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The jury is out…Washingtonians love wildlife!

Posted by Katie Carroll at Aug 28, 2013 11:55 AM |

A report published for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife called “Understanding People and Places,”covers a variety of survey questions including everything from how often people recreate outdoors to how much they value salmon. The WDFW hopes that the report will help guide their future management and outreach strategies throughout the state.

The jury is out…Washingtonians love wildlife!

We like wildlife and wild places! A survey from WDFW finds Washington is very much dedicated to protecting and connecting. Just like Conservation Northwest. Photo: Erin Moore

A report published for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife outlines a study conducted to determine the attitudes and beliefs of Washington residents as they relate to wildlife and outdoor places.

Titled “Understanding People and Places,” the report covers a variety of survey questions including everything from how often people recreate outdoors to how much they value salmon. The WDFW hopes that the report will help guide their future management and outreach strategies throughout the state. 

Reading through the study was both exciting and encouraging for me. As someone that moved to Washington for its reputation as an environmentally conscious state, I’m happy to see that it holds up to its reputation. Of the thousands of residents polled from every county, the study found that 94% of Washingtonians found nature to be inviting and accessible, and 88% of those people also found it to be in need of protection. 81% of Washingtonians polled also said they regularly spend time outdoors.

88% say nature needs of protection
81% regularly spend time outdoors
86% value wildlife near their homes
91% want more salmon recovery
75% support wolf recovery

I’m studying environmental policy at a time when issues like climate change (most residents surveyed agreed they could already see the impacts), overpopulation, and habitat destruction (to name just a few) loom overhead constantly. The problems are so daunting and numerous that sometimes it feels like I may never have a career filled with accomplishments. Small but outspoken groups have sometimes dominated the conversation, making it seem like the public is not as supportive as studies show they are for environmental successes like the return of wolves.

This report, however, not only reinforces what the majority of Washingtonians feel, but is also one of those things that reminds me why I’m doing this.

86% of residents polled value having wildlife near their home, even though it sometimes proves to be a nuisance. Several people surveyed even mentioned that they don’t mind the inconveniences sometimes brought about by wildlife, noting that it is in part due to our choice to inhabit less developed places. With numbers like 75% of residents supporting the return of wolves (more info on wolf support), and 91% wanting to see a continuation of salmon recovery efforts, I see hope.

The study also found that Washingtonians would be most willing to pay for the recovery of endangered species, something that makes up the majority of our work here at Conservation Northwest. So even though I have days where I doubt the path I’ve chosen, I’m more often than not reminded of how important this work is. Not only for the animals and the ecosystems organizations like this protect and connect, but for the majority of people who appreciate and enjoy them.

So thank you, Washington, for reminding me why I decided to come to this great state.

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