OLYMPIA – March 24, 2016 –The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will have its regular meeting next week in Tumwater. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Labor and Industries Auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way S., Tumwater. (Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/J8v1YaxDdk72.) Time for public comment is provided at all regular meetings. The Commission meets seven times a year at various locations around the state. A full agenda item, including information about public comment is available at http://parks.state.wa.us/154/Commission-Meetings-Agendas. The Commission will consider adoption of a policy that allows limited commercial advertising in state parks. In-park advertising is the second phase of a strategic initiative to help generate financial support of the park system, while protecting the character and beauty of the park setting. The first phase provides commercial advertising opportunities on the agency web site http://parks.state.wa.us/. Advertising on the agency web site began in 2015.
The agency gathered public comment and elicited Commission feedback to help guide development of the policy under consideration. Local businesses and organizations already provide information at state parks, and the new policy is intended to ensure consistency throughout the system. The Commission earlier expressed interest in knowing what advertising would look like in parks. The policy under consideration does not provide a “one-size-fits-all” approach for in-park advertising but outlines examples, including local business directories in booklets provided to guests at contact and welcome stations; professionally produced advertising posters on information kiosks and bulletin boards; brochure or rack card advertising displays; and local business directory binders in roofed accommodations such as cabins, yurts and vacation houses. The focus is to provide visitors with helpful information about local services available during their visit and to support tourism in areas around parks.
State law allowing advertising requires that any placement of advertising in state parks may occur only following consultation with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. State Parks staff will work with DAHP to avoid any negative impacts on historical and cultural resources. The policy also states that State Parks will aim to limit advertising for food and drink products to those that are consistent with healthy nutrition guidelines developed by the Washington State Department of Health.
In other action, the Commission will consider adopting capital project categories and to assign relative priority to the categories to guide preparation of the agency’s 2017-19 capital budget request. The action also will set the request level at $96 million. Categories that will be considered include projects that reduce risk, encourage use of parks and generate revenue, achieve efficiencies and reduce costs, protect the state’s natural and cultural heritage, and advance partnerships and engage volunteers and donors. These categories reflect the current focus of strategic initiatives intended to move toward a healthy and sustainable park system.
While state capital development funds have remained relatively strong over the years, state funding for operations and maintenance has varied considerably, with decreased operating funding levels leading to deferred maintenance. A sustained investment starting with the $96 million for 2017-19 sets the agency on a course to address the backlog sufficiently within 15 to 25 years. Deferred maintenance has typically resulted in either degraded facilities that are more costly to maintain later or the need for wholesale replacement. Some of the funds would be used to meet evolving recreation needs and future demand in a growing state.
As part of its routine biennial Washington Administrative Code revision process, the Commission also will consider updates in seven chapters of code dealing with administration of the park system. For WAC revisions, the Commission considers suggestions from park visitors, user groups, field staff and staff reports, in making changes to more effectively manage the park system for the enjoyment of all. The revisions under consideration include clarifying definitions, aircraft in state parks, expulsion from state park areas, consumption of alcohol in state parks, standard fees charged, brief adjudicative proceedings and safeguarding peace and quiet in parks.
The Commission also will hear several reports but will take no action on the following:
Wednesday work session: A Commission work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, at the Labor and Industries Auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way S., Tumwater. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no public testimony is heard. The Commission takes no formal action at work sessions.
Topics on the work session agenda include: Work with the Long Beach Peninsula community to mitigate impacts on the Seashore Conservation Area over Fourth of July holiday; law enforcement legislation policy; recreation business activity update; outdoor recreation discussion with Governor’s outdoor recreation policy advisor; update on No Child Left Inside grant program; overview of agency geographic information system; and information update on agency efforts to consider private investment in recreational facilities.
Commission tour: Commission members will depart at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, from State Parks Headquarters, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Tumwater, to tour the State Parks Southwest Region shop and Millersylvania State Park. ______________________________________________________________________ About Washington State ParksThe Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com. Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov. Media contacts:Virginia Painter, (360) 902-8562Toni Droscher, (360) 902-8604Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388