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State wants citizen thoughts about recreation in Washington | Washington State Recreation and Conservation

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is hosting a series of online public meetings to get people’s thoughts about the future of outdoor recreation in Washington.

The online forum will gather the public’s input about the demand for outdoor recreation, what people want to see in their parks and on their trails, what prevents people from recreating outdoors and the quality of their experiences when they do.

To participate in the online public meetings, visit www.scorpwa.wordpress.com. You can participate at any time of day. The meeting will start with a series of questions about commercialization of parks, and new questions will be added regularly. The first series of questions asks people what they think about allowing advertising or corporate naming rights in our public parks. It also asks if parks should allow businesses, such as small grocery stores or gift shops. It asks whether new types of recreation, such as zip lines, should be part of our public parks. And finally, it asks whether wireless Internet access should be allowed in public parks.

“These are thought provoking questions that are facing our recreational professionals every day,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation office. “We don’t know the answers and we want to find out what people really want their outdoor experiences to be like.”

The Recreation and Conservation Office is hosting the online meetings as part of its revision to the state’s strategic plan for outdoor recreation. The state’s plan needs to be updated every 5 years to keep Washington eligible for federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Recreation and Conservation Office uses the federal dollars for grants to local communities to build parks and trails, and conserve wildlife habitat.

Since 1965, the Recreation and Conservation Office has awarded more than $70 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grants for nearly 560 projects statewide.

The online meetings will run from November through January.

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