Nolte stays open

Nolte State Park near Enumclaw was once headed for “mothball” status, the apparent victim of a dwindling state budget and forced reductions in its park system.

Nolte State Park near Enumclaw was once headed for “mothball” status, the apparent victim of a dwindling state budget and forced reductions in its park system.

Now, it’s open and operating as usual, courtesy of the state Legislature’s hope that taxpaying citizens will willingly pony up the money needed to keep a handful of parks afloat.

Late last year, when it was clear that the state was headed into a serious budget deficit, it was proposed that certain parks be closed and perhaps sold, while others, including Nolte, be mothballed – temporarily closed until the economy turns around and, in theory, more money becomes available.

The Legislature went a different direction, keeping parks open and adopting an untested program aimed at collecting necessary funds. When licensing vehicles, owners have had the option of adding $5 to the total to help pay for park operations; beginning later this year, the $5 park fee will be automatically added to the license total and people will have to opt out of paying the extra money.

Legislators are hoping the shift produces enough extra revenue to bolster the parks system.

When it appeared Nolte was to be mothballed, a group of park boosters rallied in support, spearheaded by Buckley resident Joe Bicondoa. They were ready and willing to tackle park maintenance, taking steps necessary to keep the recreation area – which is home to popular Deep Lake – available to the public.

Volunteers have already made their mark at the park, cleaning the parking lot on a recent weekend and picking up trash.

Bicondoa calls the legislative program “bittersweet.” While happy the park is open for the season, he’s concerned that no concrete funds – money already in the park system – were dedicated to Nolte. This year’s answer has no guarantees, he said, and parks could again wind up on the chopping block.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

More in News

Bonney Lake’s Chief For A Day officially sworn in

Rory Thayse was diagnosed with leukemia during the last winter holiday season, but six months of intensive treatment look to have been successful so far.

‘I never worried about his heart’

A Bonney Lake family is raising awareness of the prevalent dangers of sudden cardiac arrest in the military.

Drivers take notice: busy bridge near Buckley will close for four weeks

The 82-year-old span on state Route 162 (also identified as Pioneer Way) will be shut down from 6 a.m. Monday, Aug. 20, to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20.

Sumner School District teachers, staff talk about strike

The beginning of the school year is right around the corner, but teachers, bus drivers and nutrition workers are discussing what pay raises they deserve, and whether or not to go on strike.

Are smokey summers the new normal? | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Smoke from wildfires has made our summers more and more complicated.

King County bans solitary confinement of juveniles

Policy shift comes as part of a settlement in response to a 2017 lawsuit

Next State Parks ‘free day’ is Aug. 25 | Washington State Parks

“The National Park Service is celebrating its birthday this year as ‘something new for 102,” said Don Hoch, Director of Washington State Parks.

Levy money to aid senior programs in Enumclaw, Black Diamond | King County

By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.

Rabid bats found on Auburn sidewalk | Public Health Insider

Any person or animal that touched or had contact with the bats or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin.

Most Read