Saturday, December 24, 2011

Washington State Laying Off Nearly Half of its Park Rangers

If you are an outdoorsy-type who enjoys visiting parks, I've got some bad news for you. In what will no doubt soon become a national trend, the state of Washington is drastically cutting back on park rangers and other park employees as it struggles to balance its budget. Here is the Olympian with the details:
Pink slips are expected to roll out between Christmas and New Year’s at state parks, where 83 of the state’s 189 full-time rangers stand to lose their current jobs.

To stay on, most would have to take a major pay cut and work as little as five months of the year in one of 63 new seasonal jobs being created. During the cold months, the state’s 116 parks will likely outnumber the rangers who help keep them running.

The scaled-back, seasonal approach is prompted by slow sales of the parking pass for state lands and was signaled by layoff notices earlier this month. The downsizing is proceeding despite a plea from a dozen lawmakers to hold off.

“I appreciate them saying ‘Hey, wait,’ but to me I think it would be irresponsible to wait and spend more money,” said State Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Joe Taller of Olympia, a former legislator and state budget director. He said each month of delay costs $750,000.
Of course, the next step after de-staffing the parks is selling the land altogether to raise revenue. There, I just gave you tomorrow's headline today. You're welcome.


  1. I used to live within minutes of Battle Ground park, there in your has a real pretty little lake in it stocked with fish, horse trails and camping under the fir trees.

    All they have to do is lower the daily fee for camping, allow RVs to park for unlimited periods of time, advertise to all the almost-homeless people, and they'd have full campgrounds and a steady income stream. Instead, they want people to come for the day or a few nights at most and elsewhere, the ugly parking lot-style RV parks are chock full.

  2. In the future, will there ever be the political will to stop the sale of the commons?

    I can't see how, but don't rule out the possibility.

  3. The UK government tried to sell off what was left of the public's forests earlier this year but there was an bit of an outcry and they have backed off. For now. Until they get a better offer most likely.
    6500 hectares have already been sold though