OLYMPIA – July 16, 2014 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will have its regular meeting next week in Bellingham.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 24, in the City Council Chambers at Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham. A full Commission meeting agenda is available online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment is provided at all regular Commission meetings, which are convened six times a year at locations around the state.
The Commission will consider policy direction for the agency to prepare its 2015-17 operating budget request. The Commission at its May meeting provided direction to agency staff to work on a general operating budget request of approximately $154 million to work toward a healthy park system. The Commission will consider a final request, authorizing the director to make technical corrections, wording and dollar adjustments so that the agency can meet its September budget submittal deadline to the Office of Financial Management.
Also on the agenda is the Commission’s consideration of a 2015-17 capital budget request. Staff is proposing a capital budget of approximately $96 million to move the park system toward a sustainable and healthy park system. The Commission and Legislature have expressed deep concern about the condition of park facilities and the magnitude of the maintenance backlog. Driven by a State Parks Transformation Strategy that outlines how the Commission and staff will work toward financial stability and maintain high-quality services, staff has completed a comprehensive evaluation of the agency’s capital needs.
Meanwhile, the Governor’s Parks and Outdoor Recreation Task Force has been meeting regularly to find solutions to strengthen outdoor recreation tourism and to identify a potential sustainable funding source for State Parks. The Commission will hear an update on the work of the task force and the role State Parks has been playing in the Task Force discussions.
Other action items that the Commission will consider:
- Adopting the agency 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, a required companion document for agency budget requests.
- Establishing criteria to evaluate statutory proposals for the 2015 legislative session and authorizing the director to submit agency request legislation.
- Adopting land classifications and a long-term boundary for a Larrabee State Park plan.
- Adopting a facility concept plan for Kopachuck State Park.
- Granting a 40-year easement lease to Tidewater Barge Incorporated for storage of idle rail cars, in exchange for parking and other easements that support long-range plans for development on the Columbia Plateau Trail.
The Commission will hear reports but take no action on land classifications and possible ski area expansion at Mount Spokane State Park; the 2013 Employee Satisfaction Survey; an agency financial update; and a proposed 2015 schedule for regular Commission meetings.
Work session: A Commission work session is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, the day prior to the Commission meeting. The work session also will take place in Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no time is scheduled for public testimony, and the Commission takes no formal action at work sessions.
Topics on the work session agenda include an agency real estate management policy; agency communication plan; 2015 legislative outreach; a Commissioner’s report on the Governor’s Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation; revenue options for Washington State Parks; 2015-17 operating and capital budgets; an update on agency work to determine an appropriate range of treatment options for Saint Edward Seminary; wind-powered vehicles on ocean beaches; and roundtable with local and state government officials.
Commission tour: The Commission has scheduled a park tour in the area on Friday, July 25. The tour of Peace Arch and Birch Bay state parks will depart at 8 a.m. from Best Western Lakeview Inn, 714 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham.
About Washington State Parks
The 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.
Follow Washington State Parks:
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 contact:Virginia Painter: (360) 902-8562
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388