News Release 13-026
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Virginia Painter: (360) 902-8562
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388
State Parks Commission will hear update on governance at Fort Worden State Park; Regular meeting in Spokane next week
June 19, 2013 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will hear a status report on an ongoing consideration about future governance at Fort Worden State Park at its regular meeting next week in Spokane.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 27, at Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane. A full Commission meeting agenda is online at www.parks.wa.gov/agency/commissionmeetings/. Time for public comment is provided at all regular meetings, which are scheduled six times a year at pre-determined locations around the state.
The Commission directed staff in late 2012 to move forward with negotiating an agreement with the Port Townsend Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority (PDA) to cooperatively manage Fort Worden State Park. The intention is for the PDA to manage the campus or conference center portion of the park, while State Parks would continue to manage the campground, trails and other park features.
The report indicates that staff from the Commission and the PDA agree that a final decision on future governance will be considered at the August 8 regular Commission meeting in Anacortes. Attorneys continue to negotiate a draft management agreement that will be in the form of a lease. Parks and the PDA expect a draft lease to be ready by July 17, when the PDA has a regular board meeting scheduled. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal at an evening public meeting State Parks is working to schedule in Port Townsend for the evening of July 24; State Parks will announce the meeting once a time and location are confirmed. In addition, the PDA is planning a special PDA meeting for July 25 and will announce meeting details once they are set.
Discussion about optimal future management of Fort Worden State Park has been under way since 2004. In 2007, the Commission adopted a vision for Fort Worden as a center for life-long learning, a financially sustainable full-service destination providing a broad array of meaningful experiences for a diverse audience of visitors. The vision recognized that State Parks would need a non-profit partner to assist with the governance and management of the park. In 2008, the Commission adopted a series of planning documents that would make Fort Worden a Life Long Learning Center, with most of the options involving a role for the Port Townsend Lifelong Learning Center PDA. The PDA’s plans include fundraising to provide maintenance and improvements to campus facilities.
In other regular meeting business, the Commission will consider housekeeping changes to Washington Administrative Code. Proposed changes would add commercial still photography to the requirement that a permit be obtained before undertaking commercial filming ventures in parks. Other updates include: A reservation window of earlier than nine months in advance of arrival date to reserve park facilities not on the State Parks central reservation system; and a requirement that State Parks notify the Washington State Geocache Association in addition to a cache owner before removing any cache placed on park property without a permit. Geocaching is growing in popularity, and the Washington State Geocache Association is working in partnership with State Parks to oversee a statewide GeoTour.
The Commission also will hear reports and discuss a proposed 2014 Commission regular meeting schedule, an agency financial report and the 2013 legislative session.
Commission work session: A Commission work session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 26, in the Center Place Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane. Work session topics include the agency capital and operations budget for 2013-15; campground reservations and variable pricing; working endowment properties; transformation strategic plan and initiatives; the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program, Washington State Parks Foundation; marketing and Lake Sammamish development.
Work sessions are open to the public, however no public testimony is heard and no formal Commission action is taken at work sessions.
Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WaStatePks_NEWS and www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and is celebrating Centennial 2013 with events in parks all over the state, all year long. For more information, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.