My first week in the office, there was a pop quiz. And it was that you have to name all 39 counties in Washington. I went home and studied because I had never studied this before. I took the quiz and I missed three because I couldn’t spell Skamania and I mixed up Kittitas and Klickitat.
Now, as I leave the Coalition for my next adventure, I marvel at how much I have learned since then. I have gotten to go to places I never knew existed. I have met stakeholders from groups I never knew existed. I have had the pleasure of traveling around to promote WWRP to all of these wonderful people. And I am walking away with the realization that this is the most important organization that almost no one’s ever heard of. And that makes me sad because I want to do more, and I want to drive that education with county commissioners and state legislators, and we are a nonprofit with a staff of five and we only have so much bandwidth.
The good news is, there are so many people that care about this movement. The better news is that we’ve got a board of directors that cares passionately for the WWRP, the Coalition, and conservation and recreation. The best news is that we’ve got a staff that cares and will continue moving our mission forward.
Last fall, I got to spend a little but of time on the Colville reservation. They have the projects in the current funding list. Driving through communities of Nespelium and Inchilium, I saw with my own eyes the communities where these projects will make a difference. I am convince without a doubt that the benefits—health, community, education, habitat, restoration—are being returned to community in spades through this program.
I think of all the park directors across the state that I’ve been able to chat with—from Spokane to Ellensburg, and from Bellingham to Vancouver. The parks and rec folks that breath outdoor recreation and serve the public are super stars. They are doing work for their community and most of the communities don’t even know all the benefit they are receiving.
I want to salute these folks, who are driving WWRP projects. It’s crucial that we thank them for this work. In a recent edition of Rob’s Road Notes, you heard me talk about the vision of our founding board members, including Fred Wert, John McGlenn, Charlie Raines, Bill Chapman, and Elliot Marks. Thank you to them—and all the others who currently serve on the Board—for continuing to hold the vision of the Coalition in their hands and continue this mission.
All of the Coalition members—all of the organization and agency members—thank you for stepping forward. Our members are the backbone of our organization, and without them, we wouldn’t have the same platform to educate about the WWRP. They help our voice be heard.
Also, a special shout out to all my teammates—past and current coalition staff. And to Christine, Danica, Betsy, and Joan: You are the torchbearers of this Coalition and I am so grateful for your partnership and your camaraderie these past few years. Thank you for all that you do.
Here’s a tip of the hat to all of the coalition stakeholders who have supported my journey. Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!