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Nolte, Federation Forest now open seven days a week

A pair of Enumclaw-area state parks are now open seven days a week, following a short period when they were available to the public only on weekends.

The expanded schedule began Friday at both Nolte and Federation Forest parks.

The news was first released Thursday by state Rep. Christopher Hurst, who issued a press release announcing the good news for park-goers. Apparently caught off guard, the state’s Parks and Recreation Commission confirmed the news later in the day.

The official word from Parks and Rec was actually a bit better. The state agency said the two parks would open on a seven-day schedule beginning Friday of last week; the Hurst release announced the improved schedule would become effective Friday of this week.

Virginia Painter, spokeswoman for the Parks and Recreation Commission, said the parks’ weekend-only hours began July 1 as the agency grappled with budget reductions.

Implementation of the Discover Pass program – which allows guests into state parks for a daily fee of $10 or a yearly fee of $30 – made the situation better, Painter said, but still required agency cutbacks.

“As reorganization work continued, we began to hear and respond to public concern about the weekday closures,” Painter wrote in an e-mail. “We were able to find a solution to keep Nolte and Federation Forest state parks open throughout the week.”

Hurst’s release carried a stronger tone.

The two local parks had been closed weekdays, he said, “despite area residents being lead to believe that purchasing a Discover Pass would allow the parks to remain open during the week.”

Hurst said he received calls from throughout the 31st Legislative District, constituents who were angry that they purchased a pass only to discover the parks were open just two days a week.

“I immediately contacted the Parks Department and told them that this was totally unacceptable and needed to change,” Hurst said.

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