Washington Wild’s Executive Director Tom Uniack presented at the Washington State Trails Conference at the Wenatchee Convention Center. The hour-long presentation entitled, “Moving Beyond the False Choice of Conservation Versus Recreational Access” questioned the common assumption that we have to choose between advocating for protecting a place and providing access to roads, trails and campgrounds.
Since 2011, WA Wild has made a concerted effort to identify and highlight common ground around preserving and enhancing recreational access to trail and recreational infrastructure while also advocating for conservation and watershed restoration goals. In fact, we have made a point of doing so by highlighting a diverse group of conservation, recreation, wildlife and hunting and fishing organizations as well as local businesses and other diverse stakeholders all on the same sign on letters to land management agencies. This provides one-stop shopping for decision makers like the Forest Service and provides compelling and diverse support for both conservation and access issues. After all, a major reason why Washington Wild works so hard to protect wild places is so people can enjoy them!
The presentation highlighted Washington Wild’s efforts to bring together 18 conservation, recreation organizations supporting a conservation/recreation alternative for the Nooksack Access and Travel Management Plan that would prioritize maintenance for roads providing access to trails and campgrounds while supporting watershed restoration efforts on decaying legacy roads which pose aquatic risks to streams and salmon. Another example was a letter coordinated by Washington Wild that brought together 21 conservation & recreation groups, local businesses and elected officials to support funding for the Whitehorse Trail connecting the communities of Arlington and Darrington.
The presentation was well attended by about 60 mountain bikers, equestrians, winter recreationists, motorized users, public land managers, state and county recreation managers and other trail enthusiasts.
View the PowerPoint presentation here.