This week I sponsored two bills aimed at increasing access to public lands. Both will receive public hearings next week and I encourage you to testify on the bills if you are able.
- Senate Bill 5057
- Requires non-governmental organizations acquiring land from state government or with state funds to maintain public access to the property.
- Public hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee at 1:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
- Senate Bill 5080
- Adds lands owned by the Department of Natural Resources to those accessible with a vehicle access pass, which is provided to people who purchase certain hunting, fishing and trapping licenses (currently only Department of Fish & Wildlife lands are accessible with the pass).
- Public hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee at 1:30 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Our public lands and facilities are truly a gem of our region. But the fact is future generations won’t know to protect them if they’re never built or if people don’t have access to them. We need to take steps to ensure that everyone understands the value of our public investments.
State lands are currently being closed off not due to budget constraints, but rather because of policy decisions. Instead of putting up barriers to recreating on public lands, whenever possible we should be encouraging people to enjoy them.
Again, I encourage you to participate in the hearings by testifying in person, or to watch them on www.tvw.org. If you have questions about the process of testifying on a bill, please contact my office at (360) 786-7682.