WASHINGTON STATE PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Commission Meeting – June 22, 2006
Detailed Commission Agenda Items
Item E-1: 2008 Regular Meeting Schedule for the Washington State Parks and Recreation
Item E-2: Cross State Trail—Lind to Tekoa
Item E-3: Spokane River Clean-up - Memorandum of Agreement with Department of Ecology
Item E-4: 07-09 Parks State Budget Submission
Item E-5: Long-Term Boundary Revision and Land Disposal—Selected Properties at Riverside
State Park—Centennial Trail
Item E-6: Palouse Falls State Park Boundary Expansion
Item E-7: Ice Age Floods Draft Interpretive Plan
Item E-8: Comparison of Public Perception—Washington and Oregon State Parks
Item E-9: Puget Sound Clean-up Efforts
Item E-10: Sponsorship Policy
Item E-11: 2006 Employee Satisfaction Survey and Baldrige Assessment Results
Item E-12: National Youth Congress Partnership Project
Item E-13: Fee and Policy Changes-2007 Reservation Season-Report
Item E-1: 2008 Regular Meeting Schedule for the Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission—Requested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item requests the Commission approve the 2008 meeting dates
and locations for their regular meeting schedule. This complies with the Centennial 2013 Plan,
element ―Our Commitment-Public Service.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Commission meetings are dispersed across the state to enable citizens to more easily address their
suggestions and concerns to the Commission. Commission work sessions are typically conducted the
day before Commission meetings and park visits the day after.
Appendix 1: Summary of Pertinent Rules and Regulations
Appendix 2: Previous Meeting Dates and Locations
Appendix 3: Map of Previous Meeting Dates and Locations
Appendix 4: Suggested meeting dates and location for 2008
Appendix 5: Calendar for year 2008
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Item E-2: Cross State Trail—Lind to Tekoa—Requested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to approve acquisition of 102 miles
of former railroad property as an expansion of the Iron Horse State Park—John Wayne Pioneer
Trail between Lind and the Idaho border. This complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element,
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
Railroad constructed the western section of its rail line between 1908 and 1912, and operated it
until 1980 when the railroad declared bankruptcy. In 1981-1982, the state acquired by a quitclaim
deed for 213 miles of the Milwaukee Road railroad and assigned administration responsibilities to
the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This represented most but not all of the Milwaukee
Road ownership – a portion of the rail line remains in operation between Royal City and Othello.
Currently DNR owns the balance of the former railroad corridor east of the Columbia River and
the bridge over the Columbia River at Beverly, totaling approximately 116 miles. Appendix 1
depicts ownership of the corridor. Approximately 29 miles east of Lind, the corridor crosses the
Columbia Plateau Trail State Park, a 130 mile long rail-trail connecting Pasco and Cheney.
In a series of transactions beginning in 1984, State Parks acquired the entire railroad corridor
between North Bend and the Columbia River. Known as Iron Horse State Park, it contains 110
miles of railroad corridor and 2,600 acres of land. In 1985, the Commission named the resulting
rail trail and any future additions to it the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.
Non-motorized recreational users, including hikers, skiers, bicyclists, and horseback riders use the
John Wayne Pioneer Trail. A very short stretch of the trail near Easton is used by snowmobilers
because of connectivity issues with nearby snowmobiling facilities. Attendance records show over
100,000 users per year. With help from the Legislature in 1996, and several state and federal
grants, the Commission continues to invest to make the trail continuous and safe. A partnership
with the Cascade Railroad Foundation has resulted in significant improvements to property and
buildings at the South Cle Elum depot. The current trail contains more than thirty substantial
trestles, seven tunnels (one of which is 2.3 miles long), an historic snow shed, seven developed
trailheads located at Rattlesnake Lake, Hyak, Easton, South Cle Elum, Thorp, Ellensburg, and
Wanapum as well as overnight camping along the trail.
During the 2006 session of the Legislature, a proposal to allow commercial rail use again on
portions of the former railroad line was heard. The bill (SB 6527) passed, giving the Department of
Transportation until 2009 to find and enter into a franchise agreement with a firm to develop and
operate what would be a reactivated railroad corridor between Ellensburg and Lind.
Based on public testimony during the legislative session, the Legislature amended the original bill
to include transfer to State Parks of the eastern 102 miles of the former railroad corridor currently
managed by the DNR. This segment stretches from Lind to the Idaho border near Tekoa.
The DNR currently allows public access to the corridor by prior reservation only. In general, trail
condition west of the Columbia River is much better than trail condition east of the river. A
number of breaks in the trail exist where the railroad removed bridges prior to transfer; at other
locations land slides require re-routing visitors off the corridor right-of-way onto public roads. A
2005 Parks sponsored engineering evaluation of the trail condition noted a cost of multiple
millions dollars to fully restore infrastructure such as bridges, trestles, and culverts, and bring the
corridor to a completed recreational rail trail.
SB 6527 set the date for DNR to transfer administration of the corridor to State Parks for June 9,
2006. DNR has agreed to pay for weed control in 2006. Actual deed transfer and transfer of
easements and other encumbrances will occur after both agencies have completed due diligence
associated with a land transaction. Until State Parks receives an increase in its operating budget to
manage the trail to the same standard as other rail trails, Parks staff will continue the DNR
management approach of having the trail open to visitors on a reservation-only basis. Other next
steps include consultation with adjacent property owners, an inventory of current condition, and
development of plans and costs for future development and operation consistent with the priorities
set in the Centennial 2013 Plan.
Appendix 1: John Wayne Pioneer Trail and Milwaukee Road Corridor Map
REQUESTED ACTION FROM COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission:
1. Express its appreciation to the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders Association and
other supporters of the cross state trail for their efforts in working with the Legislature to
support this transfer; and
2. Authorize the Director to accept transfer of the deed, easement, and other encumbrances
from the Department of Natural Resources of the eastern 102 miles of the former railroad
corridor from Lind and the Idaho border.
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Item E-3: Spokane River Clean-up - Memorandum of Agreement with
Department of Ecology - Requested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to authorize the Director or
designee to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the State Department of Ecology for
removal of environmental contaminants in the Spokane River where it abuts State Parks' lands in
Spokane County. This request complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element, "Our
Commitment - Stewardship".
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), with assistance from the Seattle District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)
and in coordination with the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE), is cleaning up the
shoreline beach areas of several Washington recreational sites along the Spokane River (Appendix
1). The EPA project is part of the Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site.
In 2005, the Commission approved a right-of-entry permit with the Corps to allow cleanup work at
the first such State Parks’ site – the Starr Road Recreation Area. Because eight additional parkland
sites will need remedial action, an authorizing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the
Commission and DOE will ensure timely approval for DOE access to these project sites.
There will be significant-impact clean up at five State Parks sites:
Donkey Island Bar (design is currently at 100%)
Plante Ferry Park Area
Barker Rd. N. Shore
Harvard Rd. Access, N. Bank
Centennial Bridge/Islands S. Shore
There will be minimal-impact clean up at three State Parks sites:
Murray Rd. Bar Complex
Flora Rd. S. Shore
Barker Rd. S. Shore
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: A draft copy of the MOA is attached as Appendix 2. Staff
recommends that the Commission authorize the Director or designee to execute the MOA with the
DOE to formalize the cooperative efforts of both agencies regarding public health and safety and
water quality improvements along the Spokane River.
AUTHORITY: RCW 79A.05.030 Powers and duties -- Mandatory.
―(8) Cooperate with the United States … in any matter pertaining to the…renovation, care, control, or
supervision of any park or parkway, and enter into contracts in writing to that end…‖
CENTENNIAL 2013 VISION: The proposed action is compatible with the Centennial 2013
Vision which emphasizes stewardship of natural resources.
Appendix 1: Location and Vicinity Map
Appendix 2: Memorandum of Agreement
REQUESTED ACTION OF COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission:
1. Authorize the Director or designee to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the State
Department of Ecology that defines process, roles and responsibilities for a cooperative
effort to clean up contaminated areas of the Spokane River within or adjacent to Riverside
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Item E-4: 07-09 Parks State Budget Submission—Requested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to adopt concepts and grant approval
to proceed with development of the final 2007-09 Operating, Capital, and Transportation Budget
requests, all consistent with the Centennial 2013 Plan, for submission to the Governor’s Office of
Financial Management on September 1, 2006. This complies with the Centennial 2013 Plan
element, ―Our Commitment –Financial Strategy.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The agency submitted Part I of the 2007-
09 Budget Package –Strategic Plan on June 1, 2006. That plan is based on the Centennial 2013
Plan and outlines budget strategies for the next three biennia. Agency requests for the operating,
capital and transportation budgets will be sent to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) on or
before September 1, 2006. Agency request legislation is also due at that time. The combined
proposals will ensure that budget requests are aligned and focused on Centennial 2013 Plan
Details of the operating, capital, and transportation requests are included in the appendices to this
item. It is staff’s intention to review the combined budget and agency request legislation proposal
with the new State Parks Centennial 2013 Advisory Committee prior to final approval by the
Commission in August and submission to the Office of Financial Management.
Operating Budget Request
Staff has identified budget needs for the 2007-2009 Operating Budget based upon new work
needed to meet the Centennial 2013 Plan benchmarks. Budget needs were submitted by regions
and service centers, evaluated and ranked, and submitted to the Director for prioritization and final
submission to the Commission.
Operating budget requests are included for all of the agency’s Centennial 2013 Plan
―Commitments.‖ While all items are consistent with the Centennial 2013 Plan, some items are
included as ―Maintenance Requests‖ in the operating budget (those items that are required by
statute, rule, or that continue existing levels of service), while others are included as ―Performance
Requests‖ or enhancements to existing levels of service. Priorities were given to items that
reduced or minimized health, safety and risk issues, and improved efficiency and revenue
Proposed Operating budget request items are included as Appendix 1 to this document.
Capital Budget Request
The 2005-2007 Capital Budget request is needed to achieve benchmarks in the Centennial 2013
Plan. ―Our Commitment‖ and ―Your Legacy‖ benchmarks require significant investment in the
parks through the capital budget. For example, the Centennial 2013 Plan Commitment for
―Facilities‖ requires new capital spending to reduce the $300 million capital renovation backlog .
―Your Legacy‖ items in the Centennial 2013 Plan address new and renewed parks in the system
that require capital expenditure to match or encourage partner contributions in the ensuing
State Parks staff have reviewed, scored, compiled and prioritized a list of preferred projects for the
first phase of the Centennial 2013 Plan. The lists of projects in the proposed request include
approximately $75 million for reducing the capital renovation and deferred maintenance backlogs,
and approximately $20 million for new water quality projects consistent with the Governor’s Puget
Sound and Hood Canal Initiatives. The capital budget does not include bond funds for new cabins
and yurts, and it is recommended that a COP be obtained and fees for cabins and yurts increased to
pay for the debt service on the COP.
Proposed capital budget request items are included as Appendix 3 to this document.
Transportation Budget Request
State Parks has traditionally received state highway funding through the transportation budget for
ongoing maintenance of specific roadways, and in the past has received highway dollars for major
paving, roadway renovation and road construction projects. At this time Parks has no new policy
level requests, but will maintain its base in the transportation budget.
Appendix 1: 2007-2009 Operating Budget Request Items
Appendix 2: Amendments to the Centennial Plan as approved by Commission on November 17,
Appendix 3: 2007-2009 Capital Budget Request Items
REQUESTED ACTION OF COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission:
1. Authorize the Director or designee to develop a 2007-2009 Operating Budget request
consistent with the items and priorities included in Appendix 1 of this document or as revised
by the Commission. Further authorize the Director or designee to make additions, deletions
and/or changes, which will go before the Commission for final approval at its August 24, 2006,
meeting before submission to OFM on or before September 1, 2006, the dollar amounts to said
items as deemed appropriate.
Authorize the Director or designee to develop a 2007-2009 Capital Budget request consistent with the items and
priorities included in Appendix 3 of this document or as revised by the Commission at their November 17, 2005
meeting. Further authorize the Director or designee to make additions, deletions and/or changes, which will go before
the Commission for final approval at its August 24, 2006 meeting before submission to OFM on or before September
1, 2006, the dollar amounts to said items as deemed appropriate.
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Item E-5: Long-Term Boundary Revision and Land Disposal—Selected
Properties at Riverside State Park—Centennial Trail—Requested
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to determine that state park
properties located on the north side of the Spokane River and east of the The Islands Trailhead are
surplus to the needs of the state for development for state park purposes and should be transferred
to a local government. This complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element, ―Our Commitment -
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In 1998, the Commission adopted land
classifications and a long-term boundary for Riverside State Park, which included the Centennial
Trail area. Since that time, staff has done a more detailed analysis of Parks property ownership
associated with the Centennial Trail. In addition to the trail corridor itself, State Parks owns a
number of parcels disconnected from the trail. These properties constitute a string of public lands
interspersed along several miles of the northern shore of the Spokane River and east from The
Islands Trailhead, the Centennial Trail lies on the southern shore of the Spokane River (Appendix
1). As staff reviewed these properties an underlying premise was that an open space corridor
would be retained along the river shore for habitat and access purposes.
Staff then further evaluated those properties not connected to the Centennial Trail. These are
properties that do not contribute directly to public recreation opportunities, or provide riparian
habitat and river corridor green space value. Staff analysis concluded that these disconnected
properties cannot be advantageously used for park purposes and should be considered for transfer
to another public entity or disposal via sale by auction.
The central function of properties deeded to the Commission by Inland Empire Paper Company
and others was to expand Riverside State Park and facilitate creation of the Centennial Trail. With
adoption of the Centennial 2013 Vision by the Commission in January 2005, an ongoing
systematic review of park properties is underway to ensure that all Commission owned and
managed properties are consistent with the Vision and are best managed by the Commission.
For those properties that are not consistent with the Centennial 2013 Vision or that may be better
managed by others, the Commission has embarked on a program of property disposal by either
transfer to others who will retain the property for park and open space purposes, or by sale at
auction with the proceeds going to purchase properties of high recreation value to expand existing
state parks. On May 11, 2006, staff held a public meeting in Spokane regarding a staff
recommendation for seven selected properties in this area. The advertisement for the public
meeting noted the properties were under consideration for disposal, possibly at auction.
Approximately 80 people attended the meeting. Sentiment strongly favored retention of the
property in public ownership. Uses noted included public travel along the banks of the river
corridor, habitat, access to the river from the adjoining uplands, possible future use as a trail, and
open space. People noted the decline in open space in general and particularly water access sites.
They mentioned that the community was seeking sites like this for community use, including
several recent purchases by local governments.
The properties that were proposed for public auction fall within the jurisdiction of two local
governments, the City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County. Each government noted the high
value of these properties for public open space and habitat purposes, and their efforts to acquire
like properties within their jurisdictions as driven by local open space planning. Attached are
letters sent from each government (Appendix 2). Staff recommends that the Commission
authorize the Director to transfer the properties proposed for auction to the city of Spokane Valley
and Spokane County as authorized by statute and upon receipt of a public use plan for the
properties. Staff additionally requests Commission authorization to enter into discussions that
would lead to the transfer to the city of Spokane Valley and Spokane County all remaining
Commission owned property not required for the Centennial Trail within Riverside State Park east
of the Islands Trailhead and north of the Spokane River. The primary public purpose for this
property is for riparian habitat and river shore open space that is much more consistent with local
open space objectives and management than as part of Riverside State Park and the Centennial
Authority -- RCW 79A.05.170
Under RCW 79A.05.170 (see Appendix 3), when the Commission finds that property under its
control ―...are surplus to the needs of the state for development for state park purposes…‖ it may
deed the land to local government for outdoor recreation purposes. The statute further prescribes
that a deed transferring lands shall contain a reversionary clause stating that the land shall revert to
the Commission if not used for outdoor recreation purposes.
Appendix 1: Vicinity and Parcel Maps
Appendix 2: Letters from City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County
Appendix 3: RCW 79A.05.170
REQUESTED ACTION OF COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously:
1. Receive staff’s ―Determination of Non-significance‖ that the proposed action is minor and
the environmental effects are not significant;
2. Find that the Commission owned properties located east of the Islands Trailhead and on the
north side of the Spokane River are surplus to the needs of the state for development for
state park purposes;
3. Authorize the Director pursuant to RCW 79A.05.170 to transfer at no cost to the city of
Spokane Valley and Spokane County the Commission owned properties within their
separate jurisdictions that were proposed for disposal by public auction upon receipt of a
public use plan; and
4. Authorize the Director to transfer at no cost to the city of Spokane Valley and Spokane
County the remaining Commission owned properties east of the Islands Trailhead and on the north
side of the Spokane River not required for the Centennial Trail pursuant to RCW 79A.05.170 and
upon submittal to the Director of a formal request for transfer and a public use plan for the
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Item E-6: Palouse Falls State Park Boundary Expansion—Requested Action
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item asks the Commission to authorize the Director to enter
into a long-term lease with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to expand the boundary of
Palouse Falls State Park. This item complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element, ―Your
Legacy - New Destinations.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In 2003 the Commission, as a result of
legislatively enacted budget cuts, was forced to return to the United States Army Corps of
Engineers (Corps) the leases for four state parks in southeast Washington. Those leases included
Lyons Ferry, Crow Butte, Central Ferry, and Chief Timothy. With the return of the leases, each
property ceased being managed as a state park and reverted to the Corps, who has since arranged
for private concession management of all four parks to keep them available to the public. The
Centennial 2013 Plan recognizes the loss of state park properties in southeast Washington by
specifically including in the "Your Legacy - New Destinations" a new park in southeast
Washington. In 2004, staff began exploring options with local stakeholders for a new park in
southeast Washington, including an effort to determine the viability of agricultural interpretation
with a state park experience. To date, no viable agricultural interpretation state park opportunity
has been found. The search effort did lead to the formation of the citizens Walla Walla Parks
Exploratory Committee. This committee is being supportive of efforts to establish a new park in
The Centennial 2013 Plan also calls for Parks to ―unveil the mysteries of the Ice Age Floods.‖
Palouse Falls State Park along with Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park represents two of the most
important properties in the state to interpret the Ice Age Floods story. At present, Palouse Falls
State Park is in need of a planning effort followed by significant improvement/redevelopment to
recognize its appropriate role in both telling the Ice Age Flood story and as an undeveloped
recreation opportunity. As part of the 2005-2007 capital budget, the Legislature appropriated
$250,000 to begin work on a new park in southeast Washington. The Commission also received
an appropriation to create an Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan and begin implementing that plan.
At its November 2005 meeting, the Commission authorized staff to explore the concept of an
expanded Palouse Falls State Park to include the Palouse River Canyon and all or part of the Corps
owned Lyons Ferry property as a direct step that might lead to the realization of meeting the
Centennial 2013 Plan of creating a new destination in southeast Washington. Since November,
Parks staff has met with the Corps who expressed their interest in the Commission seeking to
expand and improve Palouse Falls State Park, completed a draft of the Ice Age Floods Interpretive
Plan, and spent time on-site further exploring the interpretive and recreational potential of an
expanded park. Staff also met with the Corps and Commissioners from the Port of Columbia
(Port) in a meeting facilitated by the Walla Walla Parks Exploratory Committee. The Corps has
leased a portion of the Lyons Ferry property to the Port who has subleased to a new concessionaire
to open and operate Lyons Ferry Park. In that conversation, Parks staff expressed both
appreciation and support for the efforts of the Corps, the Port, and their concessionaire to open
Lyons Ferry Park so that it will remain available for public use. Staff also suggested that planning
for an expanded Palouse Falls State Park might be most effective if it included the Walla Walla
Parks Exploratory Committee, the Corps, and the Port with input from their concessionaire to
determine what recreation and interpretive opportunities are available, affordable, and viable
through a cooperative effort.
NEXT STEPS - In the next few months staff will begin planning and design for Palouse Falls
State Park for infrastructure and facilities renovations, trail expansion, and interpretative
improvements as dictated by the Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan. Staff will consult with tribal
stakeholders, the Walla Walla Parks Exploratory Committee, the Corps, and the Port in a
cooperative planning process. The Corps has indicated that the expansion of Palouse Falls State
Park to include the Palouse River Canyon begins with a letter from the Commission indicating its
desire to expand the park, intended uses, and specifying what property will be included in a lease
with the Corps. A concept map of the area is included as Appendix 1.
Appendix 1: Concept Map
REQUESTED ACTION OF COMMISSION:
That the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission:
1. Express its appreciation to the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Walla Walla
Parks Exploratory Committee for both their past and future assistance.
2. Authorize the Director or designee to expand Palouse Falls State Park through along-term
lease of the Palouse River Canyon from the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
3. Declare that an expanded Palouse Falls State Park will be the new destination in Southeast
Washington as called for in the Centennial 2013 Plan element "Your Legacy-New
Destinations" and include in future capital budget requests adequate funding to create a
new destination of uncommon quality.
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Item E-7: Ice Age Floods Draft Interpretive Plan—Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan develops target audience
profiles, inventories physical features and associated storylines in identified State Parks, and
prepares an overview of potential themes and strategies for implementation. This complies with
our Centennial 2013 Plan element, ―Your Legacy – Cherished Resources.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Ice Age Floods played a prominent
role in shaping not only Washington State’s dramatic landscape, but also its economy. A specific
goal of the Centennial 2013 Plan is to interpret through education and recreational experiences
what the Ice Age Floods were as geologic events and their impact on the state today. These epic
floods created much of the modern day landscape in eastern Washington including some of the
unique agricultural micro-environments that are being utilized by today’s viticulturalists and
specialty farmers. A comprehensive program of Ice Age Flood interpretation in the state park
system will also enhance and tap potential rural economic development opportunities related to the
The Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan represents a systematic effort to assemble story
opportunities in one document so that State Parks, key stakeholders, and other interested partners
can focus their efforts on effectively telling the Ice Age Floods story through a unified theme.
During the development of this interpretive plan. extensive discussions have been held with those
stakeholders, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Geologic Survey, the Bureau of Land
Management, State Parks’ staff, the Back Country Horsemen, the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway’s
Coalition, and numerous local Ice Age Floods Institute chapters across the state.
The Draft Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan proposes to preserve and present this story through
defined objectives. These objectives are:
1. Protect and conserve Ice Age Floods features in the parks while using them to provide
recreational and educational experiences.
2. Increase public support and strengthen the constituency for State Parks and the other
agencies and entities involved in protecting Ice Age Flood features, and increase support
for development of a complete network of interpretive opportunities related to the Ice Age
3. A significant increase in the number of public visits to parks and features associated with
the Ice Age Floods.
The draft Ice Age Floods Interpretive Plan focuses on telling this story through the lens of modern
day state parks on the flood route. Within this plan, parks with significant features for
interpretation are discussed and specific recommendations are made for each facility. Once this
plan is finalized, a Phase II effort will commence with the installation of interpretive elements at
Appendix 1: Ice Age Floods; Preliminary Concept for the Interpretive Plan
Appendix 2: Ice Age Floods; Interpretive Plan Map
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Item E-8: Comparison of Public Perception—Washington and Oregon State
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This report will compare Oregon and Washington’s state park
systems, including: 1) Facilities and resources, 2) Fiscal responsibilities, 3) Management systems,
and 4) Public services. The report will evaluate strengths of both systems and recommend
potential areas of improvement for Washington to consider. This request complies with our
Centennial 2013 Plan element, "Our Commitment – Public Service.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Oregon: Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department’s mission statement is:
“The mission of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is to provide and protect
outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment
and education of present and future generations.”
On November 30, 2000, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission (OPRD) adopted goals and
supporting strategies for OPRD aimed at honoring the 15-year commitment to state park funding
made by Oregon voters when they passed Ballot Measure 66 in 1998. Called ―Target 2014‖ the
direction embodies these eight goals, as revised and adopted by the Commission on
August 5, 2004:
Goal 1: Acquire properties that build upon the diversity and strength of our current
Goal 2: Promote outdoor recreation in Oregon.
Goal 3: Advance the principles of conservation and sustainability in land management,
development and business practices.
Goal 4: Preserve Oregon’s rich cultural heritage and broaden public understanding of
Oregon’s historic places and events.
Goal 5: Deliver world-class experiences to park visitors.
Goal 6: Promote access to Oregon’s beaches, trails and waterways.
Goal 7: Provide varied, high-quality camping and other overnight experiences.
Goal 8: Seek sufficient and stable operational and long-term funding.
Washington: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s mission and Centennial
Vision statements are:
State Parks Mission: “The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
acquires, operates, enhances, and protects a diverse system of recreational, cultural,
historical, and natural sites.
The Commission fosters outdoor recreation and education statewide to provide
enjoyment and enrichment for all and a valued legacy to future generations.”
State Parks Centennial Vision: “In 2013, Washington's state parks will be premier
destinations of uncommon quality, including state and regionally significant natural,
cultural, historical and recreational resources that are outstanding for the experience,
health, enjoyment and learning of all people."
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has developed a strategic plan called
Centennial 2013 that lays out goals and strategies to manage, develop and improve the agency.
(See Appendix 1 for 2013 Plan). The plan is organized into the following sections:
1. Our Commitment
· Enjoyment, Health and Learning
· Public Service
· Financial Strategy
2. Your Legacy
· Growing into the Future
· New Destinations
· On the Water
· Cherished Resources
3. 100 Connections
So what is the significance of Washington’s ―Centennial 2013‖ and Oregon’s ―Target 2014?‖
Washington is set on the 100-year anniversary of the park system and leaving a legacy for the next
100 years. In 1998, the people of Oregon, by initiative, set aside state lottery funds for the support
of the park system for 15 years. Without this initiative OPRD was looking at a major park closing
of 60 state parks. In 2014 these lottery funds will be discontinued unless reestablished. ―Target
2014‖ is the mission statement to set direction for the use of the lottery funds and to set goals and
measurements for the increased lottery funds.
Both agencies have similar vision statements and long-range plans for the accomplishment of their
vision. Washington is more specific with its three Centennial 2013 Priorities, eleven Centennial
Goals, and in its definition of park qualities to be expected at a state park. Washington State Parks
also embraces a person’s spiritual and physical well-being by including the words experience and
health in its vision. Because Washington’s vision statement is further detailed by the Centennial
2013 Plan, and eleven Centennial Goals, and it includes a set date, it tends to be more goal-
oriented and the planning document has very specific measurable goals.
In summary, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s vision statement appears to
be more specific and goal-oriented. This implies action and measurable standards which places
management in a better position to make day-to-day decisions on areas, sites, and resources to be
added to the park system.
When Yellowstone was set aside in 1872 as the world's first national park, it marked the start of a
new attitude toward the American outdoors. Citizens gradually came to see value in saving tracts
of open space for everyone to enjoy. By 1900, three more national parks had been added
(including Mount Rainier National Park in 1899) and a few scattered states had begun to develop
public parks of their own.
Oregon: The following history of Oregon State Parks was taken from the Oregon Blue Book
In 1871 Thomas Summers donated Sodaville Mineral Springs in the central Willamette Valley to
perpetual public use. It was taken over by the State Board of Control in 1890 but did not become
pat of the system of state parks until 1947. Along the Willamette River, in the vicinity of the former
town site of Champoeg, Provisional Government Park was established between 1901 and 1912.
An early boost for coastal park development was the 1913 declaration by Governor Oswald West
that the Oregon beaches should be designated as a public highway. The Legislative Assembly
concurred, amending existing laws to include all ocean shore tidelands from the Columbia River
South to the California state line.
The Oregon State Highway Commission, first established in 1913, became directors of a park
system. With their related agency, the State Highway Department, and its successor, the
Department of Transportation, the commissioners guided Oregon State Parks from 1921 through
In 1921, the Highway Commission was authorized to acquire rights of way within 300 feet of the
highway center line. Proceeding on this authority, the commission acquired several small
roadside parks and waysides. A committee on tree planting was appointed in 1924 by the
In 1927, Charles G. Sauers, a leader in Indiana parks and representing the National Conference
on State Parks, came to Oregon to promote the idea of a department of conservation for natural
resources including the state park system. The system would thus be developed by people
primarily concerned with parks, rather than the location, construction and maintenance of
In 1928, the committee name was changed to State Park and Recreation Advisory Committee as
their concern shifted to broader matters, including the location and nature of parks.
In May 1929, the governor appointed a State Park Commission composed of the existing Highway
Commission plus two former chairmen. This park commission met only once,
July 24, 1929.
Washington: The following history was taken from the Washington State Parks’ website:
In 1913 the Washington State legislature creates the Washington State Board of Park
Commissioners, consisting mostly of elected officials. Lawmakers offer no official instructions,
guidelines or funding for the new board.
In 1915 the Board accepts first two donated park properties: John R. Jackson House, a pioneer
heritage site near Chehalis, and Chuckanut State Park (now Larrabee), a forested tract with
saltwater beach access near Bellingham.
In 1921, when the first National Conference of State Parks was held, 29 states still had not
established any state parks at all. Washington - though its Parks Board was only a few years old -
already boasted seven.
In 1921 a House Bill 164 gave the board specific powers to:
-- Adopt and enforce regulations for parks.
-- Plant trees along state highways.
-- Improve and beautify parks and parkways.
-- Permit citizens to camp in parks.
-- Grant concessions for services in parks.
-- Acquire land, including shore and tidelands, for park purposes.
Although Oregon started earlier than Washington in setting aside land for the public, the land mark
year for both park systems appears to be 1913. By 1921 both systems had become viable public
entities within their respective states.
Both park systems are made up of a number of properties throughout both states. Below is a
summary of those resources.
∙ Number of Named Operational Park Units 233 Public Areas
∙ Acreage Managed 101,010 Acres
∙ Average Size of Park Units 433 Acres
∙ Length of Coastal Beaches 262 Miles
∙ Public Coastal Headlands 64 Miles
∙ Number of Coastal Parks 83 Parks
19 with Campgrounds
∙ Number of Parks West of the Cascades 60 Parks
15 with Campgrounds
∙ Number of Parks East of the Cascades 39 Parks
16 with Campgrounds
∙ Number of Named Operational Park Units 120 Public Areas
∙ Acreage Managed 260,000 Acres
∙ Average Size of Park Units 2,166 Acres
∙ Length of Coastal Beaches 60 Miles
∙ Number of Coastal Parks 13 Parks
5 with Campgrounds
∙ Number of Parks West of the Cascades 69 Parks
49 with Campgrounds
∙ Number of Parks East of the Cascades 38 Parks
25 with Campgrounds
OPRD has almost twice as many park areas as Washington -- 233 as compared to 120. Oregon’s
areas average significantly smaller than Washington -- 433 acres as compared to 2,166 Acres. It
appears this is a legacy from OPRD being a part of the highway system. Many of these areas are
roadside rest areas. Oregon has fewer parks with overnight campgrounds -- 50 as compared to 79.
Oregon also has significantly more miles of beach than Washington -- 326 as compared to 60.
One of the factors causing the difference is Washington exchanged the beaches along the Olympic
Peninsula to the National Park Service for the Olympic National Park.
Number of % of % of
Overnight Sites Number Total Number Total
Primitive 185 3.17% 541 8.23%
Standard 1,649 28.27% 4254 64.72%
Utility 3,736 64.05% 1741 26.49%
Yurts 190 3.26% 24 0.37%
Cabins 61 1.05% 10 0.15%
Other 12 0.21% 3 0.05%
Total 5,833 100% 6,573 100%
Parks/Campgrounds 50 79
Avg. # of Campsites 116 83
# of Coastal
Campsites 3,090 52.99% 913 13.89%
# of Central
Campsites 1,392 23.87% 3,998 60.82%
# of Eastern
Campsites 1,349 23.13% 1,662 25.29%
Oregon and Washington have similar policies that all lands are open to day use, and the systems
have similar facilities for the accommodation of day use parking lots, restrooms, and walking
Oregon has approximately 740 or 11% fewer overnight sites than Washington, although the
variation in type, location, and size of development is significantly different. In Oregon the
agency has put an emphasis on the higher developed overnight sites which, in turn, accommodates
longer stays and longer use seasons. The percentage of utility sites -- Oregon at 64% versus
Washington at 26% -- and convenience camping structures -- 4.5% for Oregon and 0.5% for
Washington -- exemplifies the differences in the organizational priority for providing
overnight facilities. Oregon does not have a standard for ratio of types of campsites. When asked
how this ratio evolved, the reason given was that the planning decision was made at each
individual park. Priority in the site planning was based on the fact that Oregon receives 13%
(approximately $24 million in a biennium) of its budget from recreational vehicle registrations.
Oregon tried to make sure that they were providing facilities for recreational vehicles by placing a
higher priority on utility sites.
Oregon campgrounds are on the average 40% larger in the number of overnight units provided.
Assuming that 100 overnight units is optimum for efficient man power utilization, Oregon is -- at
an average of 116 overnight units -- better designed for management efficiency than Washington --
at an average of 83 units per campground.
The majority of overnight units in Oregon (53%) are located on the Pacific Coast as compared to
Washington (14%). Washington (61%) has the majority of its overnight units in the central part of
the state as compared to Oregon (24%). This is due to the inland coastal area created by Puget
Sound. Both states have similar representation in the Eastern slopes of the Cascades -- 23 % for
Oregon and 25% for Washington.
Oregon: For 2005-07 revenue totaling $184.7 million will fund the operating and capital budgets,
which includes authorization for 524.44 FTEs. The revenue comes from the following sources:
Based on the percentages shown above, the Capital Budget for OPRD is approximately
$49,923,000. The parks and administration account is for approximately $90,500,000. The
remaining portion funds special outreach programs such as Historic Preservation, grants for
recreation, and the state fair.
Washington State Parks’ budget for the 2005-07 biennium, from all funds, is $105,424,500 and
713.5 FTEs. This includes funding for the boating and winter recreation programs that extend
beyond the park boundaries and other dedicated funds. The portion of the budget that primarily
funds State Parks operations is $95,157,500.
∙ 63% is from the State General Fund (GF-S) which is comprised of general taxes and fees.
∙ 37% is from the Park Renewal and Stewardship Account (PRSA) which is comprised of
money raised directly by the state park system through park fees and revenues.
The Biennium Capital Budget contains an additional 56 FTEs and is funded at $50,985,946. Most
of these funds are appropriated from State General Construction Bonds and transportation funds.
The above figure excludes any grant funds.
Misc. Revenue, Washington Revenue 2003-05
ELC, $1,926,828, 5%
Yurts, Cabins &
Houses, $502,689, 1%
In general, both agencies appear to be very close in operating budget for park operations -- Oregon
at $90 million and Washington at $95 million. The agencies do differ in the number of FTEs --
Oregon at 524 as compared to Washington at 713.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission was created by the State Legislature in 1989 to
establish policies, adopt rules necessary to execute the duties of the agency, set fees, acquire
property, promote the state’s outdoor recreation policy, and appoint the OPRD Director.
Commissioners serve four-year terms. They are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the
State Senate. The Commission has seven members -- one from each of the five State
Congressional Districts -- a member at large from the Eastside of the Cascades, and a member at
large from the Westside of the Oregon Coast Range.
The current organization chart is:
(a) Includes management and support of the state park system and recreational programs unit;
(b) Includes responsibilities for Oregon’ ocean shores and Oregon’s scenic waterways major planning
efforts -- the Ocean Shores Management Plan, the Habitat Conservation Plan for the Snowy Plover,
and the State Recreational Trails Plan;
(c) Includes engineering and design support;
(d) For more information on grant programs; and
(e) Includes Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, State Advisory
Committee on Historic Preservation, and Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is made up of seven at large citizen
commissioners, appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate to a term of six (6)
years. The State Parks Commission, among other legislated responsibilities, sets policy and
direction for the agency and hires the agency director.
The current organization chart is:
Oregon’s organization is a modified centralized organization. The parks operations are
decentralized into six Regions, all with Region offices that include a Region Director and Park
Planner. The Administration Division includes a grants program similar to Washington’s
Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, along with all of the personnel, safety and
financial services. The Heritage Conservation Division is similar to Washington’s Department of
Archeology and Historic Preservation.
Washington’s organization is a decentralized organization with operations and capital development
divided into four Region offices. The Region offices include a Region Manager for operations, a
Region Manager for park development, and staffing for personnel, financial, visitor services,
maintenance, and resource management. There is also one major Conference Center that is part of
a state park and includes a Park Manager, a Conference Center Services Manager and staffing for
conference services, visitor services, maintenance, and resource management. The main agency
headquarters office is divided into service centers designed to provide help and consultation in all
areas of park operation, development, resource management, administration, business
development, visitor services, personnel, and safety.
As of June 30, 2005, OPRD operated with 391 full-time, year-round positions -- 250 in the field,
121 in Salem, and 20 at Reservations Northwest. Each summer (late May through early
September) nearly 414 seasonal positions augment the field work force.
Currently, Washington State Parks operates with 605 full-time, year-round positions. Of those
positions, 246 are Park Rangers, 107 Construction and Maintenance positions, 8 Interpretive
Positions, 94 positions in the Conference Center, and four Region offices, bringing the total
permanent field positions to 455. There are 150 permanent positions in the Olympia headquarters
office. The agency also hires approximately 400 non-permanent seasonal positions to augment the
Volunteers help OPRD extend field-based customer service, offer a growing number of
interpretive programs, and maintain park lands and facilities. A total of 26,492 volunteers donated
455,027 hours in 2004. The estimated value of their work was $7.7 million. The number of hours
they contribute annually translates into nearly 220 full-time employees.
OPRD offers seven basic volunteer programs (described below) supported by two statewide
volunteer coordinators in the Salem office. These programs are Park Hosts, Adopt-a-Park , Annual
Clean-ups, Cooperative Associations (Friends Groups), Special Projects, Youth VIPs (Volunteers
in Parks), and Junior Rangers
The Washington State Parks Volunteer Program helps provide visitor services and facility
maintenance, resource stewardship and interpretation in all of the 120 state parks. A total of 1,170
volunteers donated 196,000 hours in 2005. Also in 2005 Washington State Parks had 230 groups
donate approximately 75,000 volunteer hours. Using Oregon’s evaluation ratio for a more
accurate comparison, Washington State Parks estimated value of 271,000 volunteer hours was $4.6
million. The number of hours they contributed annually translates into nearly 131 full-time
Washington State Parks offers four basic volunteer programs supported by one statewide
volunteer coordinator in the Olympia office. These programs are Park Hosts, Adopt-a-Park,
Annual Clean-ups, and Special Projects.
Both park systems have similar volunteer programs with the basic goal of increased visitor service.
Oregon seems to have a better and more complete volunteer hour tracking program, which may
explain the differences in the above reported numbers. The other major difference is that Oregon
reported 341,000 hours of camp host time where Washington reported 151,000 hours. One of the
reasons for the increased host program is Oregon staffs small day use areas with hosts only with
233 areas; this is a significant amount of host time. The three programs listed in Oregon
Cooperative Associations (Friends Groups), Youth VIPs (Volunteers in Parks), and Junior Rangers
as part of the volunteer program database are mirrored in Washington but the hours are not tracked
as part of the volunteer program. The first implementation phase of the 2013 Vision is to include
Cooperative Associations (Friends Groups) as part of the database.
It would appear that Washington could improve the accuracy of its reporting and maybe look at
expanding its Volunteer Host Program.
Park Use Fees
Fees Oregon Washington Range
Range Range Difference
Primitive $ 4.00 $ 5.00 $ 10.00 $ 10.00 $5 to $6
Standard 10.00 13.00 10.00 19.00 $0 to $6
Utility 16.00 18.00 21.00 27.00 $5 to $9
Yurts 27.00 45.00 40.00 45.00 $0 to $13
Cabins 35.00 58.00 40.00 65.00 $5 to $7
Other 25.00 27.00 40.00 40.00 $15 to $13
Extra 5.00 5.00 10.00 10.00 $5
Oregon is significantly lower on overnight camping fees than Washington. The reason for this
difference is in 1998, Oregon started receiving a percentage of lottery funds to operate, repair, and
develop the system. The lottery funds have grown every year and in some cases beyond
expectations of budgetary projections. For this reason Oregon has not changed their fees since
1998. Washington, however, continues to support up to 37% of its operating budget through user
fees. The inventory and availability of the facilities generating these fees has not appreciably
changed since the 1980’s. To keep up with rising operational costs, raising fees, and expanding
use seasons are the only way the system has been able to meet rising costs without lowering it
Summary of Significant Differences
The comparison of Washington State Parks and Oregon State Parks is like looking at a mirror
image in a lot of ways. Both agencies share a common history and enabling legislation, major park
growth, development, ocean beach management, and funding. The major break in funding
happened in 1998 when the citizens of Oregon -- by a large majority -- dedicated a large
percentage of state lottery funds to the operation and development of OPRD. Washington State
Parks still relies heavily on general fund tax dollars. With 2014 looming and the lottery funds not
being reinstituted, Oregon along with Washington still has the goal of seeking a permanent
dedicated funding source. As the agencies are so similar in their histories, vision, mission and
public services, collaborative thinking and action between commissions and management
leadership could result in stronger solutions.
The major difference in park resources is that Washington has consolidated its system into larger
park areas. Oregon puts most of its park effort in its 326 miles of Pacific Ocean beaches and
headlands. Because the Oregon Coast is variable with cliffs, rocks sand expanses -- all visible
from a coastal highway -- the state is well known nationally for its coast line. The Washington
coast does not offer a diversity of scenery, and is not as long or as visible with its huge expanse of
flat sand beaches rimmed with sand dunes; therefore, Washington puts most of its park efforts into
interior and Puget Sound parks.
Washington could learn its best lesson from Oregon in their facility development. Oregon’s
campgrounds are bigger and from an economy of scale, more efficiently managed. Washington
State Parks should look at each park area with less than 100 overnight sites to expand, if the land
and resources will allow, to 100 plus sites. From an operating efficiency this would provide
lower costs per site and increased overall agency revenue. This would mean an addition of up to
approximately 1,500 campsites. Washington should also adopt the ratio of utility sites like
Oregon. This action would expand use in the shoulder and off season, and increase agency
revenue. This action could add approximately 1,700 utility sites in Washington. Implementation
of these actions is also supported by the report, ―Recreation Camping and Washington State Parks‖
by Brian Hovis in May 2005. The report was presented to the Commission Lands Committee and
is attached as Appendix 2 as an executive summary of this report.
Both agencies operate well under their current organization although OPRD has just made some
changes to decentralize their staff. It became apparent during the information collection phase of
this report that a meeting of operational staff between states would provide both agencies insight
on common problem areas and improve management in both agencies. Items such as park staffing,
deferred maintenance, vehicle replacement, park operating standards, park interpretation, and
visitor safety are all areas that should be shared between agency operational staff, along with an
employee exchange program.
Washington State Parks needs to align its volunteer reporting similar to Oregon. The counting of
hours for cooperating associations, committees, and public meetings should be all a part of
Washington’s volunteer data. This is an area that Washington is already making changes to
Appendix 1: Centennial 2013 Plan
Appendix 2: Executive Summary of ―Recreation Camping and Washington State Parks‖
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Item E-9: Puget Sound Clean-up Efforts—Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item reports on progress to date towards completion of Puget
Sound and Hood Canal water quality projects using funds appropriated during the 2006 Legislative
Session. This item complies with our Centennial 2013 Plan element, "Our Commitment –
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: As part of a larger program, the
Legislature appropriated $17.3 million to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
(State Parks). This appropriation was prompted by an initiative lead by Governor Gregoire and
supported by the Legislature to clean up the waters of Puget Sound and Hood Canal. State Parks is
one of several agencies and organizations working to carry out this important task. In addition to
basic infrastructure renovation, this appropriation will enable State Parks to develop the concept of
parks being model neighbors to saltwater shorelines in a way that can serve as an example for
others to follow. Appendix 1 is a map showing the location of the twenty-four state parks included
in the 2006 appropriation. Appendix 2 is a chart with basic progress information by park in matrix
Since the Close of the Legislative Session State Parks Staff Has:
1. Facilitated meetings of a multi-agency advisory committee to assure that projects are
completed in an appropriate and expeditious fashion.
2. Received spending authority from the Office of Financial Management and developed
a transfer process for those funds appropriated to the Department of Ecology for use by
3. Completed an agreement with the Department of Health (DOH) to hire staff for DOH to
ensure that project review occurs in a timely fashion.
4. Started the tribal consultation process through the Department of Archaeology and Historic
Preservation (DAHP) in compliance with the Governors Executive Order 05-05 including
direct notification to all affected tribes.
5. Developed and began implementation of a staffing plan for State Parks.
6. Following meetings with local jurisdictions and stakeholders, determined where it is
feasible for State Parks to use or help create off-site treatment options.
7. Met with staff from the Puget Sound Action Team (PSAT) to begin to develop the model
8. Developed the framework for a 2007-2009 capital budget request that will outline next
phase infrastructure, storm water management and creosote removal projects, and add near
shore and riparian habitat improvement in a limited number of parks as the fourth element
important to being a model neighbor.
Appendix 1: Map Showing the Location of the Twenty-Four State Parks
Appendix 2: Chart with Basic Progress Information by Park in Matrix Form
Appendix 3: Letter of Advertisement – Calls for Consultants
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Item E-10 Sponsorship Policy — Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item reports on a proposed policy for entering into
sponsorships with non-governmental entities in exchange for financial or in-kind support to agency
programs, services or facilities. This complies with the Centennial 2013 Plan element, ―Our
Commitment – Financial Strategy.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: A sponsorship is a right granted by the
Commission to an external party to associate its name, products, or services with the Commission's
name, programs, services, or facilities. The Internal Revenue Service distinguishes a sponsorship
from a donation in that the latter may not receive a "substantial return benefit" as a result of the
There are five key elements to consider on sponsorships1: (1) policy; (2) definitions; (3) authority;
(4) review guidelines; and (5) terms. A sample Sponsorship Policy addressing these key elements
is attached as Appendix 1. Staff requests the Commission's guidance on the development of a
policy that meets the needs of the Commission and of potential sponsors.
Appendix 1: Sample Commission Sponsorship Policy
"What is a Good Name Worth?" Jason Bradley Kay, Popular Government, Fall 2003, pp. 30-39.
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Item E-11: 2006 Employee Satisfaction Survey and Baldrige Assessment
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item reviews results from the agency’s 2005 and 2006
employee satisfaction surveys, and the 2005 and 2006 Baldrige Assessment in preparation for
development of the Commission’s 2007 Contract with the Director. This complies with the
Centennial 2013 Plan element, ―Our Commitment—Public Service.‖
SIGNIFCANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Regular assessment of performance is a
key management focus for state government. As a ―good business practice,‖ executive cabinet
agencies are required to conduct employee surveys and organizational self-assessments to
determine ways to improve workplace efficiency and effectiveness. These surveys provide a
vehicle for employees to identify how their workplace and the organization can become more
efficient and effective.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission uses two surveys to guide work planning
and employee goal setting. Results from these surveys help the agency focus on improving its
overall operations and bettering its responses to citizen and customer needs.
Over the last several years, the Department of Personnel (DOP) provided State Parks, and other
agencies, a 50-question employee satisfaction survey. State Parks’ results were regularly
compared to the statewide results, producing four-year trend lines for management decisions.
In 2005, the Governor directed DOP to develop a new employee satisfaction survey for all
agencies and simplify the questions. The 2006 employee survey revisions reduced the 50
questions to 12 and eliminated categories such as ―customer focus, team work, senior
management, and participation.‖ These revisions will require State Parks to adopt new trend lines
and incorporate new response strategies for the Director’s 2007 Contract.
Information from the employee surveys and Baldrige Assessment is summarized below.
Review of Employee Satisfaction Survey Results:
State Parks administered employee satisfaction surveys provided by DOP to the agency’s
workforce in the springs of 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Results from the 2003-2006
surveys are displayed in Appendix 1.
In 2006, 407 staff members responded to the revised employee satisfaction survey (52% of 786
The strongest scores on a 5-point scale in this year’s 12-question survey were: 1) I know what is
expected of me at work; 2) I know how my work contributes to the goals of my agency; and 3) My
supervisor holds me and my co-workers accountable for performance.
The lowest scoring areas included: 1) I know how my agency measures its success; 2) My
performance evaluation provides me with meaningful information about my performance; and 3) I
receive recognition for a job well done.
The Director has shared results with employees and will share the 2006 survey results with the
Governor and her staff at the agency’s Government, Accountability and Performance
Measurement (GMAP) meeting. The exact date for this presentation to the Governor has not yet
been set. Likewise, the 2006 survey information will become a new agency and statewide
benchmark for future comparisons.
The Baldrige Assessment is an organizational assessment tool adopted by Washington State
government, ―…for evaluating organizational capacity and effectiveness.‖
The 2006 Baldrige results, listed in Appendix 2, showed the following: The agency scored highest
overall in ―customer focus‖ and ―leadership‖ categories. The lowest overall scores were in
―process management and performance results.‖ The areas that continue to need improvement are
―giving employees meaningful feedback on agency performance/progress;‖
efficiency/effectiveness of internal business processes;‖ and ―employee satisfaction and
Identification of Common Themes between Employee Survey and Baldrige Assessment:
By comparing results from the employee survey and Baldrige Assessment, one can get a
workforce-based snapshot of certain management challenges facing the agency. However, due to
the change in the 2006 employee satisfaction survey (reduced to 12 questions) it is no longer
possible to compare the results from past years.
The 2006 observations from both surveys include:
Data from both the employee survey and the Baldrige Assessment show continuing
improvement or stable scores in most areas evaluated.
―Information dissemination‖ and ―feedback on agency, program and individual performance‖
continue to need improvement. The satisfaction rating is low on ―how the agency measures
―Management direction‖ and the employee knowing what is expected of him/her received the
highest ratings in Baldrige, meaning the agency translates its vision and mission clearly.
Employee recognition from both surveys is the same, showing no improvement.
―Process management and information/analysis‖ increased this year. While a weak area for
the agency, the category shows improvement—a good sign for future Executive and
Legislative requirements on government accountability and performance measures.
Improvement efforts should focus on ―internal‖ and ―support‖ work process, with both
process owners and customers involved in improvement efforts.
Appendix 1: Responses to 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Appendix 2: 2006 Baldrige Assessment Survey Results
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Item E-12: National Youth Congress Partnership Project—Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item reports on the status of our multi-year partnership project
with the National Youth Congress (NYC) and the Washington Recreation and Park Association
(WRPA) to introduce and encourage minority youth to connect with occupations and careers in
parks and recreation. This complies with our Centennial Plan element, ―Our Commitment – Public
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Washington
Recreation and Park Association in February 2004. The three-year agreement will end in February
2007, unless amended. The NYC is a leadership development initiative designed to meet the needs
of those working with teens, and to provide training and internship opportunities for teens. The
NYC Program is organized into three phases with 11 modules, which helps youth and mentors
understand themselves and how to make a difference in their communities. NYC serves youth ages
13-19 year olds that are at risk of exposure to substance abuse, gang violence, guns, teenage
pregnancy, poor grades, dropping out of school, and environmental risks. The NYC is a program
of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The Bembry Consulting Services has
been identified as the WRPA subcontractor who will be responsible for the NYC custom program
development and compliance. Current supporters of the NYC Program in Washington State in
addition to Washington State Parks include: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, National
Recreation Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service, CLEARCorps USA,
National Recreation and Park Association, City of Seattle Human Services, King County Public
Health, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Weed and Seed Seattle, City of Burien,
City of SeaTac, City of Tukwila, 4-H WSU, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Washington
Department of Health, Seattle King County Public Health, The Center for Multi Cultural Health,
Kitsap County Youth Commission, and the Associated Recreation Council. These organizations
are providing cash and/or in–kind services.
2004 and 2005 Progress Report:
As of October 2005 over 1,500 youth have participated in Town Hall Forums, Action Team
Councils, and internship phases of the program.
Primary service areas have focused on King, Pierce, Kitsap, Snohomish, and Cowlitz
2005 saw increase in program activity in tribal communities focusing on youth residing on
Native American Indian reservations.
In 2005, the NYC Adult Leadership Training Program has seen a welcomed increase in
participation from youth workers serving specific new immigrant and refugee populations.
The NYC budget has increased from the Gates Foundation’s original $158,000 award to a
combined total of cash and in-kind contributions of over $600,000 through 2006. In addition
to the $600,000, many implementing sites have received funding locally from their respective
cities and through youth-driven fundraising activities to continue the program in their
Developed key linkages between Trust, Respect, Integrity, Consistency, Self-esteem (TRICS)
training and academic priorities with input of teachers and school administrators, resulted in
better academic performance for participants.
Launched new TRICS training for middle school teachers to promote better classroom
management and social infrastructure to promote student success.
Developed the Impact Theater initiative featuring the Tobacco Monologues tour which was
viewed by over 10,000 students. The tour is scheduled to tour ten additional cities statewide.
HIVE BRAIDS, a theatrical production about HIV and AIDS, was also developed by Youth
Created internship and career job shadowing opportunities for over 300 youth in society,
environment, and technology sectors.
Provided private and public sector service learning internship and employment opportunities
for youth ranging from one week to three months.
Developed key linkages with college recruiters and NYC participants resulting in 17 students
Developed professional marketing materials to promote the program in middle and high
Launched the Kitsap County five site regional program model with great success.
Created an online publication panel to promote Youth Voice and writing.
Created the one-day NYC/TRICS orientation to increase recruitment efforts and provide real
time training for staff and youth interested in the NYC Program.
Shared Washington best practices and successes with sites throughout the USA
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has provided:
Facilities to host NYC training throughout the year.
Facilities to host youth town hall forums.
Facilities with camping amenities.
Planning and preparation to integrate diversity into exiting programs.
$75,000 for consulting/administrative fees.
In-kind services, including use of facilities, waived parking fees, facility discounts, staff time,
transportation expenses, and other services.
An evaluation of the program process in November 2004 and 2005.
Washington Park and Recreation Association has provided direct benefits to State Parks by:
Providing NYC introductory training to Puget Sound Region Area Managers.
Providing NYC Adult Learning Training to two Puget Sound Region Park Rangers with
lodging and registration for the two-day training.
Provided airfare, lodging, and registration for the Puget Sound Region Manager and Diversity
Camping Coordinator to attend the ―Roundtable Associates‖ conference on ―Changing the
Landscape of Recreation, Parks and Conservation Through People‖ in Oakland, California,
and the East Bay Regional Park District’s one-day youth workshop on ―Environmental
Opportunities for Park Rangers to discuss career opportunities at NYC functions.
Providing students interested in Internship opportunities to park sites.
NYC groups participate in park service projects.
Providing students to participate in State Parks sponsored camping and winter activities.
Recognizing the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission as a major contributing
sponsor of the Washington State - National Youth Congress throughout the country.
See Appendix 4 for the most recent status report from Reco Bembry.
Appendix 1: Interim Narrative and Financial Report - October 2003 - October 2004
Appendix 2: Interim Narrative and Financial Report - October 2004 - October 2005
Appendix 3: Memorandum of Agreement between the Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission and the Washington Recreation and Park Association.
Appendix 4: Status Report from Reco Bembry.
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Item E-13: Fee and Policy Changes-2007 Reservation Season-Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This item reports to the Commission proposed increases to the
2006 fee schedule for occupancy that starts on January 1, 2007. This report sets out proposed
changes in service fees (Appendix A) and policies (Appendix B) recommended for adoption in
August. Appendix C requests guidance on fee issues for the Fee Committee’s fall meeting. This
item complies with the Centennial 2013 Plan elements, ―Our Commitment –Financial Strategy,
Public Service, and Stewardship.‖
SIGNIFICANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In 2000, the agency embarked on a multi-
year fee review program. The object of this effort was to educate agency staff and Commissioners
about the economics of fee setting. We also reviewed each fee and gathered information from the
ten largest state park systems in the country on what they were charging for similar services and
the level of state support each received. Staff also compared this agency’s fee structure with
private camping parks.
In 2000, the agency also established a Fee Committee composed of citizens, rangers,
regions, and headquarters staff. Based on these efforts, the Commission made significant changes
in the following areas: boat moorage; cost of installing cabins and yurts; overnight (non-camping)
vehicle fees; two-day holiday reservations; variable pricing; delegation to the Director to establish
temporary fee changes; improved reservation system; retreat centers added to the reservation
system; 3% cost of living adjustment and taxes added to certain reservations; fee levels for
reservation changes and cancellations; new parks added to year round reservations; implemented
and repealed the parking fee.
Revenue Expectations for 2007 Season:
Articles from various news media report a National Park Service downturn in camping for 2005
and predict fewer campers in 2006 because of increased gasoline prices. Internally, field staff has
expressed concern that the economic downturn for Washington State will result in a significant
loss of visitation. Further, the level of fees may reduce the number of citizens who can afford to
use Washington State Parks. Still other staff expressed concern that our direct competition,
Oregon State Parks, will attract visitors away from Washington State Parks because of their lower
The cost of the service has not yet been an important factor in determining fee levels for facilities.
However, it should be noted that the current cost of cabins cannot be sustained if the agency
develops a significant debt service through Certificates of Participation (COP) financing. For
example, in order to pay the COP debt service, cabins would carry a nightly fee exceeding $60,
which represents a $20 increase over current rates.
The following survey of the largest state park systems shows that the fee increases proposed
should not be the factor that will drive customers to other states, with the possible limited
exception of counties bordering Washington and Oregon.
Camping Fees for Other State Park Systems
Primitive Standard Partial Full Uty Premium Peak Cabin/ Cabin/
State Site Site Uty Site Site Site Season Yurt Daily Yurt Wkly
Arizona n/a $10 - 16 $14 - 25 - - - $35 - 75 375
California* $9 - 15 $11 - 25 $20 - 34 - $21 - 35 $14 - 30 $35 - 60 -
Montana - $10 - 13 - - - $12 - 15 $25 - 39 -
Nevada - $10 - 14 - - - - - -
New York** - $13 - 48 $19 - 56 $25 - 60 $17 - 52 $16 - 51 - -
Ohio - $14 - 23 $17 - 28 $30 - 36 $15 - 29 - $40 - 55 -
Oregon $4 - 9 $14 - 17 $16 22 $16 - 22 - - $27 - 30 -
(current) $10 $15 - 16 $21- 22 $21 - 22 $20 - 27 - $40 - 45 -
Wa $17 - $43 -
(proposed) $12 $19 $23 - 25 $24 - 26 $22 - $31 - $50*** -
* Additional $7.50 for processing a reservation
** Waterfront / Oceanfront Sites - $19 – 56
***Cabin fees must increase if financed through COPs, perhaps as much as $20 per night
Judging by May reservations over the past three years, Parks continues to see an increase in actual
campsite registrations despite negative economic factors:
Registered Nights in May
May-04 May-05 May-06
The following fee changes may be recommended for approval at the August commission meeting.
The estimated annual net revenue increases assume the Commission approves all
recommendations and visitation remains the same:
Name of Fee Fee Change Estimated Annual Revenue
Current Proposed Increase
Standard campsites $15 $17 $475,000
Popular destination park $1 $2 $445,000
Full utility campsites $21 $24 $379,000
Partial utility campsites $21 $23 $166,000
Daily Watercraft Launch Site $5 $7 $78,000
Primitive, water trail, and $10 $12 $26,000
Yurts $40 $43 $13,000
Cabins $40 $43 $6,000
Reservable Moorage $10 $12 $1,000
In addition, staff may recommend the following increases:
Extend premium site fees to roofed accommodations.
Add premium fees to moorage sites with 50 amps, $5 added to daily fees, including to
annual permit holders.
Increase watercraft launch sites to $2 daily and $10 for an annual permit.
$3 minimum: holiday and weekend fee.
Where approved by Region, restrict launch site parking to vehicles that have vessel
carriage mechanisms or trailers (where applicable, separable, and signed).
POLICY CHANGE PROPOSALS 2007 (Appendix B)
Staff may recommend the Commission choose among the following options:
Require that all reservations be a minimum of two-nights when a weekend night is
Require that all holiday reservations be two-night minimum.
Require that all Saturday reservations include either Friday or Sunday.
Authorize a park to require a two-night reservations when the park has had a 90%
occupancy in the prior summer season.
Authorize a pilot project to try long-term reservations for certain sites.
Require that all campers pay the full extra vehicle fee.
FALL PROPOSALS FOR 2008 SEASON
Staff seeks guidance on issues to be considered this fall. They are set out in Appendix C
Appendix A: Fee Proposals for 2007 Season
Appendix B: Policy Proposals for 2007 Season
Appendix C: Fall Proposals for 2008 Season
Appendix D: Pertinent WACs