State Seeks Public Touch upon Draft Recreation and Conservation Plan

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By staff at the Nisqually Valley News

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is soliciting public comment on a draft statewide recreation and conservation plan.

The plan is designed to help decision-makers prioritize recreational and conservation investments over the next six years, according to a press release. The plan includes four priorities with more than 30 actions to implement them.

“This plan provides the guiding principles that we will use to design grant programs and priorities,” said Megan Duffy, the office’s director. “The plan was based on what people across the state were telling us what was important to them and where more attention needed to be paid. Funding for recreational activities is always limited and we hope this plan will help decision makers make the most strategic investments possible.”

The plan sets four priorities. These include providing meaningful access to outdoor recreation for all, protecting natural and cultural resources while meeting increasing demand, demonstrating the essential nature of parks, natural areas and recreational infrastructure, and supporting healthy, adaptable and connected communities.

The Recreation and Conservation Office developed the plan over an 18-month period with the help of two Planning Advisory Committees represented by state, local and federal land managers and the public. The Office also conducted five public surveys to gather information on the plan’s focus areas and priorities.

The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will consider acceptance of the final plan at its two-day meeting on Jan. 24-25, the release said. The final plan is then sent to the governor’s office for approval before being submitted to the National Park Service. The plan must continue to be funded by the National Park Service through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These funds are passed on to local communities to build parks, trails and other outdoor recreation facilities and to conserve wildlife habitat.

Comments must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 18th. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject “State Recreation and Conservation Plan” or submitted via an online poll at bit.ly/. 3OQn4zt.

The plan is available online at bit.ly/3ieOmTF.