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Gig Harbor man tapped as Kitsap parks director

The Kitsap County commissioners on Monday selected Mark Mauren of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as the county’s new director of Facilities, Parks and Recreation.

Mauren succeeds Cris Gears, who was promoted to the county administrator position in May.

“We’ve been talking about how Kitsap’s growth is going to explode for the last 10 years,” Mauren said. “And it’s happening now. There are a lot of challenges and opportunities, and I want to participate.”

Mauren, 47, has worked for the DNR in various capacities for 24 years. During that time he has, on occasion, supervised the management of Kitsap County lands.

Mauren said he plans to meet with his new staff to determine the issues before determining the department’s direction.

“I want to get a better sense of the actual people before making any changes,” he said. “Building a parks infrastructure is important, but you also have to plan for the resources to maintain it.”

Mauren said he thought the county was moving in the right direction with its purchase of lands for future use as parks, saying that it showed “an incredible foresight that will build our future legacy.

“Parks are one of the first things that get cut back when there are limited funds,” he said. “But having adequate recreational facilities is one of the most important things about an area.”

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said that Mauren “is a real personable guy who will fit in very well with the Kitsap County staff.”

Mauren currently serves in a volunteer capacity as the president of the board of the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District, a position he was elected to after being actively involved in the creation of the district.

It was his experience in creating a viable alternative to providing important park and recreation services that got the attention of the county.

In 1998, Mauren received an “Outstanding Volunteer” award from Pierce County for his community planning efforts.

Of the four finalists for the position Mauren was the only local candidate.

Mauren, who is married with two teenaged children, lives in Gig Harbor and has no plans to move at present.

His salary will be $89,835.20 with a full benefits package, and he will start the new job on Oct. 24.

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