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Half of state drivers give $5 to parks

OLYMPIA — About half the state drivers are donating $5 to state parks when renewing vehicle licenses.

The state Parks and Recreation Commission says that’s a little less than officials expected when lawmakers set up the fee that went into effect in September.

It averaged $1.1 million a month in revenue through December, and the commission says it needs $1.2 million to keep 40 parks open.

In a report Wednesday to the state Office of Financial Management, Commission Director Rex Derr says parks are squeaking by.

The $5 automatically goes to state parks unless vehicle owners opt out. The opt-out donation replaced an opt-in donation program that started in 2006, when the Legislature repealed a $5 day-use parking fee at state parks.

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