State parks may face closures

Published on Wed, Jun 26, 2013
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Failure to pass a state budget could leave would-be state park campers without a place to lay their weary heads this holiday weekend. 

If the state Legislature doesn’t come to an agreement on a budget by Sunday, June 30, all state parks, along with 34 other government agencies, will proceed with a temporary shutdown until the budgeting issues are resolved. That includes Birch Bay, Peace Arch and Larrabee parks in Whatcom County.

“There’s been some progress over the last few days,” said Virginia Painter, spokesperson for Washington State Parks. “They’re working toward an agreement, but it’s still a possibility it will happen. It’s not done until it’s a signed agreement. You just have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

The worst would mean park gates would close on Sunday, June 30 and not open the next day, leaving campers with reservations scrambling to find accommodations over the upcoming holiday weekends. 

Officials at Birch Bay State Park said all of the 170 campsites are booked for the next two weekends, so a shutdown would have “incredible ramifications” for their visitors. 

Painter said if the shutdown does happen, the state will look at refunding campers. “We’re not there yet,” she said. “We’re still hoping for the best.”