We are writing to commend U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration for their ongoing commitment to America’s majestic outdoor places. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is proud to acknowledge President Obama’s full support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the release of the America’s Great Outdoors report today.
On July 1, 2010, leaders from President Obama’s Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interior, as part of the administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, visited Seattle and graciously asked for public input on the future of conservation in this country. More than 550 people gathered that evening to take part in a dialogue with federal officials about what our state’s Great Outdoors mean to us, and how to best protect them. The conversation included individuals from all walks of life, including youth, business leaders, sportsmen, farmers and ranchers, and American Indian tribal leaders. The diverse ideas and perspectives discussed here and in the other 51 listening sessions held across the country are the cornerstone of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative report released today.
As a citizens group of farmers and fishermen, hunters and hikers, conservationists and businesses dedicated to supporting public funding for parks, habitat and working farms across Washington state, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition raised its collective voice in July to promote one of the best conservation tools this country has ever seen, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a tool that has been a key instrument for investing in Washington’s natural resources. LWCF has funded some of our most beloved community parks in Seattle, including Gasworks and Green Lake, while also protecting national treasures, such as Mount Rainier National Park, where LWCF funds have dramatically improved access to the park.
We commend Secretary Salazar for his ongoing commitment to LWCF, and look forward to seeing that commitment in today’s America’s Great Outdoors report. The report is a 21st Century conservation and outdoor recreation agenda crafted from America’s combined voices, designed to protect our nation’s land, water and wildlife and to connect families, especially children, to nature. The administration’s call for full and dedicated funding for LWCF would especially provide much-needed support for our lands, local economies and businesses, and protect our quality of life.
Washington locals, and the folks who visit us, enjoy nature and outdoor recreation in many different ways. But whether it is hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, kayaking, biking, picnicking, or just relaxing, full and dedicated funding for LWCF will ensure preservation of our waterways, woodlands, wildlife and access to recreation opportunities for all to enjoy Washington’s great outdoors.
We have great admiration and thanks for Secretary Salazar and his championing of this landmark America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
About the WWRC
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group of farmers and fishermen, hunters and hikers, conservationists and business leaders dedicated to supporting public funding for parks, habitat and working farms across the state. The Coalition was founded in 1989 by Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. In 1990, the Coalition convinced the Legislature to create the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to provide a source of grant funding for projects across the state. Today, the Coalition includes more than 250 businesses and environmental, recreational, and community groups in Washington. The WWRP grant program has provided more than $623 million to more than 1,000 projects across the state.