Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Plans Recreation Future
WDFW wants to hear from you as they plan their multi-year initiative, "Washington's Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife."
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to hear from you as it plans for new recreation opportunities for hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts.
Recreationists have been asked to share their views as part of WDFW's multi-year initiative, "Washington's Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife." Through the program, the department hopes to ensure WDFW programs and services reflect the needs of outdoor enthusiasts.
"Since I joined WDFW, I have been asking people, 'If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?'" said Director Jim Unsworth, who was hired to lead the agency in January. "This is a great opportunity for people across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should focus our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years."
Hiking with wildlife
As one of its primary duties, the department manages Washington state's 33 wildlife refuges. Refuges like the Skagit, L.T. Murray, and Oak Creek Wildlife Areas offering abundant opportunities for hikers to enjoy time on trail while observing birds, elk, otters and other wildlife that make their homes in the area.
Hikers are encouraged to give their input so that WDFW can accurately respond to the needs of all recreationits. Meetings will take place on the following dates from 6 to 8pm:
- Sept. 10 - Selah Civic Center, 216 1st St., Selah.
- Sept. 30 - Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
- Oct. 6 - WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
- Oct. 8 - Saint Martin's University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
- Oct. 14 - Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
- Oct. 20 - Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.
Need help deciding what to say? Consider answering one of the following questions:
- What has your experience been like hiking in wildlife refuges and other WDFW-managed lands?
- How would you like to recreate on WDFW-managed lands in the future?
- What could improve the experience of future hikers visiting these places in Washington?
Comments will be accepted through October 31 on the department's website and by email.
Later this year, the department will release a summary of the comments to the public. According to a press release from the department, "The information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW's operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals."
Thank you for sharing this important public comment opportunity! It's vital that hikers, outdoor recreationists, conservationists and interested members of the public participate in this planning process for WDFW. We must help ensure a future for this state agency that is balanced and recognizes the needs, desires and funding obligations of diverse stakeholders in addition to the Department's classic constituents: hunters and anglers. Many hunters such as myself understand that to best manage and conserve our state’s wildlife and wildlands, we need greater input from other stakeholders, including hikers.
One clarification: the WDFW owned or operated lands you are referring too in this post are state Wildlife Areas, not Wildlife Refuges. Wildlife Refuges, which have differing recreation, management and use policies depending on the refuge, are operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Wildlife Refuge System.
WDFW’s Wildlife Areas are state owned or operated lands managed for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching as well as outdoor recreation including hiking and biking. WDFW Wildlife Areas offer some truly excellent and underappreciated recreation opportunities, and it’s great that WTA and more hikers are spreading the word about them! Just please be respectful to other Wildlife Area users, keep dogs on leash (if not hunting) and wear plenty of hunter orange August – January.
WildWildNW on Oct 13, 2015 11:54 AM