State parks shuffle local staff

first_imgBattle Ground Lake State Park manager Jim Presser greets visitors Thursday. Of the four year-round staff members in place at state parks in Clark County last year, only Presser remains in the same position. As charges go up, visits to state parks declineWhen Matt Smith became a seasonal maintenance mechanic for Clark County’s two state parks earlier this year, he lost more than a job description. The setting wasn’t new — Smith had worked previously as manager of Paradise Point State Park, near La Center. But the feeling was completely different. Suddenly, Smith was a temporary employee in the place he’d literally called home for two years. “It’s very difficult,” he said of the transition. “There’s definitely a loss of identity as a park ranger. It’s more than just a job. It’s an identity.”Smith was among dozens of permanent employees whose jobs were either downsized or eliminated as the Washington State Parks department wrestled with an $11 million budget hole over the winter. Some people left the agency entirely. Some took seasonal positions. Some were shuffled from one park to another, displacing other workers based on seniority.The agency started the cutbacks with 189 year-round rangers, said department spokeswoman Virginia Painter. In the end, 60 of those positions — almost one-third — were cut back to seasonal.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *