LETTERS: Pleased by effort to protect outdoors
Pleased by effort to protect outdoors
Thank you for your coverage of legislative changes to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. ("State shifts money from park buying to park fixing," March 15).
Last summer, hundreds of Washingtonians gave input to modernize the WWRP, a program that has supported over 1,300 parks, wildlife, and farmland projects since 1989. This resulting bill will help WWRP reach even more Washington citizens and provide benefits to the whole state.
There is a lot to like in this bill. As noted in your article, it will make it easier for low income communities to compete for park grants. The bill also will open several grant categories to applications by land trusts, like Great Peninsula Conservancy, who have the resources and know how to conserve our most special places.
We, too, lament the reduction in habitat funding in the bill. Threats to salmon and wildlife are only growing with increasing population pressure. To clarify what the article states, the program does not eliminate spending on Riparian projects, but simply shifts how the account is funded. This is important as the Riparian program has done much good for the Kitsap Peninsula. A recent grant helped buy the first 200 acres of our new Grovers Creek Preserve near Kingston, leveraging generous community donations and years of volunteer work.
Like so few things today, this bill passed with tremendous bipartisan support, and our own Sens. Rolfes, Angel, and Sheldon and Reps. Appleton, Hansen, Caldier, Young, Griffey, and MacEwen deserve tremendous thanks for their support of this program and our quality of life.