(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) The state of Washington owns and maintains a wide variety of fish and wildlife habitat, natural areas, parks, and other recreation lands;
(b) The state of Washington is responsible for managing these lands for the benefit of the citizens, wildlife, and other natural resources of the state;
(c) The state of Washington has recently significantly enhanced its efforts to acquire critical habitat, natural areas, parks, and other recreation lands and to transfer suitable lands from school trust to conservation and park purposes;
(d) Recent unprecedented population growth has greatly increased the threat to the state's fish and wildlife habitat and the demands placed on the lands under (a) of this subsection;
(e) The importance of this habitat and these lands to the state is continuing to increase as more people depend on them to satisfy their needs and more plant and animal species require state-owned lands for their survival;
(f) By itself, public ownership cannot guarantee that resources will be protected, or that appropriate recreational opportunities will be provided;
(g) Only through ongoing, responsible management can fish and wildlife habitat, sensitive ecosystems, and recreational values be protected;
(h) The operation and maintenance funding for state-owned fish and wildlife habitat, natural areas, parks, and other recreation lands has not kept pace with increasing demands placed upon such lands;
(i) Many needed operation and maintenance projects have been deferred due to insufficient funding, resulting in increased costs when the projects are finally undertaken; and
(j) An increase in operation and maintenance funding is necessary to bring state-owned lands and facilities up to acceptable standards and to protect the state's investment in its fish and wildlife habitat, natural areas, parks, and other recreation lands.
(2) Therefore, it is the policy of the state to provide adequate and continuing funding for operation and maintenance needs of state-owned fish and wildlife habitat, natural areas, parks, and other recreation lands to protect the state's investment in such lands, and it is the purpose of this chapter to create a mechanism for doing so.
[1992 c 153 § 2. Formerly RCW 43.98B.005.]