Washington to Shed 14 State Parks?
The Washington state Parks and Recreation Commission may close 14 of the 121 state parks in Washington to save money.
A commission spokeswoman told The Olympian, Olympia, Wash., it's looking at transferring low-priority parks to local governments or nonprofit groups.
The list was compiled after several parks were closed in 2002. The commission rated all state parks for their location, scenic views, cultural resources and potential to make money.
The spokeswoman, Virginia Painter, says there are no plans to sell parks to developers or commercial interests.
The plan will be subject to debate in the Legislature.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the state has purchased a former convenience store across the highway from Belfair State Park to convert into a campground and regional park administration facility, according to the Kitsap (Wash.) Sun.
The state bought Hood Canal Market and Deli and its two acres of land with a state Wildlife and Recreation Program grant. Property owners Joan and David Phillips of Belfair were paid $471,500. The grant also allows an estimated $78,500 for removal of old gas tanks.
The property's back section likely will become a group campsite for reunions and other gatherings – a feature not currently available at the Belfair park. A previous store owner used the open field as a trailer park. It can accommodate several tents or RV hookups.
The store eventually will house regional park administration offices. The building is to be "mothballed" and secured until other uses are decided and funding is available, possibly by the 2010 camping season.