OUTLANDER serves as a weekly round up of Inland Northwest outdoor recreation and natural resources news. This feature will highlight a wide variety of issues and events, ranging from camping tips to national environmental disputes. We’ll also try to include some scenic photos. Feel free to pass along suggestions or curiosities celebrating the Great Outdoors.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee outlined an ambitious plan for cutting greenhouse gases this week, proposing a Carbon Pollution Accountability Act — a billion-dollar cap-and-trade program tied to transportation. (Grist/Seattle Times)
University of Washington tool lets you calculate your potential carbon tax charges. (UW)
Wildlife officials confirm wolves have killed at least one sheep belonging to a Whitman County commissioner. (NW Sportsman)
Meanwhile, Washington range rider program finishes another season with no livestock lost to depredation. (Conservation Northwest)
Palouse Falls, other Northwest waterfalls featured in travel guide. (Conde Nast)
GAO report says Hanford Nuclear Reservation tanks continue to deteriorate. (AP)
But those other facilities involved in the Manhattan Project may be made into national parks. (CNN)
Speaking of, enjoy the largest expansion of national parks and wilderness areas in 40 years passes as part of defense bill. (CNN)
Conservation group calls for reintroduction of grizzly bears to Selway-Bitterroot mountains. (AP)
Fish poaching in Grant County results in minimal consequences. (S-R)
Hiking the new Dishman Hills trail to “the Cliffs.” (OutThere)
Rare footage of Selkirk caribou from Northeastern Washington. (City Light)
Tribal fisheries recognize outgoing WDFW director. (NWIFC)
Portland’s pot-eating deer named Sugar Bob. (WW)
And some munchies for deer in wildfire damaged regions of Central Washington. (NWSportsman)
Seattle group wants to compost dead people. (Yahoo)
What will they think of next? New phone app predicts Yellowstone geyser eruptions. (NPS)
Some amazing photos of national parks covered in snow and ice. (Daily Mail)
A few of Stephen Colbert’s top ecology segments. Last show tonight. (EcoWatch)
First Nations offended by proposed British Columbia dam. (Globe and Mail)
This dog will go skiing in Patagonia with you. (Adventure Journal)
ONE WEEK TO CHRISTMAS: Here are a few outdoorsy gift guides for the Wild-inspired thru-hiker or lumbersexual on your list — Snowlander - Outside Magazine - Backpacker - and an insider wishlist from Gear Institute.
And what are the historic chances of getting a white Christmas? (NOAA)
As the 2015 Washington state legislative session approaches, convening in Olympia on Jan. 12, interest groups all around are getting ready to make their cases for increased or maintained state funding. One of those is Washington Filmworks, the nonprofit tasked with managing the state's film production incentive program.
At an annual industry update last week at Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane, Washington Filmworks' Director Amy Lillard, and Board of Directors Chair Don Jensen, shared successes of the year, and the organization's goals for the upcoming session.
Throughout this year, Washington Filmworks provided funding assistance for 13 TV episode (Z Nation), seven commercials, three projects at its Innovation Lab and one feature film (Captain Fantastic). That funding assistance was split roughly in half between projects in Eastern (51 percent) and Western Washington (49 percent).
Combined, projects in 2014 resulted in an estimated $33 million in economic impact for the state.
However, Lillard pointed out that even with those notable successes, Washington Filmworks was forced to turn away five big projects that would have generated an additional $55 million into the state economy. That's because Washington Filmworks' annual $3.5 million film industry incentive cap was spent by May.
Washington's film incentive program works like a cash rebate for qualifying productions made in-state. Funded by a portion of the state's business and occupation tax liabilities (corporations/individuals can choose to contribute to this fund, getting a dollar for dollar tax credit, up to $1 million), qualifying productions can apply to get 30 percent of what they spent here back from the state.
Washington's program to encourage filmmakers to work here is the fifth smallest in the nation, but interest in making films here is growing, Lillard told the group of about three dozen at the presentation last Thursday.
"We spent the summer looking to what we can do during the [legislative] session because it's hard to come up with the money," Lillard says.
While Washington Filmworks plans to ask state lawmakers to increase its incentive budget, Lillard says no official request has been determined at this point. However, if the state were able to take advantage of all the projects interested in shooting here, an estimated $24.3 million in funding assistance would be needed.
Anticipating the challenges ahead of legislators as they work to balance the 2015-17 biennium budget during the 2015 session, it's going to be a tough battle for everyone. The biggest priorities on the table are education, mental health services and the voter-approved class size reduction initiative.
Still, Lillard and Jensen urged attendees last week to reach out to their legislators, and to ask them to fight for increased funding for the film incentives.
"We know it's made a difference in employment," she adds. "We're committed to being transparent, and $24.3 million — is that feasible? I don't know."
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