State Parks chugs its way to better health, stability

Like the little engine that could, Washington State Parks is chugging its way back to health, in part through public tax support—but also through its own efforts to deliver parks and services and raise money for operations.

Through sound business approaches, strategic development of amenities that people want—and an increase in marketing and promotions, the agency has realized a 20 percent increase in revenue earnings in just five years. According to projections, Parks’ revenue growth will be up to 25 percent in 2017-19, compared with the 2011-13 biennium. A proud showing for any venture!

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The Discover Pass, created to help generate dollars at the start of the recession, is a significant source of revenue for agency operations. State Parks and partners—the departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources—have worked together to improve the pass and market it, with successful results. In Fiscal Year 2016, Discover Pass sales earned more than $18 million for State Parks alone. The Pass is one of the lowest-priced, highest-earning state park access passes in the country.

Washington State Parks and Recreation remains solid on its position that the park system needs broad public funding support as part of its financing, to be healthy and stable into the future. The park system benefits everyone by raising the quality of life and contributing to local and statewide economic health.