A 376-page bill that would merge WDFW and State Parks has been introduced in Olympia.
SB 5669, sponsored by Senators Ranker, Swecker, Regala, Rockefeller, Nelson, White, and Pflug at the request of Governor Christine Gregoire, would create a Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Gregoire proposed the merger back in mid-December.
A cabinet-level department, DCR’s overall director would be appointed by the governor, and the Fish & Wildlife Commission would be renamed the Fish & Wildlife Advisory Commission, under the bill.
It defines DCR’s mission as:
(a) Preserve, protect, and perpetuate the fish and wildlife resources for the benefit of the state’s citizens;
(b) Wisely manage our state parks and trail systems, promote outdoor recreation education and safety, and protect our cultural, historical, and natural sites; and
(c) Be good stewards of public funds that perpetuate healthy ecosystems and open spaces, restore habitat important to our fish and wildlife, and support outdoor recreation and recreational places and facilities.
It would structure the department so as to “maintain at least two distinct areas of focus: One for fish and wildlife management and one for parks and recreation management.”
The bill was referred to the Natural Resources & Marine Waters where a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.