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Tag: Parks


Parks-funding ideas would pick up slack from Discover Pass

A key Republican in the Senate’s ruling coalition wants to put more money from the state’s main budget into state parks.

The Discover Pass parking fee created in 2011 hasn’t raised as much money as anticipated, and the State Parks and Recreation Commission is asking for at least $27 million in general-fund money to make up the difference in the two-year budget being written now in the Legislature.

Under current law, parks are slated to receive no general-fund money at all.

Today Sen. Kirk Pearson of Monroe, the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee, introduced a measure that would

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Parks pass is now transferable to 2nd car

If you bought a Discover Pass to park on state lands, you can now use it in a second car. If you haven’t bought one, state parks officials are hoping that looser rule will convince you.

The new law, which the Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law today, addresses “the No. 1 complaint” about the $30 parking pass lawmakers and Gregoire created last year, said Ilene Frisch, acting deputy director of parks.

Each car needed a separate pass. Washington State Parks thinks it’s one key reason revenue from the fees has come in at less than

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More numbers on parks layoffs

I’ve been asking how many full-time parks staff would be left in the field after upcoming layoffs and how many office staff would be left. The union and legislators have been making an issue out of that ratio, saying there would end up being more people in the headquarters and regional offices than in the field.

Parks officials gave me some numbers today, though they say they still don’t know the exact layoff totals.

They say they have 494 current year-round workers, and 163 of them — a third — are stationed at the offices.

(A footnote: 43 of those

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Details emerge on parks layoffs

The state Parks and Recreation Commission expects to issue pink slips next week and says 83 of the state’s 189 full-time park rangers stand to lose their current jobs.

Sixteen of 76 construction and maintenance workers also will go, the agency says. Plus, the equivalent of more than 23 full-time jobs will be eliminated at parks headquarters in Olympia and in regional offices around the state.

Many of the employees being let go will be offered other work, says the agency, which didn’t have exact numbers on total layoffs. But to stay on, most rangers would have to take a

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Lawmakers ask for delay in parks layoffs

State lawmakers are asking for a delay in layoffs of park rangers.

The Parks and Recreation Commission this month notified 160 employees their jobs are at risk because of lower-than-expected revenue from the new $30 parking pass for state lands. Many of them will be moved to seasonal, five-months-a-year employment.

Park rangers and their union, the Washington Federation of State Employees, criticized the cuts and legislators, led by Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, are collecting signatures on a letter to the commission calling for a delay.

The letter the lawmakers plan to send this afternoon says pink slips are going

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Billboards will advertise Discover Pass

Drivers on I-5 soon will see billboards urging them to ”Give the gift of the great outdoors.”

State government is paying for ads on 15 billboards for the Discover Pass. As I wrote in my weekend story, the parking pass for state lands isn’t selling as well as hoped.

As one might expect, sales flagged as summer faded. And a $10 day use pass is selling better than the $30 annual pass — partly because many visitors don’t know they have to pay to park until they arrive in the woods, officials believe.

So the new push could have two benefits:

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Park smoking ban: Not a problem in Puyallup, parks head says

Yesterday’s story detailing a Tacoma City Council proposal that would outlaw smoking in the city’s public parks drew a big response from readers, many of whom left comments criticizing the plan.

Among other things, opponents say such a ban tramples people’s rights and is generally unnecessary.No Smoking

But the proposal before the Tacoma council — expected to considered at the Oct. 13 council meeting — is far from original: Prohibitions against smoking in public parks are on the books in more than 400 municipalities nationwide, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation.  And several other local jurisdictions are now considering it, including Seattle.

Today,  Puyallup’s parks and recreation director Ralph Dannenberg called to explain that a similar park smoking prohibition passed in his city has led to few problems.

“We’ve never issued a citation,” Dannenberg said. “The peer pressure is the greatest thing we have going for us.”
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Titlow Park Master Planning: Citizens input wanted

Citizens will have one last chance tonight to make their voices heard — at least in person — on the future planning of Titlow Park, as MetroParks Tacoma holds a public meeting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Titlow Lodge.

“This is the last meeting before staff will move forward with a recommended plan to the (MetroParks) board (of commissioners),” said MetroParks spokeswoman Nancy Johnson.

Public input taken tonight — as well as for the next week via calls and email — will help project planners put together a vision of  “the long term approach of where Titlow Park is headed,” Johnson said.

Once the input is in, MetroParks will put together a “design development plan,” which will then be submitted to park district commissioners by next month. From there, the public will have more opportunities to offer their opinions about the draft proposal, Johnson added.

MetroParks current parks improvement bond, in all $84.3 million for 65 projects, includes $3 million for Titlow Park, Johnson said. The draft plan will feature future components for the park that will be funded through the current parks improvement bond and outside resources, such as donations and grants.

One item that won’t be included in any master plan for Titlow Park is for a new northwest central pool. The Parks board already determined that that pool, budgeted under the bond at $6 million, will go to Kandle Park, Johnson said. Commissioners also passed a resolution in November determining the forthcoming master plan for Titlow should not include a new pool.
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