The Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been recognized by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Region 2 as the 2022 Organization of the Year. The award was the result of years of collaboration in central Washington with the department and volunteers from BHA to improve wildlife habitat in the region. Washington chapter volunteers have annually gathered in the summer and spring to remove old fencing in critical mule deer habitat around the Methow Valley. Most recently in 2022 as part of the fence pull, chapter volunteers engaged in the delicate removal of barbed wire fencing located precariously close to nesting sandhill cranes, a rarity in Washington state. To date, miles of fencing has been removed in the central Washington region by BHA volunteers, improving habitat and migration corridors. This ongoing project and our relationship with WDFW staff in region has been led by Chapter co-chair Carmen Vanbianchi, and the Washington board is grateful for her commitment and leadership.
Receiving this award in 2022 was particularly poignant, as it was the first time WDFW Region 2 staff had gathered en masse since the COVID pandemic limited such gatherings in 2020. In the presence of staff, enforcement officers, department leadership and WDFW Commissioner Linville, the Washington chapter received the award and conveyed their gratitude to the department for the challenging work and perseverance they continue to display for Washington’s wildlife and public lands. We are humbled to receive the award on behalf of all the Washington BHA members and express our gratitude to the volunteers who have donated their time, treasure and talent in central Washington through the chapter.