Following heavy opposition by the Washington chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, other sportsmen interests and conservation groups within the state, the Washington House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee removed provisions within a bill, S.B. 6140, that would have opened the door to transferring state forests to county and private management.
Beginning as a modest bill addressing tideland management, S.B. 6140 took a surprising turn once Washington Sen. Kevin Van De Wege amended language pushing the Department of Natural Resources to explore “any alternative management focus, such as returning the lands to the counties for their management, leasing the lands to private timber investment management organizations, and transition of lands into higher revenue producing assets.”
Immediately, BHA Washington submitted a letter to state legislators and House leaders opposing these provisions.
We are pleased to see that our voice had been heard. Following an onslaught of calls and emails from members of the public, lawmakers struck this language from the bill.
BHA would like to thank all of our engaged members, partners and other state-based conservation groups that are uniting to keep our public lands public.