OLYMPIA – County residents, patrons, and stakeholders are encouraged to share insights, concerns, and comments about county-owned parks, trails, and open spaces in a new online survey.
“Answers provided in the survey are anonymous, and will help us serve Thurston County communities better,” said Thurston County Parks and Trails Division Manager Kerry Hibdon.
Survey results will be used to inform a new master Parks, Open Space, and Trails Plan for Thurston County. The new plan will replace the 2013 Parks, Recreation, Trails, and Natural Resource Preserve Plan, providing guidance for the next 6-10 years of county-funded parks, trails, and open spaces.
“An inclusive planning process is vital to the success of any effort to provide recreational opportunities and outdoor amenities within our community. Planning that engages people, supporters, and opponents alike, will help ensure that the right actions are taken for the right reasons at the right time,” added Hibdon on the importance of the survey.
Parks, trails, and open spaces are an essential part of Thurston County. They help provide opportunities for recreation, transportation, connecting with nature, and help maintain a healthy environment. Access to parks and recreation is an important right of every citizen in the community. Proximity to these resources is also an important factor in increasing physical activity, which results in a healthier population. In addition, the natural resources conserved by open lands help provide clean air and clean water in the region, as well as wildlife habitat and agricultural land that enrich our County.
Why update the plan now?
Since 2013, approximately 25,000 new residents have moved into Thurston County. In this same time period, new information has become available about level of service needs; roles of corridors and buffer zones providing wildlife movement between areas; changes in technology; environmental health; social equity; and changing demographics and related needs.
“We believe that it is our responsibility to respond to these changes. In order to better serve the community our guiding plans need to reflect the needs of our residents, visitors, and their vision for the future. Many of our 2013 goals and objectives have also been accomplished or shifted in the past 6 years. A new citizen-informed plan will help us to achieve common goals while supporting environmental stewardship and sustainable, long-term growth,” said Hibdon.
Take the Survey
The survey is available at the following link now through September 30, 2019. To learn more about Thurston County parks and trails visit www.co.thurston.wa.us/parks