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State Parks Commission will consider revisions to policies relating to public service utility placements


May 8, 2013

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will consider policy and fee schedule revisions related to public service utility placements and private and residential easements on state park lands.

The policy revisions will be considered at the Commission’s regular meeting scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 16, in the Gjerde Center in the Student Services Building of Columbia Basin College, 2600 N. 20th Ave. in Pasco. A full Commission meeting agenda is online at Time for public comment is provided at all regular meetings, which are scheduled six times a year at pre-determined locations around the state.

State Parks staff receives numerous requests each year for easements for a variety of non-recreational uses of parkland. The vast majority of easement requests seek authorization for public utility placements such as water, power, phone, sewer lines and roads on or through parklands. A significant number of requests also are made by private residents and private companies. Most of the affected lands are on former railroad corridors now managed by State Parks as “rail-trails,” or trail corridors, acquired in the early 1980s from various railroad companies no longer offering rail service.

Recognizing that rail-trails pose unique management issues, State Parks staff is seeking to better integrate management of the Commission’s easement program to improve efficiency and provide customers with clear policy direction and an efficient process for addressing existing and new easements for utility placements within rail-trails and traditional park properties. Staff also is proposing that the Commission consider a master agreement for public utility easements and fee schedules for placements by public and for-profit utility, petroleum products, natural gas and fiber-optic transmission lines. The Commission also will be considering fee schedules for easements requested by adjacent landowners.

The Commission will hear reports on agency finances, the 2013 legislative session, a communications and marketing report and a report on an ongoing consideration to co-manage Fort Worden State Park. The Commission is in discussion with the Port Townsend Life Long Learning Center Public Development Authority (PDA) and the Washington Federation of State Employees, the union that represents Fort Worden staff, about the potential for the PDA to manage the conference center and rental building portion of the Fort Worden campus. State Parks would continue to manage the campground, beach, trails and day-use areas of the park.

Work session: A Commission work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, in the Gjerde Center in the Student Services Building of Columbia Basin College, 2600 N. 20th Ave. in Pasco. Work sessions are open to the public, however, no public testimony is heard and no Commission action is taken at work sessions. Topics include: a legislative and budget update; in-service and seasonal employee update; Lyons Ferry update; agency Transformation Strategy update; a Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission proposal; a report on the agency partnership and friends group conference; building and remodeling historic structures at Fort Worden; proposals at Fort Worden by the PDA and WFSE.

As part of the work session, the Commission has scheduled a noon round-table discussion with local elected officials about issues affecting Southeast Washington.

Commission parks tour: Commission members plan to tour several state parks during the week of the regular commission meeting:

· Monday, May 13: Commissioners will depart at 11 a.m. from State Parks Headquarters, 1111 Israel Road S.W ., Olympia, to tour Beacon Rock, Columbia Hills and Goldendale State Parks.

· Tuesday, May 14: Commissioners will arrive at Brooks Memorial State Park at 9 a.m. for a tour, then will tour Fort Simcoe State Park.

· Friday, May 17: Commissioners will tour Lyons Ferry beginning at 10:15 a.m ., then will proceed to tour Palouse Falls, Lewis and Clark Trail and Potholes state parks.


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