Local, state and national hunting and fishing organizations have banded together to form the Washington Fish and Wildlife Conservation Partnership, which describes itself as “dedicated to protecting the state’s hunting, fishing and trapping heritage through science-based fish and wildlife management.”
The new group says it came out of the cancellation of this year’s spring bear hunt by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and “the need to have a formal, ongoing coalition that could work together to protect the state’s outdoor heritage, including recent efforts by anti-hunting interests to undermine the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and American System of Conservation Funding.”
It follows on the recent formation of Washington Wildlife Coalition by a number of animal-rights and environmental organizations.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Conservation Partnership says that even in this early stage, almost 20 national, Washington and local orgs have joined the cause, including Sportsmen’s Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, HOWL for Wildlife, SCI, Inland NW Wildlife Council, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation, Washington State Archery Association, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, NWTF, TRCP, Northwest Steelheaders, and Puget Sound Anglers.
The coalition is being co-chaired by CSF’s Keely Hopkins and INWC’s Marie Neumiller.
WFWCP says that among its focuses is commission appointments. The last five named to the citizen panel have tipped the proverbial boat and sportsmen’s groups have said they were not consulted on nominees.
One of WFWCP’s first acts so far has been to send a letter to Governor Jay Inslee in support of reupping Spokane birder Kim Thorburn’s appointment. She is a strong supporter of hunting and fishing but her term expires at the end of this year.
So does that of commissioner Don McIsaac, another fishing and hunting supporter, making this a precarious time for sportsman representation on the citizen panel that sets WDFW policies and hires and fires its director.
“The coalition is also organizing in response to recent efforts by anti-hunting interests to reform WDFW in an attempt to undermine the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the critical funding provided by hunters and anglers under the American System of Conservation Funding,” a WFWCP press release states.
That’s a reference to the Washington Wildlife Coalition, consisting of the Wild Fish Conservancy, The Conservation Angler, Center For Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the United States and Washington Wildlife First, among others, which are looking to reform WDFW and the commission and which held a convention last week on Vashon Island, deleting the event’s agenda and other details as it drew attention.
The pro-fishing and -hunting group says it will be active in Olympia, focusing on a number of “key policy areas.”