Hunters planning their next expeditions might find that some of their favorite places are no longer available to them or are no longer affordable to visit.
In areas lacking access to public lands, many hunters and anglers rely on commercial forestlands so they can pursue their sports, but this becomes complicated when private landowners close popular spots or begin charging fees.
Private landowners have the right to put rules on their land, which is why programs like the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program are so essential to ensure public access for all.
These programs protect wildlife refuges, state and national forests, water access and more so every Washingtonian can continue to pursue these traditional pastimes.
If you’re looking for public land near you, try these resources:
Where is your favorite public place to hunt or fish? Email us your stories and photos so we can showcase them on our blog.
Photo by canopic.
It has been heartbreaking to see the images of fires disrupting communities in Eastern Washington. When they burn out of control, they can cause millions of dollars in property damage and displace people and wildlife, but fire can be a critical part of the life cycle of healthy natural landscapes.
We know it will take years for communities to recover, but we want to offer a little bit of hope this month to show how outdoors enthusiasts in our state are working to protect these special places and the people that rely on them.
In fact, they’re a necessary part of a healthy forest as long as we prevent them from getting out of control.
We can all help find funds for forest restoration efforts by supporting strong funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP). The Department of Fish and Wildlife has applied for WWRP funds this year for projects including controlled burnings, thinnings, and land purchases to help reduce fire risk and management costs.
In fact, the WWRP has an entire category devoted to maintaining our state lands against these devastating threats. Here are just a couple projects proposed this year:
We are very excited to introduce two new interns who are joining us this summer to unite voices around Washington State in support of our great outdoors!
Welcome to Stewardship Intern Sarah Geyer, and Federal Policy and Communications Intern Ethan Fetz!
Sarah is a Seattle local with a passion for conservation and sustainability. She is currently a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Environmental Studies and Biology with a focus on Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school and eventually pursue a career in environmental policy.
During her internship, Sarah is assisting in the Coalition’s stewardship work by working with state agencies to help clarify the gaps and opportunities in state land stewardship. The goal is to eventually be able to develop solutions that can help address management challenges and help keep our outdoors great.
Staff member Naomi Botkin sits down with the people whose work makes our parks fun.
Imagine another Monday back in the office after a never-long-enough weekend. You’ve clocked in, logged on, tuned in, and you’re ready to get down to business.
The business of monkey bars and ball fields, that is.
There’s something special about folks who choose to work in parks and recreation, where public service and play come together. Since parks agencies are some of the Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s most important partners, I called up a few folks to get a first-hand perspective on the culture of working in parks and recreation.
Each of these communities are pursuing new play venues for their growing communities through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP); Bellevue, Vancouver and Bellingham each submitted grant applications this year for new projects for funding in 2015.
Funding a park requires a lot of paperwork, but the motivation comes from a much more active place.
As the summer heats up, towns across the state are looking to grant funding for a singular type of fun for kids and families – spray and water parks!
Public parks, held in trust by the American people, are perfect places to celebrate our nation’s birthday. They embody the democratic spirit of this great nation, where anyone, no matter what their background, can enjoy beautiful vistas, close-to-home playgrounds, barbecues and sports fields, fun on the water and family camping vacations.
Many communities still don’t have even a single local park. The Coalition is working to support increased access to close-to-home parks for every community across Washington State.
This month, the Coalition formally announced its request that Governor Inslee and the legislature commit $97 million to our state’s premier recreation and conservation program, the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program (WWRP), a nationally recognized, competitive funding process.
This year, there are about 220 proposed recreation and conservation projects seeking WWRP grants to fund parks, trails, habitat conservation, farmland preservation, water access and more in 34 of Washington’s 39 counties.
Did you know 63 percent of Washingtonians participate in outdoor recreation? We’re lucky to have a state full of outdoors enthusiasts and you can broaden your impact.
By volunteer Alysen Laakso, who recently moved to Pierce County from Austin, Texas.
During the development boom of the mid-2000s, the town of Eatonville and the Nisqually Tribe worried that land around the Mashel River would be lost, threatening critical salmon habitat.
As part of an effort to conserve and protect that land, the town of Eatonville successfully applied for a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant to ultimately buy over 120 acres of land to protect the salmon. I recently interviewed Nick Bond, who worked as an Eatonville planner during the early days of the restoration project.
This story is a shining example of cooperation and communication between two communities as they worked together to protect this iconic fish.
The Coalition’s LWCF Campaign Director, Hannah Clark, discovers the impact of our work in her own neighborhood.
During a recent walk through my neighborhood I happened to look at a sign for a park I walk past every day on my way to work, Spring Street Mini Park.
Both parks are gems in Seattle’s Central District, which is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. It was once home to the likes of Jimmi Hendrix, Bruce Lee and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
It remains a vibrant and active community. Every time I walk by the parks, there are children playing, families picnicking, local workers taking a rest under the shady trees. It’s amazing how much value even a small park can bring to a community.
A portion of federal LWCF grant dollars match state and local funding for parks, trails and recreation amenities. This year, LWCF funding could make more neighborhoods come to life across the state. Check out the list of proposed projects that the Coalition is fighting for!
LWCF, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has invested over $600 million in Washington State. But the program expires next year without Congressional action, and each year the fund has been raided.
Thankfully we have leaders like Senators Murray and Cantwell who have co-sponsored legislation to fully fund and reauthorize LWCF, and Congressman Dave Reichert who has led House efforts to reauthorize the fund.
Have you seen LWCF or WWRP funded projects in your neighborhood or your favorite fishing spot? They don’t always have signs, so check out our map of Projects in Your Backyard to find out. Send us your photos!