Doug Kelley: Spokane County Park Advocate

I recently chatted with Doug Kelley about why he got involved with the Spokane County Parks, Recreation & Golf Advisory Board and the Spokane Parks Foundation.


When did you first get involved with the County advisory board and what drew you to their purpose?

I am completing my second term on the Spokane County Parks Advisory Board. After spending 9 years on the Spokane County Planning Commission, I was still hungry for more opportunities to serve, and I was approached by County Parks staff to consider their board. Being an avid recreationalist, this seemed like a great fit.

How long have you been on the Foundation’s board, and what, if anything, has changed in our work since then?

I volunteered to be the County Parks member to serve on the Spokane Parks Foundation, five years ago. I chose this opportunity to expand my knowledge and influence in maintaining and advancing our regional parks systems. I have seen the evolution of the Parks Foundation towards a more professional, strategic and vital player in the fabric of our community and our parks.

Parks are enjoying a revival in the public’s conscience, thanks to so many groups like the Spokane Parks Foundation, the County advisory board and all of the studies being released about the impact of parks on health and the economy. What do you think that our local park systems need to do to continue that growing recognition?

What is your favorite park right now?

Parks have been the fabric of our communities and a showcase for our pride in their legacies. But parks need love! They need to evolve to meet changing demands and they need the care and feeding to keep them vital and healthy. We need to maintain what we have, and that is no easy task for parks staff and our communities. In many cases, this will take funding beyond what is traditionally provided through general parks budgets. It is not a hard case to make, but it is a difficult message to get out to our publics in a broad manner. Once people hear, and consider the options, there is overwhelming support for parks and recreation.

I grew up next to Comstock Park, so it has a special place in my development.

What is your favorite park memory?

However, I clearly recall walking in to the wading pool at Comstock, in my new cowboy boots. I put the over the heat register when I got home, and the toes curled up. I got a spanking for that…………

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