Regular Commission meeting in DuPont next week
OLYMPIA – March 17, 2015 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission next week will consider approving guidelines for some business and enterprise land management activities within its real estate management policy.
The guidelines are among agenda items for the Commission’s regular meeting, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at the DuPont Better Business Bureau, 1000 Station Drive, DuPont. 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 convened six times a year at locations around the state. Directions to the meeting are here: http://j.mp/1bdYFzr
The Commission will consider approving guidelines for permitting recreation business activities in parks, along with criteria to guide identification and designation of surplus lands for revenue-generating purposes. In January, the Commission adopted changes to the agency’s real estate management policies to allow some forms of privately financed development on State Parks land.
The policy sets out recreation business activities as privately financed recreational facilities that provide additional amenities for park visitors. Enterprise Lands are surplus properties that the agency may lease to other entities. Both provide opportunities to generate net revenues to support the park system.
In a separate but related agenda item, the Commission will consider designating as surplus a 1.5-acre commercial Auburn property. The requested action would additionally designate the property as Enterprise Land, meaning it could be leased to a private company wishing to develop it. Proceeds from the lease would benefit the state park system.
Care of historic properties also will be discussed. The Commission will be asked to adopt scoring criteria to prioritize State Parks’ collection of historic properties as part of the agency’s Cultural Heritage Initiative. Washington State Parks is the largest single owner of historic properties in Washington. The agency faces a $470 million building and infrastructure maintenance backlog, with historic properties accounting for about half of the backlog. To address the deficiency, the agency needs to determine which historic properties are the highest priorities for preservation treatment. Staff is proposing a scoring system based on significance, need and importance to the operation of the park.
State Parks works with many other agencies and entities to pursue projects that benefit the resources and the public, and the agency director has the authority to sign short-term agreements with other government entities. An item next week will confirm this delegation and include sovereign governments such as Tribes. The agency makes agreements with other government entities for the purpose of protecting or improving natural and cultural resources or public health, safety and welfare. Such agreements are for a period of up to five years and do not authorize other entities to operate entire parks or major facilities within a park.
In a related but separate item, the Commission also will affirm a previous memorandum of understanding signed in April 2014 by State Parks and the Nisqually Tribe. For several years, the two entities have been working collaboratively to develop an agreement to partner on the acquisition, development and management of Nisqually State Park, west of Mount Rainier National Park on the Nisqually and Mashel rivers. The park will include trails, interpretive features and a visitor facility. The memorandum of understanding allows the Tribe and state agency to work together on a park day-use facility and on habitat restoration and resource protection projects.
In other business, the Commission will consider proposing an administrative rule change that will allow use of wind-powered vehicles on designated ocean beaches within State Parks jurisdiction, subject to conditions that include safe operating requirements and designated operating hours. Wind-powered vehicles were previously prohibited on Washington ocean beaches.
Reports to the Commission include financial and legislative updates, as well as results of a 2015 employee engagement survey.
Work session: A Commission work session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at the DuPont Better Business Bureau, 1000 Station Drive, DuPont. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no time is scheduled for public testimony, and the Commission takes no formal action at work sessions.
Topics on the work session agenda include Commission meeting protocol and recent training; the agency’s Collections Program; Social Media; Marketing; Lake Sammamish State Park partnership with City of Issaquah; and 2014 Director’s Performance Review.
Commission tour: The Commission has scheduled a tour of Dash Point and Saltwater State Parks, departing at 8:30 p.m. and ending at noon Friday. The tour departs from the Hampton Inn, 800 Station Drive, DuPont.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
Follow Washington State Parks:
Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
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.
Virginia Painter: (360) 902-8562
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