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May 22, 2014

Recreational-use survey for Washington coast launches

We launched a survey this week to document the recreational use of Washington’s coast, which will help determine its value to the state’s economy.

The survey aims to collect data for numerous non-consumptive uses by the public including diving, kayaking, surfing, birding, and camping. Though technically consumptive, clamming will also be included in the survey as it’s a signature use on Washington beaches.  To assist with future planning of Washington’s coast, the study is needed to document where and how the public recreate from Ilwaco to the Port Angeles.
Randy Kline, Environmental Program Manager for Washington State Parks is looking forward to using this information. “The Washington State Parks staff are excited about the opportunity for additional data to help us understand the public’s use of the coast,” says Randy. “We will use this data to provide better recreation experiences for park-goers.”
The survey will document the growing importance of tourism to the Washington coastal economy and increasing opportunities for non-consumptive recreation. “The Washington coast is an extraordinary place that offers significant recreational and economic opportunities,” says Casey Dennehy, Washington Coastal Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “While there is data regarding traditional industries on the Washington coast, there is very little about the recreation economy.” 
The survey, funded by the Washington State Department of Natural resources and private foundations, is part of a larger coastal planning effort called Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) that will inform policy, decision making, and management of our ocean resources.  The survey is one of  several other projects supported by the state under MSP, many of which have already gathered data on physical oceanography, marine life, shipping, fishing, ecological resources, and economics.  This information has been incorporated into a data viewer that is available to the public at msp.wa.gov.
According to Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Lead at the Washington Department of Ecology, “This survey will provide much better data on which areas of our coast are most important for different users and how those uses influence the local economy. This new data will help us understand and address recreational interests in developing a marine spatial plan for Washington’s coast.” 
If you are a coastal recreator, please take the survey at: http://surfrider.org/washington-survey/ 

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