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.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.
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.