Leaders highlight Evergreen State national parks

July 10, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

King County leaders highlighted nearby national parks and declared Monday as Washington State National Parks Day to recognize the economic and environmental benefits such places add to the landscape.

The national parks in Washington attract millions of parkgoers each year, including many out-of-state and foreign guests. Officials said the visitors then contribute to King County and other communities near the parks. Washington received more than $264 million in economic benefits related to national park units in 2010, National Park Service officials reported.

“King County is uniquely placed between three major national parks — Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park,” Councilwoman Julia Patterson, proclamation sponsor, said in a statement. “Because of our close proximity to these national gems, King County residents benefit from access to nature and from the economic gains these parks produce through tourism.”

Leaders also highlighted the opportunities for camping, hiking and other outdoors activities in national parks.

“Thanks to the abundant recreation opportunities in our national parks, local residents as well as visitors have access to valuable resources for outdoor physical fitness activities,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, King County Board of Health vice chairwoman and the Issaquah representative, said in a statement. “Our national parks contribute immeasurably to the quality of life we enjoy in the Northwest.”

Officials also used the proclamation to attract attention to cuts in the National Parks Service budget.

“People travel from all over the country and world to visit our national parks,” Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement. “It is imperative we continue to fund these parks and keep them in the pristine condition we see them in today for future generations to enjoy.”

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