Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson fishing with his son.
On September 3rd, America celebrates an important milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). For five decades, LWCF has protected places to camp, hike, hunt and fish — major economic drivers for rural and urban communities alike.
Washington’s congressional leaders have played a key role in the program’s history since the beginning. Few know that it was Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson who introduced the original Land and Water Conservation Fund Act to the Senate 50 years ago. Then, as now, the program received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the House on a unanimous voice vote and the Senate 91-1, and was signed into law by President Johnson on September 3, 1964.
Now, the Act could expire without congressional action, meaning this critical tool could disappear forever — but you can help!
This year, LWCF funding needs include:
Protecting Cascade slopes along the Pacific Crest Trail,
Land along Lewis and Clark’s historic route along the Columbia River,
Renovating the fishing pier in Edmonds,
Investing in the Washougal economy through a waterfront trail, and many other community priorities across the state.
Last month, we introduced our interns helping contribute to our work on stewardship and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Now, meet Rebecca Brunn, our development intern who has stepped in to coordinate many of the finer details for the Coalition’s annual breakfast.
Rebecca, a native of New York, graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in Liberal Arts. A former park ranger and AmeriCorps volunteer, she is thrilled to be combining her love of the outdoors with her experience in nonprofits here at the Coalition. Some of her favorite activities include snowboarding, long-distance swimming, playing ultimate frisbee, making stained glass windows and cheering for the New York Giants.
“I was drawn to the Coalition by the sheer dedication it has for preserving Washington’s natural spaces,” Rebecca says. “Preservation is ideally a collaborative effort, and engaging Washington’s hikers, boaters, kite flyers and bird watchers as an essential part of that effort is what sold me on the Coalition. I am excited to grow as both a nonprofit professional and an outdoors enthusiast with this great organization.”
Great to have you on the team, Rebecca! Be sure to say hi to our interns at the registration table at the Coalition’s breakfast on September 23.
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.