The White House conference was part of the president’s Great Outdoors Initiative, announced last year to expand recreational opportunities on public lands. Obama told the group that having to choose between environmental protection and growing the economy is a “false choice.”
Conservation groups have voiced concerns that this Congress is unfriendly to the environment, with continued pushes to roll back protections for public land, clean air and water. However, Enzer points out that the same lawmakers also voted to fully fund the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, for its combination of forest-health benefits and jobs.
“And that means that here in the Pacific Northwest, we now have three projects in Oregon and two projects in Washington. So, this is really exciting; even Congress is seeing that there are certain programs and certain approaches, that there is common ground around that.”
Those grants were announced last month, although Enzer notes that it’s hard to depend from year to year on federal funding. She says that with local collaborations, there are more potential funding sources as well as greater interest in the outcome.
The RVCC’s 11th Annual Policy Meeting starts today at 1:00 p.m. at the Heathman Lodge, 7801 N.E. Greenwood, Vancouver, Wash., and runs through Thursday, March 8.
Information is at www.sustainablenorthwest.org.
– Chris Thomas