Friday, January 30, 2009

State Park Closures You Can Believe In!
Well, here we go again. Back in 2002 Washington State under Democrat Governor Gary Locke and a democrat controlled legislature saw that it was economically prudent to close (translated-get rid of) a handful of our state park gems. Well now in 2009, its Deja-Vu all over again except worst. Ms Gregoire, a prototype of Mr. Locke has upped the ante and wants to liquidate from our state held heritage 13 of our parks! Yes, that's right, Ms Gregoire wants to help rectify the reckless spending of her first four years by getting rid of some of our parks. (Sorry Christine- you can't blame this on Bush- you and your free-spending dems spent state money like there was no tomorrow-and guess what? Tomorrow has come!)

Now, I must admit I have never been a fan of Gregoire-but to much of my surprise she is making some necessary cuts in the budget- particularly in bloated areas like social services. But still she got us into this mess by increasing the budget by 30%. Evidently John McCain wasn't the only one who thought that our economy was just fine. The handwriting was on the wall; that a recession was approaching but Gregoire continued to spend with reckless abandonment! But our state parks don't deserve to be punished for her irresponsible fiscal practices. Our state parks department was never a bloated agency. It has continuously been underfunded by both democrats and republicans.

Surely Christine, do you really believe that by getting rid of 13 state parks and shaving a meager 5.2 million dollars from the budget that this is worth it? That saving 5.2 million is worth more than the value that these parks bring to local residents and the tourist dollars that they help generate- surely much more than $5.2 million. Out of your 13 parks, 4 of them are on the economically depressed Olympic Peninsula. The poor souls of this region are losing their jobs and now their parks! They need decent places to recreate! All of us in Washington state (You too Ms. Gregoire) need decent places to recreate. Our state has grown by 1.5 million people in the last 20 years. We need more parks not less!

How can you justify shaving 5.2 million from the budget when you are going to spend millions and millions more on some silly climate bills? Save our land first! Don't waste our tax dollars on questionable climate controls bills! Paving over parkland I assure you is not good for our climate!

And former-Governor Dan Evans, a true champion of the environment, where is your outrage? You a are going to help let these parks fall by the wayside while you lobby for $150 million for a football stadium!?! Are you nuts? Five million will keep our parks open and you want to spend 150 million for a football stadium! I see where your priorities lie. Pretty sad.

In Illinois they planned on doing the same thing-closing parks because of reckless state spending. The Illinois people revolted. The state found some money. So where is the outrage here? Washingtonians need to let the governor and our legislators know that we care about our parks. We can't be as lucky as Illinois and get rid of our governor- but we can be as lucky as Illinois and keep our parks!

And in case you think I am just being critical of the governor without giving a solution. I gladly welcome back a day-use fee to keep my parks open. My parks are worth $2, 3, 5 dollars a visit. They are worth much more than 5.2 million and they are worth far much more than being a quick kill in the budget. Let's get a day use fee back on them and perhaps open a few to concessionaires (food service for example at certain parks) where we can collect some extra revenue. We can't have it both ways-services with no taxes. I for one support equitable user fees. Okay, I put my 2 cents in, time for you to put yours in- and preferably in Olympia.

For the Illinois story and to the WA parks at risk of losing click Here

(photo- lovely Lake Sylvia -highlighted in my Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula Book is on Gregoire's chopping block)

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