Parks & Great Outdoors Legislative Day on January 20th was a success! Thank you to all who participated from advocates, to legislators and their staff who made the day possible! This was the second year of the virtual style lobby day and the remote nature allowed for constituents from 34 different legislative districts across the state to attend. We had 99 attendees join from Port Angeles to Spokane, Friday Harbor, Leavenworth, and all the way down to Camas, WA advocating to improve access to the outdoors, expand resources for outdoor recreation and conservation, and help preserve and protect WA outdoor spaces.
While thanking our legislators for providing the WWRP with $100M in the 2021-2023 capital budget for outdoor recreation and conservation projects, we also focused on a few other important legislative priorities for 2022. You can follow each of the Senate and House Bills through the state legislature by clicking on the links below.
IMPROVE ACCESS TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
- Expand Discover Pass Free Days (SB 5504) to include WDFW and DNR managed lands.
- SB 5504; Sponsors: Senators Warnick, Van De Wege, Billig, Conway, Das, Lovelett, Mullet, Nguyen, Randall, Saldaña, Wagoner, Wilson, J., Wilson, L.
EXPAND RESOURCES FOR OUTDOOR REC & CONSERVATION
- Give Local Parks Funding Options by allowing communities to vote on a 1/10th of a cent local sales tax to fund local parks, proposed by their city, county, or park district for the purposes of acquiring land or improving and maintaining existing parks and for maintenance.
- Clarify the Conservation Futures Levy (HB 1672) is not subject to the 1% property tax limit and can be set locally by counties.
- HB 1672; Sponsors: Representatives Wylie and Fitzgibbon
PRESERVE AND PROTECT OUR PRECIOUS LANDS
- Enhance Farmland Protection and Land Acquisition (FPLA) by allowing for agricultural conservation easements on land bought through the new Farmland Protection and Affordability Investment Program (FarmPAI) which provides land trusts with low-interest loans to buy high-quality farmland at high risk of development. The program has an explicit commitment to equitable access for would-be farmers who are Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).
- $2 million capital budget request
- Keep Washington Evergreen (SB 5633) which creates a framework and commits to developing a plan to conserve one million acres of working forests and reforest one million acres by 2040.
- SB 5633; Sponsors: Senators Rolfes, Short, Das, Gildon, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Lovelett, Nguyen, Nobles, Randall, Wagoner, Warnick, Stanford
- HB 1895; Harris-Talley, Maycumber, Leavitt, Ramos, Simmons, Steele, Stonier, Peterson, Shewmake, Graham, Berg, Kloba, Callan, Riccelli, Lekanoff, Macri, Valdez, Duerr
- Reduce the maintenance backlogs (roads, gates, signage, trail maintenance, toilets, etc) on state parks & public lands through an additional $15 million in operating dollars. Provide $5m each to State Parks, DNR, and WDFW, on top of their agency requests which focus on current issues rather than backlog.
- $15 million operating budget request
- Support WDFW stewardship funding agency requests driven by the large influx of use of water access areas by Washingtonians during the pandemic.
- $500,000 of existing Discover Pass funds allocated to address urgent maintenance and stewardship needs at water access areas. This includes cleaning and pumping toilets and removal of trash and dumping.
- $3.5 million in on-going operating funds (building on the above) to improve stewardship of wildlife areas and water access areas. Includes on-the-ground work, planning and rules development, and improving public engagement. Also includes evaluating the ecological impacts of recreation on these lands.