May 16, 2012 in City
Big changes for state parks topic of upcoming meetings
Washington State Parks officials have set meetings in Spokane to discuss potentially sweeping changes in management of facilities at Riverside and Mount Spokane.
The meetings will be held at Spokane Public Library Shadle Branch, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave.:
*Saturday, 3:30-5 p.m., specific to Riverside State Park.
*Monday, 6-7:30 p.m., for Mount Spokane State Park.
Similar meetings across the state will gather public opinion on whether the state parks system would be operated as a private enterprise based on profits generated at the sites or as a public conservation asset.
Other options include turning over more parks to local communities to operate as nonprofit attractions, officials said.
Officials also are asking the public to help them rank the top features of their state parks and what needs improvement, said Virginia Painter, parks spokeswoman in Olympia.
The cash-strapped parks system is trying to make a five-year management plan. The Washington Legislature had voted to wean the parks from all state general funding in the next few years.
Rangers and other staff positions at Riverside and Mount Spokane state parks were cut by 40 percent in January.