Budget ax looms over state parks in Clark County

first_imgThese days, it helps to have a sense of humor if you work in the Washington State Parks system. Just ask Mark Shaw.It was last week that Shaw, a park ranger at Paradise Point State Park, received a letter from the state informing him that he’d been promoted. One problem: The same day, he received a phone call telling him he’d likely lose his job.But Shaw isn’t bitter. He mostly just shrugs it off and smiles.“Promoted and laid off on the same day,” Shaw said. “You’ve got to laugh.”Shaw’s position is among 160 state parks jobs that will either scale back or evaporate entirely as the agency wrestles with an $11 million funding gap in its current two-year budget. Those cutbacks likely would have been more severe, but the state parks commission dipped into its reserve fund to cover another $4 million.Clark County’s two state parks won’t escape the budget ax. Paradise Point and Battle Ground Lake State Park both operate with two year-round staff members, but bynext year that could drop to just one at each park — leaving only a single park manager to tackle most of a heavy maintenance workload in the winter months. That means trail work, vehicle repairs and cleanup, among other tasks.The result for parkgoers might be slower response times if they need a ranger or manager, Shaw said. But for parks staff, the cutbacks mean livelihoods in jeopardy, said Jim Presser, Battle Ground Lake park manager, who also acts as an area manager.last_img read more