News Release 13-040
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
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service:
State Parks Commission regular meeting
set in Anacortes next week
Aug. 1, 2013 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will have its regular meeting in Anacortes next week.
The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Anacortes City Hall, 904 Sixth St., Anacortes. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment is provided at all regular Commission meetings, which are scheduled six times a year at locations around the state.
The Commission has scheduled an item related to governance at Fort Worden State Park. If the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority (PDA) approves a proposed lease agreement at its board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6, then the Parks and Recreation Commission will consider approval of the proposed lease at the Aug. 8 regular Commission meeting. If the PDA board does not approve the proposal on Tuesday, the Commission may postpone consideration on Aug. 8.
The 50-year lease agreement under consideration would lay out the details under which the PDA would manage the “campus” or convention center and rental facilities portion of the park, while State Parks would continue to manage the campground, trails, beach and other natural areas at Fort Worden State Park. The management arrangement has been in discussion for several years. Commission approval requires a unanimous vote, as for any 50-year agreement.
The Commission also will consider authorizing the agency to sell excess timber resulting from the planned cutting of diseased trees at Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah. The tree prescription is in place to reduce risk to park visitors and neighbors. Laminated root rot and Armillaria root disease in trees at the park have led to high numbers of tree failure; the diseases undermine the structure of trees, so that normal-looking trees can fall without warning. The tree prescription also is in place to preserve forest health in the park’s day-use forest area. In alignment with state statutes and Commission policy, staff held a public meeting, satisfied environmental regulations and consulted with Native American tribes on proposed forest health activities as part of the formal request for Commission approval of the timber sale. The tree work would begin in the fall and be completed by Thanksgiving.
Timber anticipated for removal is estimated at 170,000 board feet. Leaving the trees on the ground is incompatible with recreational uses and increases the risk of wildfire and bark beetle infestations. According to agency policy, any proceeds of such a timber sale could only be used for natural resources stewardship and interpretive activities.
Also on the agenda are proposed revisions to Washington Administrative Code (WAC). One proposal would give the State Parks director authority to make adjustments to length-of-stay rules in parks as camping trends and demands vary. Another consideration is to discontinue allowing people with Sno-Park permits from neighboring states and provinces to use their permit to access services in Washington state Sno-Parks. A staff analysis shows that the out-of-state permits are no longer reciprocal, so Washington loses money when other states’ permits are used, while in-state residents pay more for the same recreation opportunities. Another proposal is to change the valid dates of the seasonal Sno-Park permit so that it is valid from December 1 through April 30, to be consistent with program recreation services and to reflect actual Sno-Park open dates. Currently the valid dates for these permits are October 1 to May 1.
The Commission will consider a policy on state park access and use of Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs), various mobility devices used by people with mobility disabilities. The proposed policy was informed by public comment from a January 2013 public review and is based on federal rules, as well. The proposal includes such things as requiring OPDMDs with internal combustion engines to have approved spark arrestors and muffler devices that meet Clean Air standards and setting speed limits and distances from other trail users. The policy generally allows those with mobility disabilities parkland access on these devices so long as they don’t pose a safety risk or create substantial risk of serious harm to the environment or natural or cultural resources.
A proposed 2014 work session and regular Commission meeting schedule will be up for consideration as well. Commission meetings are held at various locations around the state so that the public has an opportunity to attend and interact with the Commission and so the Commission can visit parks and recreation lands affected by their decisions and policies. The proposed 2014 schedule is:
• January 22 and 23, Olympia
• March 26 and 27, Chehalis
• May 28 and 29, Winthrop
• July 23 and 24, Bellingham
• September 17 and 18, Long Beach
• November 19 and 20, Spokane and Cheney
In other business, the Commission will consider giving authority to the director to request supplemental operating and/or capital budget funds and 2014 request legislation. Several reports will be presented, including a 2011-13 financial report; 2013 Legislative Session; statewide land inholdings and adjacent property acquisitions; a 2012 volunteer report; and the Strategic Plan under development.
Commission work session: A Commission work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, in the Anacortes Library, 1220 10th St., Anacortes. Work session topics include finances and the agency 13-15 Operating and Capital budgets; Transformation Strategy and Strategic Plan; Human Resources update; review of past and future acquisitions and development; performance improvement and the Fort Worden Management Agreement.
Work sessions are open to the public, however no public testimony is heard and no formal Commission action is taken at work sessions.
Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WaStatePks_NEWS and www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and is celebrating Centennial 2013 with events in parks all over the state, all year long. For more information, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.