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WWRC 2021 Legislative Priorities

Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program Funding

  • The response to COVID19 created a surge in demand for outdoor recreation across the state—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.

Outdoor Recreation Equity Review/Program

  • We acknowledge that most of our society’s current systems and processes were not designed with equity in mind, and WWRP and other outdoor recreation and conservation programs are no exception.
  • We welcome the opportunity to participate in an in-depth review of the WWRP to improve equity and ensure the program serves ALL Washingtonians better going forward.
  • We request the Legislature include funding not only for a review, but to compensate participants and community members for their time to ensure we have diverse voices and organizations leading this conversation, as well as to begin providing community investments immediately.

No Child Left Inside (NCLI)

  • Provides under-served youth with opportunities to experience the outdoors, often at WWRP-funded parks.
  • The Legislature provided $1.5 million for NCLI in the 2019-21 biennium, but only 30 of 173 applications were funded. This request would allow more youth to experience the outdoors.
  • The Coalition supports the Governor’s request of $500,000 in supplemental operating budget funding for the No Child Left Inside grant program

WDFW Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Reform

  • PILT is paid to certain counties to compensate for the state acquisition of private property (and the corresponding decrease in taxable acreage) for critical fish and wildlife habitat and creating increased public access for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
  • The payments are critical to local government, schools, and junior taxing districts, especially in rural Washington with large acreages of state ownership.
  • We support moving WDFW PILT payments to the State Treasurer’s office to mirror the Dept. of Natural Resources process, thereby reducing confusion and inequities.

Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA)

  • Provides funds for the acquisition, improvement, or protection of aquatic lands and waterfront access for public purposes.
  • We support the $9.1m Capital Budget request ($6.6m from ALEA account, $2.5m from bonds) for ALEA, as requested by the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA).

Youth Athletic Facilities (YAF)

  • Provides funds for the acquisition, development, and/or renovation of outdoor athletic facilities for youth competitive sports.
  • We support the $11.3m Capital Budget request, as requested by the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA).

Community Forests Program

  • Balances the many benefits forests provide and gives communities a way to preserve their working forest heritage. A valuable tool for preserving working lands for the benefit of Washingtonians now and into the future.
  • We support the $22m Capital Budget Request, as requested by the Washington Association of Land Trusts (WALT).

Local Agency Maintenance & Operations Legislation

  • Provides local parks agencies with additional funding options, which are especially critical as they try to make up increased backlogs and challenges around maintenance and operations in the wake of COVID-19. Provides local agencies a tool, but involves no state-level expense.
  • We support HB 1025/SB 5006, as requested by the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA).

State Agency Budget Support

  • Now is not the time to undermine the integrity of our natural resource agency budgets especially given the growing demand for outdoor spaces in this global pandemic.
  • We support operating and capital funding for our natural resource agencies to uphold their obligations to the public

Other legislation we support

  • HB 1372 Replacing Marcus Whitman statue in national statuary hall with Billy Frank Jr. statue
  • HB 1216 Concerning Urban and Community Forestry
  • SB 5292 Concerning the use of parks and recreation spaces, trails, and facilities in the design of parks Rx pilot program collaboratively designed with the health care and insurance industry sectors.
  • SB 5141 Implementing the recommendations of the environmental justice task force.

Ready to take action for these important issues? Check out our Advocacy Toolkit to help you get started!