OLYMPIA – Washington State Parks Director Don Hoch plans to retire March 2, 2021, and a nationwide search is underway for his successor.

Hoch has headed the department for 10 years.

Before becoming director, Hoch served six years as the agency’s Puget Sound and southwest regions director.

The commission said he was instrumental in the agency’s transformation strategy and development of the Discover Pass. The agency went from relying mostly on general tax support to earning revenue to pay for the cost of operating the park system.

Since the beginning of Hoch’s appointment, sales of the Discover Pass grew 61 percent; overnight accommodations revenue increased 43 percent and overall earned revenue increased 37 percent. The agency also purchased more than 2,000 acres of land for existing and new parks, and stand-alone park properties at a cost of nearly $14 million, and secured management agreements for nearly 2,000 additional acres for recreation and conservation purposes.

Hoch also relaunched the No Child Left Inside program, awarding $3.8 million in funding to more than 80 programs to get youth outdoors. He also secured and directed $218 million in state capital funds and $12 million in state grants to develop and renovate state park facilities.

Hoch has more than 40 years of parks and recreation experience at the municipal, county, state and federal levels.

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