Public Comments at May 5, 2020 Board of Natural Resources Meeting

Beverly Parsons made the following the statement (with minor editorial changes) at the May 5, 2020 meeting of the Board of Natural Resources (BNR) which oversees the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

I’m Beverly Parsons from Hansville, WA and president of the Kitsap Environmental Coalition.  I’m here today to call on BNR to step up to its responsibility as stated on your website to “set policies to guide how DNR manages our state’s lands and resources”. The practices we have seen in attending BNR meetings do not seem to us to be setting policy. The actions we see here are more like BNR is playing a monopoly game with trust lands sales and exchanges while the DNR is outside playing a team-sport game with only a defensive team.  We call on you to change the rules of the game—the policies— and the structure of your team to also have offensive players.  From our vantage point, the two missing offensive players are the forests themselves and the public.

1. Regarding the forests: The DNR focus is on climate resilience. DNR is playing defense. We encourage you to give the forests the role of playing offense through, for example, their potential for far greater carbon sequestration, a role that is largely being ignored. The Washington Environmental Council has provided strong options for you to consider. Please listen to them.

2. Regarding the public: Currently the public is put in the role of being spectators to a game where they are largely excluded and/or ignored. If members of the public are allowed to play different roles, they can be a critical part of your offensive team. They can help ensure that forests and public lands both support health for people and planet as well as provide financial returns. As you stand up to your responsibility to set policy that is for the well being of this state, we stand ready to help make changes to build the public role as part of the offensive team.

We urge you to recognize the differences in conditions and complexities today versus 60 years ago when the basic approach to DNR policy was established. The people who developed those policies are most likely not even alive today so you won’t offend them by seeing that we live in a different world today and we have a future in front of us that they could scarcely imagine.

Again, we stand ready to discuss these matters when you are ready to engage with us

-Beverly Parsons