We all know how important conservation and public lands are to our larger outdoor recreation industry. Of course, you obviously need large tracts of public land to go backcountry hunting or embark on a six-day camping trip. But these soils also play a major role in fish conservation and watershed health. I think we all understand that trout fishing in the West would be very different if there were residential developments and industrial plants along some remote Western rivers. This is a big part of why protecting and preserving these remaining wild places is so important. Washington State is looking to add to its collection of public lands with some potential new additions.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is now seeking public input on new land acquisition proposals for 2022. WDFW has a long history of using land acquisition to “conserve and restore fish species diversity and Washington’s wildlife and their habitats” and “Ensuring access to sustainable fishing, hunting and other wildlife-related recreational opportunities, which generate billions of dollars in tourism and are key to the state’s quality of life. ” For example, a 2021 purchase provided 7 acres on the banks of the Grande Ronde River for public access, camping and boating.
This year’s acquisition proposals include 15 projects across the state. Here’s a couple that stood out to us.
- One project would preserve and protect 260 acres of habitat surrounding a tributary of the Klickitat River.
- The WDFW Hoffstadt Hills Project will acquire up to 7,300 acres adjacent to the Hoffstadt Unit of the Mt. St. Helens and Mount St. National Monument.
- Another project would acquire 90 acres of shoreline along the Columbia River that have the potential for salmonid restoration.
- Finally, there is another project to expand the acreage at an access point to the Grande Ronde River.
So if you’re a Washington angler or know the region well, take a look and share any data with the Department. Who knows, your contribution today could translate into a new boat launch next year or improved coastal habitat for the future.
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