Financial boost for Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks Foundation (WSPF), a non-profit organization founded to provide financial support for state parks improvements, has presented a check for $68,000 to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission for work to be completed this summer.

The funds will help with restoration of unique tide pools, installation of interpretive features, an educational site where visitors can enjoy park programs and a popular, statewide cultural arts program.

Specifically, the Foundation’s grant provides $16,000 to fund installation of interpretive panels at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park near Vantage; $12,000 to help build a new amphitheater at Dry Falls State Park; and $10,000 to provide support for the Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks program, a cooperative venture between Washington State Parks and the Washington Arts Commission to bring summer cultural and performing arts programs to several parks around the state. A $30,000 grant – including $15,000 from the Tagney-Jones Foundation – will be used in restoring rare tide pools at Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park.

Foundation funding also supports the new Cama Beach State Park, a beautiful Puget Sound island park with more than a mile of saltwater beach and 430 acres of forested uplands. When opened, the former resort donated to the state by the Worthington and Hamalainen families will offer overnight cabin rentals and retreat facilities. Other Foundation efforts include a bridge and improvement of the Willapa Hills Trail; trail signs at Riverside State Park; and trails at Wallace Falls State Park. Foundation projects also include a whale-watching interpretive center at Limekiln Point State Park; a wetland nature trail and overlook at Ocean City State Park; and a Civilian Conservation Corps memorial statue at Deception Pass State Park, all open to the public.

State Parks Director Rex Derr said grants from the Foundation help the State Parks Commission fulfill its Centennial 2013 vision to prepare the park system for a second century. The plan features three priorities, supported by a legislative advisory committee and the governor: 1. Fix what we have; 2. Expand existing parks, trails and services; and 3. Build new parks and trails for the future.

“We are very grateful for the Foundation’s help with improvements that are included in our Centennial vision,” said Commission Director Rex Derr. “Many of our parks have the potential to offer new and better interpretation, trails and facilities to support public service and participation, and this helps us provide new opportunities for visitors.”

For more information on the Washington State Parks Foundation and Foundation projects, visit the organization’s Web site.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 120 parks and several recreation programs, including trails, boating safety, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The 94-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.