The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission unanimously passed their 25-Year Strategic Plan at their last meeting. This is the document that will be used to justify all their actions going forward.

Notably absent in the 26-page plan was recognizing the value of working landscapes now and in the future. These are the lands that sustain most of the wildlife in the state, providing open space and habitat — lands vital for maintaining wildlife going forward.

They also need to provide a living for farmers and ranchers that support local communities. WDFW evidently didn’t see the importance of including working lands or addressing the impacts of wildlife on landowners.

Not a paragraph. Not a sentence.

WDFW developed the plan by invitation only. The 21 groups that were invited included 16 environmental/conservation groups and zero groups representing working lands.

For public comment, WDFW reported an “adequate” job of outreach resulting in a “decent” response from rural Washington.

The commission also continued the rule-making process to effectively end grazing on WDFW land using the Strategic Plan as part of the justification. Public comment was taken for three weeks in September when there were record fires.

This is an agency that seems to be looking for new ways to create conflict. Leaving key stakeholders out of an important process doesn’t foster public support. If WDFW had any respect for rural Washington, maybe they’d be invited to the table to develop a generational plan. Maybe WDFW wouldn’t treat working lands and the families who depend on them as nothing more than a vending machine for the wildlife they peddle. Maybe WDFW wouldn’t jam plans through in the middle of a pandemic or would notice that it’s hard to participate when your community is on fire.

Is that too much to ask?

Dave Hedrick

Kettle Falls, Wash.

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