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Posted on: March 13, 2019

Parks Commission to review planning, program policies at regular meeting next week

OLYMPIA – March 12, 2019 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will review policies associated with park planning and attend to policy housekeeping details at its regular meeting next week.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 21, at State Parks Headquarters, 1111 Israel Road S.W., Tumwater. (Driving directions) The Commission holds regular meetings six times a year in pre-determined locations around the state. The meeting agenda provides time for public comment at all regular meetings. A full agenda, including information about opportunities for public comment is available online

Staff will update the Commission on work to change park planning terminology from “park long-term boundary” to “park-associated landscape.” This allows planners to retain a valuable planning tool while quelling concerns expressed by owners and managers of lands adjacent to state parks.

The agency’s Classification and Management Planning program (CAMP) is a highly public process through which staff classify park lands for appropriate recreation and stewardship activities. The long-term park boundary is a planning tool of the CAMP process. It strives to take a big-picture look at what lands – independent of ownership – could advance the conservation and recreation mission of a park if the agency were to obtain a legal interest in the property.

 Park staff are exploring the new terminology to assure landowners that the planning tool is not intended to pressure landowners to sell, or to affect property values or land uses. In cases where private lands are identified and landowners are interested, State Parks may enter shared-property management agreements, solicit conservation easements, accept donations, exchange agency-owned property for private property or purchase private property. State Parks staff believe that removing the word “boundary” from the concept will better reflect the non-binding nature of the designation.

The CAMP process has been completed for about 70 percent of the agency’s 124 state parks and well over 80 percent of the agency’s land base. Several planning processes are underway, and staff anticipate completing the process for all parks during the next several biennia.

In other business, the Commission will consider action on a round of housekeeping issues to update and streamline Commission policies. This includes removing policies on topics that are already addressed in statute and eliminating redundant policies.  

The Commission also will receive staff updates, including reports on the agency’s new reservation system; the 2017-2019 capital construction program; work under way to update the Commission’s public records rules; and a legislative update. 

Commission work session

A work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, at Tolmie State Park, 7730 61st Ave. N.E., Olympia. (Driving directions) Commission work sessions are open to the public; however, there is no opportunity for public comment, and no formal action is taken. The agenda for next week’s work session includes executive staff reports, as well as updates on: 

  • A legislative report on stewardship needs of lands, resources and improvements.
  • A legislative report on the status of State Parks’ maintenance backlog.
  • The 2018 Employee Engagement Survey results.
  • The internal audit program. 
  • Development of State Parks’ 2021-23 Strategic Plan.
  • The Saint Edward Environmental Education and Research Center strategic planning process.
  • Agency finances.
  • Marketing and communications.
  • A Commission legislative day.

Commission legislative day

Commission members will meet with various legislators throughout the day on Tuesday, March 19. 

News media contacts:

Virginia Painter, Communications Director, (360) 902-8562

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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.

News release number: 19-012

 

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