2021 Legislative Day Recap

In Partnership with the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition: Advocating for All WA Recreation & Parks Professionals

A Message from Roxanne Miles, WRPA Legislative Committee Chair

Once again WRPA partnered with the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition to host a Great Outdoors & Parks Legislative Day on February 4, 2021.

102 meetings were scheduled and led by over 150 WRPA-WWRC participants representing cities, park districts, counties, and local non-profits who are well-versed in the need for, and value of, our state’s outdoor recreation assets and industry.

Legislative Day meetings were virtual;  a pre-event training occurred to help coordinate and maximize our time with legislators using an on-line forum. Groups of three to four people were really effective for dialogue for the 15-minute calls.

While our day was structured differently, most attendees felt going virtual resulted in more participation from Eastern Washington, more focused facilitated discussion, and better universal use of our talking points and on-line tools. The responsiveness of legislators was encouraging and attendees were well- prepared to talk about how outdoor recreation and natural resources play a huge role in recovery, equity, and COVID-response — priorities of the 2021 session.

There was also a strong sense that many of the new legislators were outdoor recreation enthusiasts who rely on our park systems for their own quality of life and who stand ready to focus investments ‘our way’ because of the value we offer to local communities and our contributions to the tourism economy. The most common concern was competition for capital funds. However, each legislator was responsive to discussions on how the WWRP program has supported past and current projects in their district.

The post-event debrief showed positive support for virtual meetings in the future, even though there was a sense that on-going follow-up was needed to make up for the loss of the ‘passing in the hall’ where many felt the real influence occurred. Overall WRPA members were able to share our state-wide agenda as well as projects of local interest. RCO grant funding, special projects such as funding for a trails database,  Park Rx, and our Local Options Funding Bill got good air time. Many great conversations were started and collaboration between partners on various issues remains strong!


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