News Releases

Murray Works to Save Southeast Washington Parks

Aug 16 2002

In letter to Governor, Murray urges delay of closures, pledges to work together

(SEATTLE, WA) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today called on Washington Governor Gary Locke to act to delay the closure of four state parks in Southeast Washington.

All four parks – Central Ferry, Chief Timothy, Crow Butte, and Lyons Ferry – are scheduled for closure after September 30, 2002.

On a visit to Southeast Washington on Thursday, Murray pledged her commitment to work to delay the closures, which are scheduled due to state budget shortfalls.

"Closing these parks would have a negative impact on both the economy and quality of life of our communities in Southeast Washington," Murray said in a letter to Gov. Locke. "These parks provide year-round recreational and economic development opportunities throughout the region. We should do all that we can to delay these closures."

In her letter, Murray offered to work with the Governor and interested parties from the State Parks, Army Corps of Engineers and businesses and communities in Southeast Washington to explore further options in an attempt to save the parks.

Central Ferry, Chief Timothy, Crow Butte and Lyons Ferry are all situated on the Lewis and Clark Trail and expect significant increases in visitor traffic in conjunction with the upcoming Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.

Senator Murray's letter to Governor Locke follows:

August 16, 2002

The Honorable Gary Locker
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, Washington 98504-0002

Dear Governor Locke:

It has come to my attention that of the thirteen state parks leased from other agencies, four are on the closure list due to state budget cuts. All four of those parks – Central Ferry, Chief Timothy, Crow Butte, and Lyons Ferry – are located in Southeast Washington and are scheduled for closure after September 30, 2002. While I fully appreciate the tough budget choices you have to make, the unique value of these parks to the region calls for further examination of how we might save them.

These parks provide year-round recreational and economic development opportunities throughout the region. Situated on the Lewis & Clark Trail, all four of these parks are expected to receive increased traffic with the upcoming Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. Closing these parks at any time would have a negative impact on both the economy and quality of life in the area. Closing these parks just months before the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial celebrations are slated to begin would be devastating.

I was just in the area and there is a tremendous amount of interest in finding a way to keep these parks open. I urge you to delay closure of Central Ferry, Chief Timothy, Crow Butte and Lyons Ferry State Parks until we can further explore our options. We should assemble a group of interested parties, not only State Parks and the Army Corps of Engineers, but also from people and businesses in Southeast Washington.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,


Patty Murray
United States Senator