Parks board might overturn fees

The state Parks and Recreation Commission is poised to rescind a controversial users fee slated to go into effect at many state parks on the North Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere in the state on Jan. 1.

The parks commission will consider overturning its March decision to charge vehicles entering state parks when it meets Thursday in Eastsound, Orcas Island.

In March, the parks board approved the $5 daily parking fee and $30 annual parking fee as a way to raise some $5 million a year.

The funds are necessary to cut into a $46 million backlog of maintenance, repairs and equipment needs at the state’s 125 parks, the board said.

But the state Legislature later banned state parks from charging a fee and didn’t grant the state agency authority to improve park maintenance from such a fee.

Park fees were to be instituted at several state parks on the North Olympic Peninsula on Jan. 1:

Jefferson County: Anderson Lake, Dosewallips, Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay and Old Fort Townsend.

Clallam County: Sequim Bay.

Originally considered, then dropped from plans to charge fees, were Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend; Shine Tidelands, Pleasant Harbor, all in Jefferson County; Bogachiel State Park near Forks.

One of the state’s tiniest state parks, Rothschild House in uptown Port Townsend, already charges an admission fee; this will continue.

This full report appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News, on sale throughout Clallam and Jefferson counties. Click onto “Subscribe” to order the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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