Karen Munro first heard about the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program decades ago while she was listening to the radio on her way to work in Olympia.
“I knew Governor Dan Evans and Lowry personally and admired both of them,” she said. “I heard that there was a new program that would set aside lands for parks and thought that was so important.”
Karen then served on the Coalition’s board for more than a decade, working as a passionate defender of trail and wildlife habitat funding. Her interest in trails started as a child when she spent her summers in parks, at the beach with her family, and at Bridle Trails State Park with her best friend and their horses.
“I recently went back there and it was so enjoyable to ride over those same trails,” Karen said. “I’m so glad the state still preserves that wonderful park.”
Her passion for the outdoors was solidified when she participated in the very first Earth Day while she was working in Washington DC in the Nixon White House. She picked up trash along the Potomac River and thought about the value of protecting the outdoors to keep our air and water clean while preserving access for everyone.
Karen has continued to be an advocate for outdoor access even after her years on the Coalition’s board. She is currently involved with the Washington Racewalking Club that encourages seniors to get outside, exercise and compete in a friendly environment.
“It’s so important that people of all ages have access to outdoor recreation,” she says. “Kids need soccer and ballfields, cyclists need trails, and seniors [like those in my racewalking group] need to have facilities to walk, practice and compete.”
This diversity of recreation programs is what Karen thinks has allowed the Coalition to be successful for 24 years.
“The Coalition represents a huge success story that should be modeled in other parts of government and society because different groups come together to save the lands for future generations to create recreation opportunities and natural areas where animals can thrive and people can enjoy,” Karen said. “Groups like the Audubon Society and hunters and fishers all work together toward doing something good for the public, even if their interests might be different.”
Karen and her fiancé plan to enjoy the summer on the many trails on Bainbridge Island and by visiting the San Juans. She recommends visiting Lime Kiln Point, a WWRP funded projects where park visitors can view whales without having to even step into a boat.
To anyone thinking about joining the Coalition, Karen says: “It’s very important to support a group that has done so much already to support our state because there is still has so much work to do. We need to put more resources behind preserving lands for ourselves and future generations to enjoy.”
Photo courtesy of Karen Munro.