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BOTG Volunteers Help with Walk-In Access Project in Washington
As veteran sportsman know, getting access to places to hunt and fish isn’t what it used to be, but the USA’s Boots on the Ground program is working to remedy the situation. Fifty percent of Washington State is privately owned, and many hunters rely on landowners opening their lands. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has coordinated with more than 600 landowners to open up more than one million acres of private land for sportsmen and women.
That’s a huge step in the right direction, but in order to continue that trend, it’s critical that those private lands and the land owners are treated with respect to encourage continued and additional participation.
After attempting to control access to these private lands in Washington and prevent the unlawful use of ATVs and other off-road vehicles with signs alone, the WDFW concluded that gates would work much better for hunters and landowners alike.
This summer and fall, Boots on the Ground (BOTG) Union volunteers will help speed up the gating process and help the WDFW with manpower and construction expenses by building and installing security gates on roads that are part of the hunter walk-in access program. It’s another example of a great partnership between a state fish and wildlife agency and the USA’s BOTG program.
Members of Union locals within the Washington State Association of UA Plumbers and Pipefitters have agreed to build the gates at their apprenticeship training centers, and members of Laborer’s Local 242 will help install the gates as part of its apprenticeship training program. Randy Scott, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Washington Pipe Trades, is directing the gate construction while Dale Cannon, Business Manager of Laborers Local 242, is organizing the installation.
By volunteering their time and skills, BOTG Union volunteers will help save the WDFW time and money, enabling them to devote more time to securing additional landowners willing to open their land to the activities we all love so much – hunting and fishing!