Today I purchased my Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Recreational Use Permit so I can go birding this coming weekend.
The permit is $14 and is valid for an entire year. I’ve never had to get one before. So at first I was a little confused. Why should I have to pay to go birding in certain areas? After researching it and thinking about it, I really understood the purpose behind it.
From the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Though Washington is the smallest of the 11 western states, it is the second highest in human population density. This translates into a lot of recreationists wanting increased access to outdoor recreation, especially water access. While Department of Fish and Wildlife sites were developed to support hunting and fishing, new use (jet skiing, picnicking, kayaking, bird watching, hiking, etc.) is increasing. These new users do not financially support access maintenance, yet the maintenance burden increases.
As use has increased, so has the routine maintenance burden. Access sites are also targets for illegal dumping and vandalism. The law specifies that revenue be spent on addressing all maintenance needs on statewide Department access area sites.
This makes complete sense to me. I definitely don’t mind paying a few bucks to support organizations that take care of the land and wildlife I get to enjoy!