Volunteers save state parks millions - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Volunteers save state parks millions

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PASCO, Wash. -- State parks are getting a lot of volunteers lately, so many, that they're saving the state and taxpayers millions of dollars.

Last year volunteers worked over 326,000 hours at our state parks. This is equivalent of work of 157 full-time employees worth $4.2 million, according to the State Parks Volunteer Program's annual report.

The volunteer program started 31 years ago and last year saw the highest participation on record. In fact, this is the fifth-straight annual increase in group and individual volunteer hours. State Park rangers say volunteers are vital to the success of state parks and without them it would be tough to educate the public about the importance of natural resources.

"To have volunteers out here doing the same thing advocating, spending time helping the environment, that I think brings more people aware of their surroundings," said Chris Ford, Sacagawea State Park Ranger.

Ford says the high numbers don't surprise him.  Volunteers help maintain parks, enhance the experience for park visitors and keep the land and waters clean.

For more information on volunteering click on the following link.  

http://www.parks.wa.gov/volunteers/

--Chris Holmstrom. If you have story ideas please email him at chris.holmstrom@kndu.com

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