News Release 12-046
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
Linda Burnett (360) 902-8561
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388
State Parks Commission regular meeting set for Yakima next week
May 17, 2012 –
At its regular meeting next week in Yakima, The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will hear a status update on work to define the future of Fort Worden State Park and a process update on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for ski-area expansion at Mount Spokane State Park.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Harmon Center, 101 N. 65th Ave., Yakima. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment is provided at all regular meetings, which are scheduled seven times a year at pre-determined locations around the state.
The Fort Worden report will include updates on discussions and progress between the State Parks Commission and the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority (FWPDA) on how to continue moving forward toward creating a Lifelong Learning Center at the park. No Commission action is scheduled. Discussions continue on the future of management and governance, as well as potential support or opposition by various stakeholders and staff. The concept has been in discussion since 2008. The 2012 Legislature passed a proviso in March clarifying that Fort Worden will remain a state park, that State Parks will support the development of a business plan and a governance model for the long-term management of the park by the FWPDA and to have the plan ready for review in September by the state Office of Financial Management and a mutually agreed-upon business plan consultant.
Mount Spokane’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was released April 26 for public review, with a 30-day comment period ending on May 29. Mt. Spokane 2000, the ski resort concessionaire within the park, has proposed expansion of the resort to accommodate alpine skiing on the back side of the mountain. In May of 2011, the Commission approved a land classification that would allow alpine skiing. No action is scheduled by the Commission; the update will provide the current status of the ski-area expansion environmental review process.
The Commission is expected to consider action on a policy revision for real estate transactions primarily focused on utility use on State Park lands. Changes include a fee update and some fee increases on property agreements to be more in line with market prices. The proposed changes also shift authority to the director for some types of transactions. The proposed policy additionally clarifies details of establishing fair market value using adjacent assessed property values and other tools and to establish the types of situations where third-party appraisal assistance may be needed.
In other business, the Commission will consider a grazing lease and land classification change at Pearrygin Lake State Park; setting priorities for expenditure of an additional $4 million added to the Commission’s budget in the 2012 Supplemental Budget; and adoption of a 2013 regular meeting schedule for the Commission.
The Commission also will consider three appointments to the Washington State Horse Park Authority Board – Mitch Williams of Ellensburg, to a second, three-year term and Lothar Pinkars of Bellevue and Daniel Farber of Mount Vernon – also an employee of Washington State Parks – each to new three-year terms. In addition, the Commission will consider delegating to the State Parks director the authority to make future Authority Board appointments.
Gov. Mike Lowry created the Authority Board in 1995, with members appointed by the governor. A statutory change in 2011 moved appointment of Authority Board members from the governor to the State Parks Commission. The horse park, located west of Cle Elum, was constructed in 2010, with cooperation between the Authority and about a dozen outside entities that included Suncadia Resort and the City of Cle Elum. A $3.5 million appropriation in the 2007-09 capital budget paid for the construction on donated land. The City took over ownership of the property and issued a long-term lease to the Authority. The park currently serves as a model of a stand-alone, non-profit organization owned, managed and sustained by the horse community, with a vision of becoming the premier Pacific Northwest destination for recreation and competition. The horse park was the location for nearly 30 events last year.
Commission work session: A Commission work session is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, at Oxford Suites, 1701 E. Yakima Ave., Yakima. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no public testimony and no formal Commission action are taken. Several county commissioners from around the state will represent the Washington State Association of Counties in a discussion with the Commission about how State Parks and counties can work together in the future. Other work session topics include updates on the agency’s budget, marketing efforts, operations, leased properties, public outreach, statewide forest health, an agency transformation strategy and a legislative report.