Washington congresswoman asks feds to reopen wildlife refuges

Washington Wildlife

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state congresswoman says the federal government should reopen national wildlife refuges to the public.

The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver reports that Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Robyn Thorson. She argued that access to federal reserves can boost physical and emotional health.

Herrera Beutler also noted that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered that state-run lands reopen for hunting, fishing and other uses Tuesday. Inslee said he expects visitors to remain vigilant with social-distancing protocols and stay at least 6 feet away from anyone they don’t live with.

“The decision to close or restrict public access points on federal land was made in close proximity to state closures in March; consequently, I urge you to take all necessary actions to responsibly reopen federal land without unnecessary delay,” Herrera Beutler wrote.

The Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service covers 67 national wildlife refuges across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii.