dining and meeting facility is part of the family’s expressed dream of turning the mid-20th-century fishing resort into a state park for all to enjoy. Following a brief presentation ceremony, there will be a short reception and social time. The meeting will reconvene for public comment at 2 p.m.
Commission work session: A Commission work session is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Cama Beach State Park, 1800 S. West Camano Drive, Camano Island. Work sessions are open to the public however, no public testimony will be heard and no formal action taken. Work session topics include Centennial 2013 Goal update and changes; director’s agreement and delegation of authority; budget update; Discover Pass update; Commission and staff task force on cost and revenue; transformation strategy; Governor’s Lean process; summary of items in the union contract.