Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Six State Parks Slated for Mothballing

Six State Parks Slated for Mothballing

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Oct 07, 2010 04:03 PM |

To comply with mandated budget cuts, State Parks proposes mothballing six parks, including Squak Mountain, Federation Forest, Fort Ward, Peshastin Pinnacles, Tolmie, and Flaming Geyser.

Here we go again. To comply with mandated budget cuts, Washington State Parks proposes mothballing six parks, including Squak Mountain, Federation Forest, Fort Ward, Peshastin Pinnacles, Tolmie and Flaming Geyser.

With a budget deficit north of $3 billion, Governor Christine Gregoire has required agencies to plan for a 10% budget cut. Since only about 30% of the state budget can be cut due to constitutional and federal requirements, state land management agencies like State Parks, the Department of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife are first on the chopping block.

State Parks has responded to the current budget situation, which translates to about $8.1 million in cuts between current and future biennium, by proposing to shrink administrative staff, reduce some park services and mothball six parks. 

If you want to save these parks, now is the time to act.

The option to close these six parks was chosen over another one that would have mothballed 13 parks, so this situation could have been much worse. You can read the detailed commission reports here and check out each individual park here.

Why these parks? These were the six with the lowest percentage of revenue to expenses. That was the criteria, plain and simple. But only Flaming Geyser and Federation Forest will actually save the agency more than $100,000. The other four cost very little to keep open.

Losing these parks for a season or more will hurt. And that pain will extend not just to the hikers who love these places, but to the landscapes themselves. We've seen time and again that when land management agencies gate parking areas and trailheads, all sorts of undesirable activities flourish, including dumping, unsanctioned target shooting and meth production. Trails and facilities deteriorate. All of these impacts make opening these areas back up much more expensive in the long run.

Still, given our current situation, keeping these places open will take a lot of work. If you love one or more of these parks, please take a moment and call your State Representatives and Senator and let them know that you want them to take action to keep these parks open. You can find your members here. WTA will keep you updated on this issue as it progresses.


Squak Mountain

My wife and I recently began hiking again. We have lived on Squak Mt. for over 30 years and really never took advantage of what we have had all along. Having done so we have run into many 1st time hikers on this mountain quite often. The area around us has seen a huge influx of new homes right on the door step of the trail head.In addition we now have, "Talus", a huge new development only 4 miles away. At present it would appear about 1000 or more new families live there. It would be an absolute crime to let this jewel of a trail system, (that sits in the middle between Couger and Tiger Mountains, and connects the two via trails), be left alone to deteriorate. It offers such a valuable form of recreation to so many for such little expense. Are we becoming penny wise and pound foolish about our State's budget? It's doubtful the cost to maintain this area would even show up on the radar. We should also remember this land was donated to the state to be used and maintained as a park.

Posted by:

jimmyjack on Oct 16, 2010 11:19 AM