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County Councilmembers recognize July 9 as Washington State National Parks Day in King County

The Metropolitan King County Council declared July 9 as Washington State National Parks Day in recognition of the economic, health and environmental benefits that county residents received from the National Parks in the region.

“King County is uniquely placed between three major National Parks – Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson, sponsor of the proclamation. “Because of our close proximity to these national gems, King County residents benefit from access to nature and from the economic gains these parks produce through tourism.”

Millions of people visit national parks in Washington each year, many of them traveling from outside the state and country. These visitors contribute to local economies surrounding the parks, including King County.

According to the National Park Service (NPS), Washington received more than $264 million in economic benefits from tourism related to national park units in 2010. And because summer is the busiest season for tourism to these parks, King County and Washington will receive large economic gains during these warm-weathered months.

National parks also provide King County residents access to nature and outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking and camping. These activities are fundamental to people throughout the region and help strengthen families and social bonds.

Despite the benefits of National Parks, including health benefits and the creation of jobs, funding for the NPS has been cut in recent years and the NPS is in jeopardy of deeper cuts in 2013. Yet, according to the National Parks Conservation Association, every dollar invested in park operations generates approximately $10 in gross sales revenue, highlighting that funding for National Parks is a sound investment.

“People travel from all over the country and world to visit our national parks,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “It is imperative we continue to fund these parks and keep them in the pristine condition we see them in today for future generations to enjoy.”

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