Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to cut 160 jobs

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has approved $11 million in cuts - and that may include some layoffs.

Parks officials will send out 160 notices that their jobs are “at risk,” said Virginia Painter with Wash. State Parks.

“Your job is going to change, we don’t know how yet, maybe layoffs, you may be moved into a different job class, your job may change,” said Painter.

Painter said they are moving the focus toward a seasonal model – high visitation is the summer, during winter there are not as many visitors – and a user-pay system.

The Discover Pass user-fee program was launched in July to replace General Fund tax dollars no longer available to operate state recreation lands.

“We’re trying our best to change the way we operate to make it through the biennium,” said Painter. “Our main focus here is to keep the parks open.”

The Department will be moving away from full-time rangers to part-time, creating different job categories.

“These jobs will be going away but not all the people will be going away,” said Painter.

Source: NWCN