State proposes parks day-use fees
By Soren Velice
Citizens of Washington are used to free use of state parks, but that will most likely come to an end a year from now, when users of Peace Arch park, Birch Bay State Park and other state parks will be paying to use the popular recreation spots.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved implementation of a day-use vehicle fee at a special meeting December 19. The commission claims this their last resort to get money to keep to keep parks open and well-maintained. In their last regular meeting, parks commissioners saw a status report on the implementation plan and a presentation by a California State Parks representative to gain insight into that states experience with park fees.
The decision was made by the commission whether it is right or wrong to charge a fee to use our parks, said state parks public affairs administrator Anne Hersley. While they disagreed with the fees philosophically, they decided to approve it from a practical point of view.
State parks staff will present an outline of the fee structure and how it will be implemented at the commissions March meeting. As soon as we have an outline, well have public comment, Hersley said. The board hasnt decided whether to have a public hearing for concerns or public comment during its regular meeting.