Outdoors blog

Hikers plan lobby to keep state parks open

 PUBLIC LANDS -- The Washington Trails Association is organizing a Hiker Lobby Day at the state Capitol in Olympia on Wednesday (Feb. 9) to urging lawmakers to support for state parks and recreation threatened with closure because of the budget crisis.

More than 2,000 hikers have signed a petition supporting state lands and others are participating in WTA’s Hiker Lobby Day virtually.

Many state parks will have to close their gates this summer if the legislature does not act soon to authorize a new sustainable funding source.

One option already introduced is the Discover Pass (SB 5622 / HB 1796), which creates a multi-agency fee pass that provides access to recreation lands managed by State Parks, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"The fee, $30 for an annual vehicle tab, is a reasonable amount for hikers to pay for access, especially when the alternative is closure of these lands," says Lauren Braden, WTA spokeswoman. "If managed carefully, this pass will be a great value for Washington recreation opportunities and landscapes, and provide a stable and sustainable source of funding into the future."

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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