On January 19, the Washington legislature finally passed a capital budget, approving funding for state park projects across the state. The legislature should have passed a capital budget last year, but failed to do so because of gridlock on a policy issue. According to the Washington Trails Association, the impacts of the legislature not passing a capital budget last year were significant. Without a capital budget in 2017, many projects to maintain existing recreation opportunities, as well as projects to create new recreation opportunities were left unfunded. Washington State Parks was forced to cut staff, further reducing its ability to maintain infrastructure and services.
All things considered, Washington State Parks received a budget of $53 million. Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program is the largest source of funding for bike and ski trails in Washington, and WWRP is also a critical funding source for hiking trails and walking paths. Important capital projects that will be funded include stalled projects, maintenance projects, and a multitude of statewide campsite projects. //
Feature photo: We love our trails! // Shallan Knowles