As our legislators continue the special session, climbers, hikers, and campers across Washington state hope the final capital budget will include full funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
The state Senate's current proposal would eliminate funding for a significant number of WWRP grants, which, in addition to preserving wildlife habitat, provide much-needed improvements to parks. One such project on the line is a new picnic shelter at Beacon Rock State Park.
Without question, Washington state's iconic parks system is struggling. Beloved community parks are on the brink of closing. We should take every opportunity to expand access to our parks that would attract new revenue.
The proposed picnic shelter at Beacon Rock would make the park not only more accessible to climbers and school groups who already frequent the area, but also make it an attractive event space that could expand park revenues through the purchase of day passes and facility rentals.
As president and on behalf of Beacon Rock Climbing Association, we thank Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, and the rest of the House Capital Budget Committee who voted to fund the WWRP and Beacon Rock in a strong show of bipartisan support for Washington's great outdoors.
I hope their Senate colleagues will follow this example.