May 16, 2012 in City

Big changes for state parks topic of upcoming meetings

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photo

Visitors cross the river at the Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside State park near Spokane, Wash. Beginning in July, visitors will be required to have Washington’s new Discover Pass on their vehicle. The $30 annual parking pass ($10 daily) will be required for access to all state parks as well as lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and state wildlife recreation sites.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location
Information about planning and making comments is online at www.parks.wa.gov/Beyond2013/.

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.


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