Governor's Budget Meeting
Clark College - Gaiser Hall - Vancouver, WA
July 27, 2010
PNW4WDA Region 3 Washington Land Matters Chair - Kira Dominiak
Speaking to Governor Gregoire and the Blue Ribbon Panel in support of recreation on State Lands and requesting the return of the $9.6 million NOVA funds.
Following is the transcription of Kira's speech:
Thank you Governor and Committee Members,
My name is Kira Dominiak and as a motorized recreationalist and enthusiast, I feel that the recreation budget needs to be in place and available for it’s intended purposes.
To answer a couple of your fiscal responsibility questions; Is the activity an essential service? YES. Sanctioned motorized use is essential to the patrolling and protecting of our natural resources - along with volunteerism in restoring and protecting our resources. Does the activity need state funding? And should users pay a portion of the costs? YES and YES. I believe that the state should provide grant funding for the recreation staff and education and enforcement. A user fee or permitting fee is also good way to provide funding for recreation projects.
The NOVA funding needs to be re-addressed and transferred back to the proper places that were set forth by Governor Locke in 2004.
With out the NOVA funding in place, it hinders the recreation services, like the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to do their jobs of protecting and maintaining the public lands for their intended uses. Grant funding helps to educate and enforce the public and other user groups, motorized and non-motorized, about open areas and areas that offer the recreation that they are interested in. These funds also help to maintain the facilities, trail heads, trails, and camping areas.
There are thousands of volunteer hours every year that have been logged to help the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) achieve grant funding to continue to maintain as best as possible. The lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources are used by an estimated 11 million people.
These NOVA funds were set in place in 1973 to finance motorized and non-motorized recreation facilities. It is one of Washington State’s largest direct sources of trail funding.
So, as you look at your budget for 2011-2013, please reconsider your last transfer of the $9.6 million of NOVA funding back to its appropriate agencies.
As Peter Goldmark has indicated, “Whether you are talking about recreation, clean water, or revenue for our schools, public lands provide wonderful benefits for all Washingtonians.”
We all love outdoor recreation and would hate to see further resource depletion happen due to further budget cuts.
Attending this meeting: Kira Dominiak, Ryan Wells, Joey Verpoorten, Crystal Crowder, Darien Dominiak and friend Cody. We also saw Earl and Paula Freimuth in attendance. There may have been other motorized supporters in attendance but the auditorium was packed wall-to-wall and it was hard to see everyone. My apologies if I missed you.
This excursion started off with a curve ball - we went to the WSU Administration Building in Salmon Creek (where the meeting was supposed to be). There was a sign on the door indicating that the meeting had been moved to Clark Collge (a 15+ minute drive). Even though we were over 30 minutes early to WSU (to ensure an opportunity to speak) - the location change dropped us in right at 7:00pm.
Both Kira Dominiak and Ryan Wells signed up to speak but the gentleman running the meeting indicated that only one representative from each group would be invited to speak. Everyone in the room was very respectful of all of the speakers with ongoing loud cheers and applause going to support the speakers who were championing their cause.
Kira's speech focused on the need to support the Department of Natural Resources and the return of the NOVA funds - the two main issues that we believe require the most attention. Kira did not waste her precious two minutes gaining clout for the groups she represents, but rather went right to work defending recreation on State Lands for all Washingtonians and visitors who recreate in Washington. Her plea was on behalf of ALL outdoor enthusiasts, regardless of their recreation of choice. The panel is obligated to respond to issues that effect the majority of the people - absolutely EVERYONE befefits from State Lands.
We strongly feel that this approach had the most potential to get the attention of the Governor and the Blue Ribbon panel and from the looks on their faces as Kira spoke and the amount of notes that they took while she was speaking - we are confident that our message was received. After the meeting, the Washington Trails Association representative (whom we know from DNR meetings) congratulated Kira on a job well done. He felt that he could leave the meeting knowing that his interests had also been well represented...
Thank you Kira for taking the time out of your life to represent our interests and thank you also to Ryan for being in the bull pen - ready to swing if called upon - your efforts are greatly appreciated.