Take action (again) to conserve important state public lands
Conservation Northwest / Mar 09, 2021 / State Forest Lands
WILD NW Action Alert #316: Contact your lawmakers and ask for their continued support for funding the Trust Land Transfer program.
Since 1989, the State of Washington has spent more than $800 million to protect about 128,000 acres of state public lands for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and other public benefits through a process called Trust Land Transfer (TLT).
Thank you to all who took action for this program back in January! With a difficult budget year ahead, help us make sure state senators and representatives hear their constituents’ support for the TLT program loud and clear. Please contact your lawmakers today!
The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages nearly two million acres belonging to the Common School Trust, which are logged to help fund school construction. TLT was established to use Capital Budget dollars to buy and permanently protect some of these areas that are more valuable, pristine, and provide important benefits to the public. Popular areas such areas as Tiger Mountain, Blanchard Mountain, Cypress Island, Lummi Peak, Chopaka Lake, and many more were all established through TLT.
TLT is the only tool DNR has to protect places with high value for protected species and beneficial features for Washingtonians, but funding has declined since before the 2008 recession, putting at risk vital natural areas with strong public support. The DNR, which recommended this program continue in its 2021 report, recently identified ten worthy candidates for TLT. In this letter from last fall, conservation leaders highlighted two of those ten: Devils Lake (Dabob Bay) and Morning Star (near Sultan), but the cases are also strong for Blakely Island and Eglon (near Kingston).
By including at least $21.5 million in the Capital Budget for TLT, state legislators will fund the program and protect these four special places on our public lands. As the pandemic exposes massive demand for outdoor recreation, access to natural places is increasingly important. This funding will go a long way in providing invaluable contributions to public health and local economies, as well as wildlife and clean water.
Suggested letter to state legislators:
As your constituent and a user of our state public lands, I am writing to request that you include at least $21.5 million in the Capital Budget Bill to fund the Trust Land Transfer program (TLT). Though a difficult budget year is ahead, I urge you to fund the TLT and keep this vital program alive.
Some of Washington’s most cherished crown jewels were established through Trust Land Transfers, including Tiger Mountain, Cypress Island, Lummi Peak, Chopaka Lake, Elsworth Island, Blanchard Mountain and Dabob Bay. The massive demand for outdoor recreation during the pandemic has outstripped access, which makes these areas and future opportunities to conserve additional areas an invaluable contribution to not only wildlife and clean water, but public health and local economies, too.
Please include at least $21.5 million in the Capital Budget Bill to maintain the TLT, as well as protect all four of these very worthy areas: Devils Lake, Morning Star, Blakely Island and Eglon.
The TLT is the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ only tool that can conserve lands with protected species and beneficial features for Washingtonians. Through this program, we can protect places Washingtonians like myself love while providing revenues to the school trusts. This win-win is worth fighting for today and reinventing as needed tomorrow.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION! LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TRUST LAND TRANSFER PROGRAM IN THIS LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO GOVERNOR INSLEE, OR THIS RECENT OP-ED IN THE SEATTLE TIMES.