The L.T. Murray Wildlife Area is one of the 33 wildlife areas owned or managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). All of the state's wildlife areas are guided by a Wildlife Area Management Plan. Over the next 10 years, the plans are being re-written to reflect current conditions and updated objectives to support the agency's mission: To preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.
The L.T. Murray Wildlife Area plan will be developed in 2020 with input from the Wildlife Area Advisory Committee (WAAC), as well as the public and interested stakeholders.
The L.T. Murray Wildlife Area is comprised of five individual wildlife units: the L.T. Murray, Quilomene, Whiskey Dick, Teanaway Valley, and Yakima River units. Together, the entire L.T. Murray complex covers roughly 119,000 acres, with approximately 30,000 acres of DNR, BLM, and USFS lands interspersed throughout in a checkerboard pattern.
The first parcels of the complex were acquired in 1962 when WDFW (then the Department of Game) purchased 11,180 acres of rangeland along the Quilomene drainage. Subsequent purchases included 17,027 acres in the Whiskey Dick area in 1966, and 343 acres in the Quilomene in 1974. The L.T. Murray Unit was purchased in 1968 from rancher/logger Lowell T. Murray, and is dedicated in his name. The property protects critical winter range for deer and elk, as well as providing and protecting upland game bird habitat. Between 2004 and 2007, WDFW acquired the 17,382-acre Skookumchuck parcel, which is managed as part of the Quilomene unit. The property was acquired to provide connectivity between the Whiskey Dick and Quilomene Wildlife Areas, in addition to protecting sage-grouse habitat, critical elk wintering habitat, and endangered steelhead fisheries. In 2015 another acquisition added approximately 5,000 acres to the L.T. Murray in the Gnat Flat area. The most recent acquisition in 2017 is the 215 acres Teanaway Valley Unit
Wildlife Area Advisory Committee (WAAC) Membership
WAAC members represent a range of interested stakeholder groups, tribes, and recreationalists who may be impacted by, or have an interest in, management activities on the wildlife areas. WAAC members:
- Represent a group or organization interested in wildlife area planning and management issues.
- Are committed to sharing information and bringing to the committee feedback from their respective constituencies.
- Are interested and committed to working collaboratively, respecting others opinions.
- Understand, and are comfortable with, the role of serving in an advisory capacity.
WAAC Role & Responsibilities
The role of the WAAC is to provide input and perspective in WDFW wildlife area planning and management activities.
- Review information, discuss issues with other committee members, and provide constructive input on management activities.
- Participate in the development of wildlife area plans and updates.
- Serve as spokespersons for respective interest groups, reporting back to agency staff and the committee about the interests and concerns of the larger stakeholder group.
- Identify an alternate who will serve if the primary representative is unable to participate. (Continuity is especially important as there will be a limited number of meetings and each meeting will build on the material covered at previous meetings).
- Accept input from a variety of user groups on resource issues.
- Act as a sounding board for wildlife area planning and management activities.
- Identify key issues of concern.
- Provide input on how the WAAC could be more efficient and effective.
- Be able to communicate about agency goals and wildlife area activities outside WAAC meetings.
- Act in an advisory capacity, providing input and guidance to agency staff.
- The agency's role is to use this information, when appropriate, to make sound and informed decisions. WAACs are not decision makers. They are not required to reach consensus or necessarily agree with agency decisions.