Parks Department Thinning Staff to Weather Discover Pass Adoption
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is considering “flattening” 15 headquarters positions, 25 regional staff, and 121 field staff positions to brace for a $30-million budget gap of their own in the wake of poor Discovery Pass sales. The agency with about 500 regular employees is hoping that proposed legislative changes to the pass will help. Senator Kevin Ranker said on Tuesday “”Different activities require different vehicles and modes of transportation, after hearing from citizens statewide, it’s clear that a non-transferable pass places too large a burden upon already strained family budgets. Under the new system two cars could share one pass.”
The State Parks and Recreation Commission said a core concept behind the reduction plan is to keep parks open in order to continue to build support for the Discover Pass. The new user-fee program was launched in July to replace General Fund tax dollars no longer available to operate state recreation lands.