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WWRC 2022 Legislative Priorities

Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program Funding

  • The legislature provided $100m for the WWRP in the 2021-23 Capital Budget for outdoor recreation and conservation projects around the state.
  • The response to COVID-19 created a surge in demand for outdoor recreation across the stateā€”a good forecast of what we can expect every year in the near future with our growing population. We must invest now if we hope to meet the demands of the future.
  • Investment is critical for our economy, for our environment, for working lands, and for critical fish and wildlife habitat around the state.

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 and Van De Wege

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.
    • HB 1025; Sponsors: Representatives Wicks, Eslick, Shewmake, Duerr, Ramel, Senn, OrtizSelf, Ryu, Goehner, Jacobsen, and Pollet
  • 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 and Short
  • 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.