Politics & Government

Budget cuts close state parks

Two state parks on the east side of the Cascades - Crawford and Peshastin Pinnacles - will not open this season because of state budget cuts, and more closures are possible, officials said Monday.

Five of the state’s 119 parks are on the list in the first round of closures resulting from the agency’s $10 million budget cut going into the Washington legislative session. However, funding from local governments will keep two of the three West Side parks open.

“Now we’re waiting on the Legislature to create the new budget,” said Tom Ernsberger, state parks East Side manager. “They’re wrestling with a lot of really big issues, and parks are just one of them.”

Crawford State Park near Metaline is a 49-acre day-use park featuring Gardner Cave, the third-longest limestone cavern in Washington.

Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, north of U.S. Highway 2 near Cashmere, is a 34-acre day-use park featuring trails, sandstone slabs and spires up to 200 feet tall that are popular with rock climbers.

Spring is peak season for climbers heading to Peshastin, which is normally open March 15-Oct. 15.

While the park will not open to the general public, state parks staff will try to make accommodations for visits by large organized groups, said Ernsberger.

“For instance, we get a military group from Fort Lewis that comes to train on the pinnacles each year,” he said.

The only West Side park certain to be closed this season is Federation Forest State Park east of Enumclaw.