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Share Your Photos to Protect Washington’s State Parks
Next week, our beloved Washington State Parks will turn 100 years old, but their future is uncertain as budget cuts put the entire park system at risk.
The thought of losing these special places tugs at my heart. As I sift through hundreds of photos capturing countless memories of special moments that I have spent in our parks, I am reminded just how important they have been, and continue to be, in my family’s lives.
Help Protect Our Parks!
Please share your own photos of your favorite moments at Washington’s State Parks so we can remind our leaders what’s really at stake!
How to Submit Your Photos:
Attach your photos to an email, put the name of the State Park in the subject line, and add a short description in the text body. Email your photos to email@example.com.
Upload your photo to the Pacific Regional Center’s Facebook page with a short description, and tag with #wastateparks.
Please only send us photos that belong to you, and note that by sending us photos, you give us permission to post them on our website (with attribution).
What’s at Stake
What’s at stake if our Washington State Parks were to close? The way I look at it, people and wildlife have a lot to lose. These stories and photos help me to remember that Washington State Parks are our legacy to our children and to their children, to our future:
The fourth oldest park system in the country, Washington has 117 parks and 700 historic structures. These natural places are a delight to explore and learn about the history of our region and about nature and wildlife. With so many great state parks just a short road trip away, you are sure to find the perfect weekend destination.
Picnics and family gatherings, annual camping trips, wildlife and tranquil natural settings away from the city and immersed in nature is what you will find at State Parks.
Our Parks: Where We Go to Play
Running on bare sand and climbing on slippery rocks, swinging long strands of kelp like jump ropes, turning over rocks and discovering the littlest of creatures, scuttling crabs and sand fleas, building sandcastles next to cold murky water and pounding surf, with drawbridges from bits of found wood and flags from dropped feathers.
There are so many beaches, hikes, mountains and natural places in our State Parks to walk and explore! You may discover marine debris from faraway places. Build elaborate drift wood forts, scoop up seashells, and pocket colored sea glass and shiny pebbles. Skip rocks on calm water, first one then three and sometimes five skips, and fly kites in a vast blue sky next to weathered war-time bunkers, where harmonicas make a sweet sound resonating off dark silent walls.
Play football, ride bikes and tend to scuffed knees and scraped hands. Hike along paths lined with tall trees that sway in the wind, and see bushes filled with birds eating berries, and bees buzzing in the heat of the day. Discover a deer hidden in the tall grass.
Around campgrounds kids learn to chop wood and build hot blazing fires for the creation of the perfect s’more. They learn to handle a pocket knife, like the one that grandpa handed down, and sing campfire songs, like “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly”, or my favorite, “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”. When darkness falls silly spooky stories are told while listening to sticky pitch sputter and pop in hot flames. Overhead satellites glide by among millions of stars; a rodent scouts out the camp at night for left over crumbs.
These treasured times, out in nature on our public lands, in our State Parks, cannot be taken for granted or forgotten. They are a place of discovery and learning about our natural world, they teach us to understand and respect our history and our land. They are a place for personal growth and of treasured moments with family and friends.
State Parks in Trouble
Over the past four years, the State Park Commission’s budget has suffered an 88% reduction in general fund support. In 2011, the Washington Legislature created the Discover Pass to replace general fund tax money, but not enough passes are being sold to make up for the deep budget cuts. This means there are not enough funds to cover the cost of operating and maintaining state-managed recreation lands.
It’s not too late to stand up for our State Parks! Here’s how you can help make sure these special places continue to protect wildlife and inspire the next generation of conservationists:
- Send us your photos of you visiting Washington’s State Parks, and we will share them with legislators to remind them of what’s really at stake (see instructions at top of page).
- Urge your state legislators to support critical funding to protect Washington’s state parks.
- Get your Discover Pass! This vehicle-access pass allows you to enjoy millions of acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands – including parks, wildlife areas, trails, natural and wilderness areas, heritage areas and water-access points.