Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 2 -
Attorney General Smith Troy


State Parks and Recreation Commission may not have printed interpretive folders of Washington historical sites and sell the same in State Parks, the money to revert to the Parks and Parkway Funds.

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                                                                    April 3, 1951

State Parks and Recreation Commission
23040 Marine Drive
Des Moines, Washington                                                                                               Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 2

Attention:  Ruth E. Peeler

Dear Madam:

            We have your letter of March 8, 1951, in which you ask the following question:

            May the State Parks and Recreation Commission have printed and sell interpretive folders of Washington Historical Sites and sell the same in State parks, the money to revert to the parks and parkway fund?

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            The State Parks and Recreation Commission has no such authority.


            It is elementary that public officials have no powers except such as are given to them by statute, either directly or by implication.  43.36 RCW (10940 to 10951, Rem. Rev. Stat. and amendments thereto) are the statutes on this subject.  We cannot find where any right is given to the State Parks and Recreation Commission to enter into such an activity as the printing and selling of folders.  The Commission is specifically granted power to to grant concession in State Parks and Parkways.  The sale of folders might well be the subject of a concession.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            The fact that the Commission fathered a bill at the recent session of the legislature to allow the printing and sale of interpretive folders of Washington Historical Sites in State parks, might be considered as evidence that the Commission does not presently possess that power.

            We cannot regard the fact that the Commission might buy boats or construct cabins and rent for temporary use of the same as comparable.  In such cases the boats and cabins remain the property of the Commission.  All that the Commission does is to allow the use of such facilities for a charge.  Such charge might be justified under the provision of the law which gives the Commission the right to "impose fees" for the use of park facilities by campers.  In the case of the folders under consideration, the purchaser would take possession of the folders and presumably remove the same from the park property.  Such a transaction would be exactly similar to that involved in the operation of a newsstand where the purchaser might purchase a newspaper, a picture postcard or a book.  The only difference would be that the ordinary proprietor of such newsstand would buy his supply, whereas in the case under consideration, the Commission would print and publish the folders.

            We believe that if the Commission wishes to sell such folders, that the same must be done through a concession.

            We are not saying, nor should we be understood as saying that the Commission cannot print and distribute folders or such other literature as they in their discretion shall deem proper if the same are distributed free of charge.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General