Pat Lantz of Gig Harbor has been appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to serve a six-year term on the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, filling the post left by retiring Commissioner Joan Thomas of Seattle.
A former attorney, Lantz retired in January 2009 after six terms as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives, where she was chair of the Judiciary Committee and served on the Natural Resources and Capital Budget committees. She chaired the Heritage Caucus ( http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1694361&more=0 and http://wahmee.com/tdi_heritage_caucus.pdf and http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1697750&more=0 ), comprised of state parks, arts, cultural resources, civics and historic preservation organizations and their advocates from across the state. She sponsored numerous bills and funding initiatives benefiting natural resource and cultural heritage issues.
The seven-member citizen volunteer commission is appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. Lantz’ official term will run through December 2016. Commissioners have regular meetings seven times a year in locations all around the state so that citizens may talk with them face to face on a variety of parks, recreation and cultural and historical resource issues. Lantz will attend her first meeting as a Commissioner in May in Montesano.
Thomas completed two terms and was asked by Gov. Gregoire to serve an additional year on the Commission. She officially retired in January.
“I am looking forward to this new role as a Commissioner,” Lantz said. “I believe that parks are not only places of recreation, but they are places of renewal. They are some of our most treasured and valued assets, and they are essential for the preservation of our history and culture in Washington. These are places that we need to care for and protect because they are the places we most want to be there for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. I’m very excited about my new job, its challenges, opportunities and the good fun of working with people who share common cause.”
Lantz is an avid hiker, bicyclist, kayaker and beach explorer. At age 18, she backpacked the entire Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier with two friends. She comes by her interest in Washington state history naturally; born in Kent in 1938, she is the fourth generation in a line of pioneering Washington families. Her paternal grandfather was the first graduate of the University of Washington Medical School. Her maternal great grandfather was a Danish immigrant who ran a dairy farm in White River Valley.
She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University, her JD Degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University) and practiced law in the areas of land-use planning and environmental law. She was elected to represent Legislative District 26 in the State House of Representatives in 1996 and served until 2009.
Lantz has received many awards and honors. She was recipient of the 2008 State Historic Preservation officer’s Annual Award for Special Achievement, presented by the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). She is a member of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation ( http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1528102&more=0 and http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_wa_trust.pdf ) and was awarded that organization’s 2005 Landmark Deeds Award for Public Service Award. She was winner of the 2003 Louis Miller Advocacy Award from the Washington State Art Alliance. She also was appointed by the Supreme Court to the Access to Justice Board and received the Washington State Bar Association’s first time award of Outstanding Elected Official.
The new Commissioner’s other membership affiliations include the Washington Wildlife Recreation Coalition and Tahoma Audubon. She is on the advisory committee for DAHP to explore the feasibility of a National maritime Heritage Area designation for a significant portion of the marine shorelines of Washington State. She is a Trustee for the Heritage Center and Legacy Project under the Office of Secretary of State. She is a founding board member of the Washington Environmental Council, a founder of the Peninsula Heritage Land Trust (now Great Peninsula Conservancy).
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages 120 developed state parks and cross-state programs, including Winter Recreation, Boating Programs and long-distance trails. The agency has responsibility to preserve and protect more than 700 historic structures in the state — the largest collection overseen by any single agency. Washington’s state parks receive approximately 40 million visits a year. Washington State Parks will be 100 years old in 2013.