By Wayne Kruse
The 75th anniversary of the state’s first wildlife area will be celebrated June 7, kicking off a summer-long series of public events sponsored by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in Okanogan County.
The Sinlahekin, which covers 14,300 acres west of Highway 97 between Loomis and Conconully, was established in 1939 to protect winter range for mule deer. The first parcels were purchased with revenue from a federal tax on sporting arms and ammunition, the state’s first use of what are now known as Pittman-Robertson funds.
“The Sinlahekin was the first of 33 wildlife areas scattered across the state,” Department of Fish and Wildlife director Phil Anderson said. “Each area conserves lands that are critically important for sustaining wildlife and ensuring sustainable recreational opportunities for Washington residents. The Pittman-Robertson law enables hunters to make major contributions to these efforts.”