Governor’s 2015-2017 Budget Proposal for State Parks

It will take a while for us to work through the details of the budget for State Parks. Here is what we know at this point:

 - The Operating budget for 2015-17 significantly increases the amount of General Fund that’s in our current budget.
 - The Capital budget is robust, funding most of the agency’s request (this is from bond sales).
 - Many agencies are receiving General Fund reductions, but State Parks is not among them.

In his summary message, the Governor specifically mentioned his interest in State Parks. Preliminary review shows the total new general tax support is below the level requested by the Commission to move toward a healthy, sustainable park system.  The Governor’s budget does reflect the value that he places on parks and is intended to help stabilize our funding, upgrade the condition of parks and invest in operating capacity with an increase in overall staffing.

We appreciate the Governor’s support.

The Capital budget meets the goals set out in our request. It supports facilities that generate revenues, helps address deferred maintenance and preserves natural and cultural resources, as well as helping us maintain facilities that are attractive to visitors.

Here’s an important thing to note:  In the face of steep financial challenges faced by the Governor and Legislature, Governor Inslee has agreed with our Commission that the park system cannot be fully self-supporting.

We will continue working to better understand the implications of the Governor’s budget, and we will keep you updated as we learn more. The full Commission will have a special meeting January 9, to review the budget proposal.  Please remember that the Governor’s budget is the first step in a long legislative budget process. Also be aware that if you are looking at budget figures on the OFM web site now,  these are not final numbers and will  be adjusted.

The good news in this proposal is that the Governor fully recognizes the value we provide to all Washingtonians and the great work you continue to do. I am committed to working with Commission, staff, partners, Governor and Legislature toward achieving a healthy, accessible and sustainable park system.

Thanks, everyone,



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Data Minimize
February 2018: A federal government analysis of outdoor recreation's economic impact reaffirms what many conservation groups have said for decades.  Outdoor recreation is big business. For the first time ever the U.S. Department of Commerce looked specifically at the economic impact of outdoor recreation and found that it contributed $373.7 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product in 2016, comprising 2 percent of the GDP.  See Report


A state study completed by the Recreation and Conservation Office in January 2015, finds that people in Washington spend nearly $22 billion each year hiking, skiing, boating, golfing, and in other outdoor pursuits.  See Study


January 2014: Outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse in the United States, each year generating $646 billion in customer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs.  See Study

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