Northwest NEWS

March 22, 1999


Parks should be available to all

   As a resident of Washington, I do not want to see state parks closed. However, I feel that the state parks should be available for all residents. By charging a $3 parking fee at the state parks, many people who live here will not be able to enjoy the parks we have.

   Last year, we were camping, and I felt very sorry for the people in the tent space next to us. It was a single mother with three kids. Her mother was visiting them. The grandmother had to sleep in the car because she could not get on the ground to sleep in the tent. The mother paid for one night and could not afford firewood that was sold in the park. Talking with the lady, we gave her firewood that we brought with us. This was her vacation for her children. That was it! One night at a state park. It is people like her who will no longer be able to spend the afternoon with her kids at a park. That $3 she will have to spend will mean no milk and bread at the table.

   Then we have retired people on limited incomes who will not be able to enjoy our parks now as much as before. We also have working families who fall in the low income bracket who can't visit the parks as they did in the past. So by charging $3, you are telling the residents of Washington you only want the people who have good incomes to visit your parks.

   Make it fair by charging fifty cents to park. The state would make over one million dollars at Deception Pass alone. We live very close to Camano Island State Park and I like to just walk on the beach. Due to an injury, I can't stay there for over 45 minutes. We go there maybe 20 times a year and it would cost me $60 to use the park a total of 15 hours at the maximum. This means a week's groceries. I would have to find another place to walk. But I would gladly pay fifty cents to park. I think that if you asked the residents of Washington which they would rather pay, $3 or fifty cents to go to a park, you would find 99% say fifty cents.

   Don't think about just the rich, but the poor people who are residents here, as well. Make it affordable to everyone.

Cathy De Rusha, Stanwood