The self-styled reformists of the WDFW don’t want you to know what they’re up to this week.
After creating a website for a two-day “Washington Fish & Wildlife Management Reform Convention” today and tomorrow on Vashon Island – outlining what it was all about, agenda, accommodations, meal plans, social activities and more – organizers at the Washington Wildlife Coalition abruptly deleted all information overnight.
The site started to morph yesterday as I started browsing it, the calendar disappearing first.
Since posting my convention story on Tuesday afternoon, all that’s left now is a brief message to email to the organizers and a photo of a velvet deer looking over his shoulder.
Fortunately, someone in our community was quick enough to save a copy of the site and send me a PDF of it to help my memory.
Guess the turnaround is fair game for those who capture the words of some to use against all of us.
And are happy to shed light on WDFW’s perceived weaknesses but now apparently want to protect their own machinations.
The convention is hosted by some of the most anti-WDFW and Fish and Wildlife Commission organizations in the state and nation.
The coalition includes Wild Fish Conservancy, The Conservation Angler, Center For Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the United States, Northwest Animal Rights Network, Washington Wildlife First, and more.
Oh, they’ll tell you they’re not specifically anti-fishing or anti-hunting, but their actions may speak otherwise. They are not friends of the athletes, of the WDFW or of the commission.
I can’t tell you how many fuss I’ve made over the years about WFC hatchery lawsuits that resulted in lower fish production and discards, CBD and others trampling the governor because they failed to work their way through the justice system or with the commission on a predatory matter, or that reform effort that became much more apparent in early 2021.
The stated purpose of this week’s event is to “bring together fish and wildlife advocates from across the state to discuss a path toward transforming Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife into a agency who favors conservation over consumptionemphasizes the intrinsic value of individual animals and healthy ecosystems, and represents the values of all state residents.
The focus is on me, and you can draw your own conclusions.
I would already say conservation still trumps consumption just so we can go fishing and hunting next season, but in a Facebook post, Duane Inglin of Fish Hunt Northwest said, “What they really mean is preservation rather that consumption… Do not kill or harvest anything, just observe wild animals in their habitat.
The first day of the convention – this afternoon and tonight – focuses on “The Problem,” with insights into “Why the WDFW Needs Reform,” “A View From Inside and “View of Legislature Q&A.”
Day two – tomorrow – will focus on “The Solution” and will feature breakout sessions on “Diversifying the Department, Commission and Advocacy Groups”, “Engaging the General Public in Fish and Wildlife”, ” Changing the Department of the Interior,” “Finding the Right Commissioners,” and more, before holding a wrap-up discussion centered on “Developing a Platform for Change.”
Ultimately, it’s another step towards decoupling WDFW and the commission from their traditional strongest supporters – you.
And furthermore, holding this convention involves a much more well-organized effort that hunters, anglers, and true conservation organizations in Washington should be aware of.
Certainly securing the facility – Camp Fire’s Camp Sealth on the banks of Colvos Passage – for an overnight stay must have cost a pretty penny.
When my wife and I send our eldest to this camp for a week in the summer, it costs us about $700. Before the aforementioned website was taken down, the event was listed as free, with a suggested donation of $50. Who knows how many organizations sent staff to the convention, although Sound Action posted a photo from there this afternoon.
Who paid for it all?
The reason I’m worried about this and talking about it two days in a row is this.
With the terms of three current commissioners — including two pro-anglers and certified hunters — at the end of this year and my Vegas chances of being reappointed with like-minded damn thin folks, things are about to get serious.
I returned my tinfoil hat years ago and it seems to me that with the pieces now in place in the governor’s office, a major takeover of fisheries and State wildlife might be in sight, so I’ll be blunt:
WDFW and the commission may have driven you absolutely crazy with some of their moves over the years and decades, but that’s nothing compared to what could happen if this “reform” effort succeeds.
It’s time to get involved.