Washington lawmaker: Discover Pass for state parks should be temporary

Jun 19, 2012
Originally published on June 18, 2012 5:31 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s new Discover Pass for state parks might end up being a temporary budget fix, rather than a long-term solution. At least that’s the hope of one, key statehouse Democrat.

Representative Larry Seaquist remembers well when two of the state parks in his district were on the chopping block. That was a few years ago.

So far, Washington has managed to avoid closing parks despite the after-effects of the Great Recession. That’s largely because of the new $30 annual Discover Pass. But sales did not meet early projections.

Seaquist says ultimately he doesn’t think charging parkgoers is the solution.

“I think that the public priorities make parks very high. It’s part of what taxpayers expect the state to do. We’ve got a wonderful parks system and I think it should be part of the regular budget.”

Seaquist would like to see the Discover Pass serve as an interim source of funding to get the parks through this rough patch. But the current plan is to eventually de-fund parks entirely and let user-fees and donations fill the gap.

On the Web:

Washington State Parks:

http://www.parks.wa.gov/

Rep. Larry Seaquist:

http://www.leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/pages/seaquist.aspx

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