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September 08, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

Fish and Wildlife Commission lends support to Teaming With Wildlife effort

OLYMPIA -- A national proposal to fund wildlife education, outdoor recreation and conservation programs through a new excise tax on outdoor equipment has won the support of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The commission has voted to endorse the national Teaming With Wildlife campaign, which proposes federal legislation to create a new dedicated trust fund for state-level wildlife programs.

"The Teaming With Wildlife program is an investment in the future," said Lisa Pelly, chair of the commission. "People who enjoy the out-of-doors can make that investment by simply doing what they enjoy."

If passed by Congress, the TWW legislation would create a funding source similar to the Pittman-Robertson and Wallop-Breaux programs which fund traditional game fish and wildlife management programs through excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment. The TWW proposal calls for imposing a surcharge on the purchase of outdoor recreation equipment such as bird-feeding equipment, backpacks, tents and binoculars to generate some $350 million for recreation, education and conservation programs. Washington's annual share of the revenue is projected to be up to $10 million. The funds would be used to build trails and wildlife viewing facilities for outdoor enthusiasts, fund habitat protection and restoration efforts and develop interpretive signs and wildlife education materials.

In voting to endorse the Teaming With Wildlife proposal, the state commission lends its voice to a coalition of over 2,000 conservation and recreation organizations nationwide which support the measure. A recently formed state coalition for Teaming With Wildlife has attracted the support of nearly 40 state conservation and recreation groups and related businesses.