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State parks institute daily parking fee

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - With the new year comes a new fee for users of Washington State Parks.

On Jan. 1, the Washington State Parks Department began charging a $5 daily parking fee at all its facilities that are accessible by motor vehicle. For Valley residents that means enjoying Olallie State Park, located outside of North Bend, and its amenities, including Twin Falls Trail, will now cost you. Other state parks in the area include Lake Easton and Iron Horse.

Parks department spokeswoman Virginia Painter said the fee was approved by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to help recoup funds lost due to a struggling economy, increased usage of state parks and the repair and upkeep of the department's aging facilities.

"The money we have to do these things is not keeping up with the costs and extra demand," Painter said.

According to state documents, the department's 30-percent increase in usage has been outpaced by a 32-percent rise in inflation over the past decade, while the 90-year-old department's budget has only seen a 13-percent increase in that time. Painter added that power costs for facilities have increased dramatically over the past 10 years.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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