The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is holding a public fundraiser in Centralia next week as it battles Governor Jay Inslee and trends on the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Food, beverages, auctions and more will be on tap to help the national organization “in protecting hunting and sound wildlife management in Washington state.”
“The hunters and anglers of Washington state are suffering under a political regime determined to end opportunities and destroy the great outdoor heritage of the state,” said Brian Lynn, the Spokane-based vice president of marketing and communications for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “I was born and raised in Washington and what Governor Inslee has done to wildlife management is appalling – and Attorney General Bob Ferguson is enforcing it every step of the way.”
The foundation filed a lawsuit last March against Commissioner Lorna Smith – one of eight direction-altering members Inslee has appointed or reappointed the past three years and who was defended on taxpayers’ dime – for holding two appointive positions at once, one on the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the other on the Jefferson County Planning Commission. That’s “incompatible” according to state statute, says the organization, and a Superior Court judge agreed and told Smith to resign from the county post to remedy the situation, but the AG’s office recently said it will appeal the ruling to a higher court.
“Our case against Commissioner Smith is just one example of the political gamesmanship and violation of policy and law that the WDFW commission thinks is SOP,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs at Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We’re looking to right these wrongs and put wildlife management back in the hands of the state’s well-trained wildlife biologists – where it belongs.”
Illustrative of that, the commission’s recent vote to begin the process of potentially repealing 2019 and 2020 cougar and bear hunting rules went against the recommendation from WDFW managers, and it drew a strong rebuke from the Capital Press for “ignoring” its own expert state biologists in favor of a “a small and vocal group of environmental” orgs.
Commissioners will tell you that they’re not out to end hunting or are anti-hunting, but the citizen panel overseeing WDFW policies and which hires and fires its director is also on the brink of adopting a controversialnewConservationPolicy that deeply worries state hunters and tribalinterests. Comment on it runs through January 12.
Back in Centralia, the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s Lynn says African safaris, an Argentinian dove hunt, a salmon fishing outing with ESPN 710’s Tom Nelson and Joey Pyburn, two compound bow setups, guided duck and turkey hunts, and more will be up for auction, “with all proceeds supporting the protection of hunting and wildlife management in Washington state.”
The fundraiser is Thursday, January 11, in the Blue Pavilion at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, just east of I-5 between Exits 79 and 81. Doors swing open at 5 p.m.