Ex-Seattle parks chief joins State Parks commission

Staff reportFebruary 23, 2014 

The former head of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department was named Feb. 11 to serve on the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Ken Bounds of Seattle was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to serve a term that runs until Dec. 31, 2018.

“I am looking forward to working with the other commissioners and staff to strengthen the park system and help ensure its viability into the future,” Bounds said in a news release. “Washington State has a very special park system, and I am excited to do whatever I can to continue its legacy.”

Bounds worked 11 years as the superintendent of parks and recreation for the city of Seattle. He also served as budget director and in various executive leadership positions before retiring in 2007.

He has served on a variety of local and national boards, including the City Parks Alliance, the Mountains to Sound Greenway and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. He is a current member of the Seattle Parks Foundation board.

While working for Seattle, Bounds led efforts to secure more than $230 million from voter-approved levies that resulted in new parks, community centers, swimming pools and more than 350 acres of public open space.

He has a bachelor of arts degree in economics and political science from Baylor University in Texas, and he completed two years of study in the urban planning master’s program at the University of Iowa.

Bounds and his wife, Linda Gorton, enjoy traveling, hiking, golfing, bicycling and cooking for friends. They have an adult daughter who also resides in Seattle.

The seven-member commission sets policy to guide the state park system. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and serve in a volunteer capacity. The commission meets six times a year at locations around the state.


The Washington National Parks Fund will holds it annual spring dinner and auction on April 26.

Last year’s event raised almost $100,000 for Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks. A part of that total, $37,125, was raised for the parks’ search-and-rescue programs.

The fund hopes to raise $125,000 this year.

In the last six years, the fund has donated more than $2 million to various programs and projects at the three parks. That money has helped hold a family camping program at Mount Rainier, bringing urban youth to North Cascades to work as trail stewards and help monitor Olympic marmots.

The event will start at 5 p.m. at the Seattle Design Center.

Tickets are $125 each and are available at the fund’s website wnpf.org.

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