The City of Shelton Parks & Recreation Department is working to develop a new master Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) plan for the City of Shelton and is asking for input. The new plan will replace the 2008 Comprehensive Parks Plan and the 2013 Community Trails Plan with a single guiding document for the development of parks and recreation services for the next 10 years.

City residents, patrons, and interested stakeholders are invited to share their insights for shaping the City’s future parks, programs, and recreational facilities by completing two community surveys posted on the Shelton Parks & Recreation webpage. Survey 1 is designed to gather valuable insights on how the Parks & Recreation Department can best serve the community. Survey 2 is an opportunity to identify where specific opportunities and challenges exist within the City of Shelton, and what you think the City should do about it.

City officials believe that an inclusive planning process is vital to the success of any effort to provide recreation 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.

WHY ARE WE UPDATING THE PLAN NOW?

1) Parks, recreation, open space, and trails are important to our community.
Parks, trails, and open spaces are an essential part of each day for our community, as they 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, and proximity to these resources is 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 City.

2) It’s time to update and integrate exiting plans.
Currently, two primary plans guide the development of parks, trails and open space. The 2008 Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan and the 2013 Community Trails Plan. In the years since these two plans were adopted, the City of Shelton has updated the Comprehensive Plan (2017) and Mason County has updated and expanded their Parks and Recreation Plan to better address the roles of Open Space for public benefit (2018).

The Washington State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan has also been updated through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, complete with a 2019 manual for the development of planning policies and guidelines. At this same time, Shelton’s undeveloped land is
coming under greater pressure to accommodate new growth, and existing parks, trails, and open space are experiencing increasing recreational use.

3) Growing populations, levels of understanding and evolving needs.
Since 2010, some 4,000 new residents have moved into Mason County, with many of them settling in and regularly visiting the City of Shelton. In this same time period, new studies have come out regarding level of service needs; the roles of corridors and buffer zones that provide wildlife movement between areas; changes in technology; environmental health; social equity; and changing demographics and related needs.

According to a news release, it is the City’s responsibility to respond to these changes, and in order to better serve the community the guiding plans need to reflect the needs of residents and their vision for the future. Many of the 2008 and 2013 goals and objectives have also been accomplished or shifted in the past 10 years. The new PROST plan will help Shelton to realize its goals while supporting environmental stewardship and sustainable, long-term growth.