Image of visitors picnicking along the shoreline. In the background you can see trees with green leaves, blue water, and the hills and trees on the other side of the water. There is a curved tree in the foreground framing the two people having a picnic.

Entering a new era for state parks

The new year often brings new beginnings and for us at Washington State Parks, 2023 was the start of the next chapter.

The pandemic changed how we interact with each other and the spaces around us. Nature became a safe harbor and one of the only places we could be with each other. Our visitation skyrocketed and record numbers of people reconnected with nature.

We spent the year taking a closer look at how the stories we tell, services we provide and visuals we use represent our values and priorities to our teammates and the communities we serve.

We did a lot of listening – to our staff, our more experienced parkgoers and those less familiar with state parks or nature in general. We learned that our parks hold a lot of emotion for some. It's where memories are made. We heard stories of exciting celebrations and times of quiet reflection, first hikes and annual family vacations, once-in-a-lifetime events and everyday moments.

We also learned that there are sometimes barriers to belonging for people who are new to the outdoors, don't have a generational link to outdoor recreation or who want to try something new but feel hindered by their lack of experience.

After reflecting on these conversations, we decided it was time to evolve our brand strategy to reflect our priorities.

The natural beauty of our state is unparalleled and should be accessible to all of us. Our highest purpose is to make the outdoors joyful for everyone from the first-time visitor to the casual explorer, the expert adventurer and for generations yet to come. No matter how you choose to connect with nature, state parks are here to welcome you into the wild, wonderful outdoors.

New WA State Parks logo diagram
Diagram labeling the new Washington State Parks logo and what it represents

We've updated our visual identity to reinforce this belief. Our new brand is rooted in our past, has a solid foundation in the present and will lead us into our next chapter. The adjustments to our logo – evolving landforms, broadening our color palette, unifying our text – signify this new era. It represents our state as a whole, from the summit of Mount Spokane and the columnar basalt in the east to the shrubsteppe of the midlands and the coasts in the west.

In the coming month, we will share more about our process and why we made the decisions we did. Throughout 2023, you'll begin to see changes to some things and updates to others.

We're looking forward to beginning this new chapter and are glad you're along for the journey.

Originally published January 10, 2023

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