Parks to close if state budget does not pass

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

State parks may close
Olympia, Wash. —

Without a state budget, the gates at Deception Pass Park will lock up Sunday night at midnight. Campgrounds and facilities will close. "We've had budget issues every two years, but this is the worst I've ever seen," said ranger Jack Hartt.

Statewide, 6,000 people already have summer camping park reservations. James Mounts is one of 200 people who reserved a spot at Deception Pass. "We plan on going a couple of places every month for the Olympic National Forest to Deception Pass to KOA campgrounds," said Mounts.

Rangers said an email is written and ready to go, telling everyone to cancel their plans. On Whidbey Island alone, eight state parks would close; several of them have campgrounds. Hikers might illegally climb over the gates, but cars—including Mounts' new RV—could not get in. "It kind of bothers me that lawmakers, they always hit the public first," said Mounts.

 "It's a big concern for us on Whidbey Island because we have so many state parks," said Brian Cedar of the Greenbank Store and Grill. He depends on driving tourists to stop by the store. "It easily on weekends can be 60-70 percent of our business," said Cedar. Such a severe cut could close his store for good. "It would be very hard, very, very difficult for our little community store to stay open," said Cedar.