State’s capital budget should fund parks, public lands projects

In Western Washington, from Possession Point to Deception Pass, natural beauty surrounds us for all to enjoy. Outdoor opportunities are important for our general wellbeing; even more so after a year of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

For thousands of Audubon members here, it’s enjoyment of birds that gets us outside. The community-building and mental health benefits are clear; there’s a good reason so many people took up bird-watching in the past year.

To protect these recreation opportunities into the future, I hope our state Legislature will protect ongoing conservation efforts in this year’s capital budget. These projects not only protect the planet and all its inhabitants, but also contribute to our economic vitality. State investments in outdoor recreation and habitat protection support $26.5 billion in annual expenditures and roughly 264,000 jobs (Earth Economics).

2022’s capital budget offers an excellent opportunity to invest in important conservation projects in our area: acquiring the Nyberg property, for instance, will add over 80 acres to Deception Pass, Washington’s most heavily visited state park.

Capital budget dollars also go toward critically needed habitat recovery around Puget Sound, which is essential to populations of birds and other wildlife. These recovery efforts include the Swinomish Channel Tidal Marsh and Port Susan Bay restoration projects, and the Polnell and Hoypus Point armor removal projects.

We members of Skagit Audubon Society encourage our legislators to pass a budget that supports clean air, clean water, and abundant wildlife.

Tim Manns

Mount Vernon

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