Target: Governor of Washington Chris Gregoire
Goal: Don’t cripple state parks by pulling all funding.
Washington lawmakers plan to pull all state park funding and require that parks raise their own revenue. However, fundraising efforts like the Discover Pass have raised less than half of the anticipated profits, and parks across the state face financial ruin. The state of Washington must continue to protect our natural resources by funding state parks.
In a system that has focused on natural preservation for decades, parks will now be forced to commercialize, creating a climate that is motivated by profit alone. This change will see a significant increase in fees for camping, park use, and other amenities. Employment will also be affected. In cuts made earlier this year, 66 of the 189 Washington State rangers were shifted to seasonal employment, which cannot support a family. With the pending removal of all funding, more dramatic employment changes will be inevitable.
The implementation of increased fees will only serve as a step backwards, as has been made clear by the Discover Pass. Annual park visits dropped from 6.8 million to 5.6 million when the pass went into effect. Further fee requirements may send parks into a downward spiral, potentially ending in park closures.
We have a responsibility to future generations to preserve the natural beauty of the Evergreen State. The plan to end funding is only in draft form, and there’s still time to change the minds of Washington lawmakers. Help ensure that our children will be able to enjoy the natural beauty and recreation of this beloved state. By singing the petition below, you can ask Governor Chris Gregoire not to cut parks from the state budget.
Dear Governor Gregoire,
The plan to end state park funding represents a huge blow to the natural resources of our beautiful state. To hope that our parks can become self-sustained so abruptly is unrealistic, as demonstrated by the failure of the Discover Pass to generate expected funds. With the pass came significantly lower rates of park visitation, and increasing fees will only compound this phenomenon. In addition, the loss of jobs that will inevitably result is the last thing our state needs during this time of low employment.
State parks are not meant to be businesses – rather, they are vital conservation efforts and pillars of physical health and recreation. Please don’t end Washington’s legacy of natural preservation. The state funding of Washington parks must continue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: mikrash via morgueFile.