To the Editor: Voices of sportsmen ensure outdoors future
I recently visited Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and partner groups with the goal of helping policy-makers understand the importance of protecting wildlife habitat in Washington.
I returned with confidence that sportsmen’s voices do matter on such issues.
In Western Washington, recreationists are awaiting funds via the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect habitat at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and other projects. LWCF funds have been used to protect working forests and wildlife habitats on approximately 20,000 acres near the base of Mount St. Helens.
When I met with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, I pointed out that critical local habitat projects such as these depend on public-private partnerships and funding from LWCF. For 50 years, LWCF has used fees paid by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas for conservation.
Yet much of those monies have not gone to land and water conservation as intended. As a result, local habitat projects suffer, as do recreationists and rural economies.
Rep. Herrera Beutler is part of a small group in Congress negotiating a final U.S. Surface Transportation Bill. The Senate version of the bill includes substantial conservation funding from the LWCF over the next two years. Join me in encouraging Rep. Herrera Beutler’s efforts in Congress.
Together, we can ensure the future of elk and other wildlife and their habitats, and pass along our hunting, fishing and love-of-the-outdoors traditions to the next generation.