Washington State was early to provide public skateparks. Unlike other early-adopters of the modern skatepark boom, particularly California, Washington’s skateparks typically do not require helmets or pads. Many of the parks are fenced but few have gates and only a small handful are supervised. This progressive approach may have something to do with the earliest skateparks in the area providing a healthy example of what can be done with little risk to the public or the skatepark user. Portland, home of the world-famous Burnside skatepark, is just over the Oregon-Washington border. Furthermore, Washington is the home to Grindline Skateparks…respected (and sometimes notorious) builders of some of the world’s gnarliest skateparks. The state has a propensity for outdoor recreation; surfing on the coast, snow sports in the Cascades, and plenty of outdoor space for other activities. Skateboarding has a rich history in Washington State and is growing more significant every day.
Washington has a major mountain range separating Eastern Washington from Western Washington. The two halves of Washington are often considered culturally different by its residents. Eastern Washington is agricultural and rural whereas Western Washington tends to be more metropolitan.
The state’s five largest cities are Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue. All have significant skatepark stories. All of the 20 largest cities in Washington have skateparks; some have quite a few. (The City of Kent, population 114,000 has three skateparks.)
As of 2011 there are approximately 130 skateparks in Wasington presenting about 942,000 total square footage of skateboarding terrain, (about 22 acres).
Washington has few commercial skateparks in spite of long stretches of inclement weather. The state has two YMCA-managed skateparks that charge a small fee and require full pads and several churches that operate skateboarding outreach programs on their premises, (using ramps and such).
The state is blessed with a high number of the nation’s most notable skateparks thanks largely to it being central to four highly competent skatepark designers and a strong spirit of innovation permeating the culture.