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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

State parks closure

Casualty of the Gregoire budget

While the current recession will claim many casualties, Washington State Parks shouldn’t be among them. With more than 6 million visitations each year, our state parks provide close-to-home recreation accessible to people of all income levels.

It is baffling then that our governor is instructing the state Parks Commission to liquidate 13 parks. Why should these recreational gems pay the price for the governor and Legislature’s reckless spending of the past four years?

Now, I understand the mandate to move parks that don’t represent statewide significance to other government agencies, such as city or county parks departments. But, many local governments don’t have the money to manage them. And many of the slated parks for liquidation do, in fact, have statewide significance: Osoyoos Lake and Fort Okanagan are the only two state parks in the Okanogan Valley, a desert-steppe community of immense biological diversity and rife with history (fur trade and the historic Caribou route).

It’s ironic that in the worst economic times since the Great Depression Gov. Christine Gregoire is closing state parks. During the Great Depression, we increased our inventory of parks.

And it’s ironic, too, that Osoyoos, whose full name is Osoyoos Lake State Veteran’s Memorial Park because some of its land was donated by the American Legion — and now houses a plaque donated by veterans as a memorial to all veterans who served our country — is about to be a casualty of the Gregoire budget. What a way to honor our veterans and rest of the citizens of Washington state.

— Craig Romano, Mount Vernon

Comments | More in Economy, Washington Legislature

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