$126 Million in Outdoor Recreation Grants

Lopez Channel Preserve

State Invests $126 Million in Grants to Expand Outdoor Recreation Opportunities and Preserve Habitat and Working Farms and Forests

Editor’s note: San Juan County receives $3,987,448.00 – see below…

OLYMPIA–The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board today announced the award of more than $126 million in grants to a suite of 333 projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat and working farms and forests around the state.

“Not only do these grants support our state’s parks, forests and farms, but they also fuel a powerful outdoor recreation economy that puts about 200,000 people to work and generates more than $26 billion in spending every year,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “At a time when public lands are more and more at risk of being developed or lost altogether, these grants prioritize our outdoor spaces so that current and future generations can continue to enjoy and protect them.”

“The funding creates more places to play, expands habitat for fish and other wildlife, supports clean air and water, and upholds healthy communities across Washington state and improves our quality of life,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director at the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants.

“As one of the state’s biggest investors in the outdoors, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board has had a part in thousands of projects across Washington state, from the park down the street to backcountry campsites and other destinations,” said Ted Willhite, chair of the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. “It’s part of what makes Washington such a great place to live and play.”

With the Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget, grants are being distributed to cities, counties, state and federal agencies, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations for projects in 37 of the state’s 39 counties.

The grants were awarded through seven different grant programs. Revenue comes from a mix of federal grants, the sale of state bonds, gas taxes and user fees.

Click here to see descriptions of each of the following grants or click here to see grants received in San Juan County

  • Asotin County……………………….. $260,000
  • Adams County………………………. $347,000
  • Benton County……………………… $867,024
  • Chelan County………………….. $4,685,565
  • Clallam County………………….. $5,179,179
  • Clark County……………………… $5,484,836
  • Columbia County……………………. $74,950
  • Cowlitz County…………………… $1,475,739
  • Douglas County……………………. $554,390
  • Ferry County………………………. $1,801,550
  • Franklin County…………………. $1,010,839
  • Garfield County…………………….. $108,000
  • Grant County……………………… $2,764,649
  • Grays Harbor County…………. $1,890,500
  • Island County…………………….. $1,069,325
  • Jefferson County……………….. $3,730,191
  • King County…………………….. $13,460,721
  • Kitsap County…………………….. $7,231,220
  • Kittitas County……………………. $1,544,297
  • Klickitat County…………………….. $197,600
  • Lewis County………………………… $850,000
  • Mason County……………………. $3,391,517
  • Okanogan County……………… $3,038,579
  • Pacific County……………………. $1,818,625
  • Pend Oreille County……………….. $62,930
  • Pierce County……………………. $9,986,502
  • San Juan County………………. $3,987,448
  • Skagit County…………………….. $1,952,942
  • Snohomish County……………. $8,552,692
  • Spokane County………………… $6,248,960
  • Stevens County……………………. $183,450
  • Thurston County……………… $12,354,329
  • Walla Walla County………………. $434,500
  • Whatcom County……………….. $3,568,100
  • Whitman County………………… $3,994,323
  • Yakima County………………….. $7,925,769
  • Multiple Counties………………. $3,994,298

All of the funded projects were evaluated and ranked through a competitive process in which citizen committees with expertise in recreation and conservation issues evaluated the grant proposals and created ranked lists for the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board to consider for funding.

“Because we have funding for only about half of the applications that come in, we have to be strategic with our investments, selecting only the best projects,” Cottingham said.

The office accepted applications for 562 projects, requesting nearly $232 million. Most of the grant programs require grant applicants to contribute matching resources. This year, the matching resources totaled nearly $142 million, more than doubling the state’s investment in Washington’s outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.

Of the more than $126 million in grants, more than $47 million goes to build or improve parks, more than $16 million goes each to improve facilities for boaters, $20 million to maintain trails, more than $5 million goes to conserve working farms and another $36 million goes to protect important wildlife habitat.

About the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board

Established by citizen Initiative 215 in 1964, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board helps finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. The eight-member board consists of five citizens appointed by the Governor and three state agency directors.

Since 1964, the board has improved the state’s quality of life through its investment of public funds in parks, trails, beaches, boating facilities, wildlife habitat and natural areas.

 


Grants Awarded in San Juan County:

Lopez Channel Park

Grant Awarded: $410,000 for San Juan County Land Bank
Buying Lopez Island Shoreline for a Preserve

The San Juan County Land Bank will use this grant to help buy about 10 acres along the western shore of Lopez Island for a public beach and for launching hand-powered boats. The 7.35-mile western shore of Lopez Island largely is inaccessible because of high bluffs, rocky shoreline, and overwhelmingly private ownership. Only two-thirds mile is accessible from land, and the land to be purchased is the only remaining potential access point to the rest. Due to threat from vacation home development, the land was purchased in 2017, but about $450,000 is still owed to the seller.

The land connects to 2 miles of public tideland currently reachable only by boat. This area is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail, but rarely is used because there is no way for paddlers to launch or take out. This project would fill that gap. Its beach also would allow swimming, beachcombing, and wildlife viewing as well kite and stand up paddle boarding among other activities. Additionally, the land is near Shark Reef, a component of the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and an important seal and sea lion haul out location. The land bank will contribute $412,806 in donations of cash, a grant from the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and a voter-approved levy. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant was funded by the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Program.


Grant Awarded: $41,173 for San Juan Island Conservation District
Using Youth Conservation Corps to Maintain San Juan Island Trails

The San Juan Island Conservation District will use this grant to hire about 50 youth through Youth Conservation Corps to maintain 198 miles of backcountry trails across San Juan, Orcas, Lopez Islands. Youth Conservation Corps crews offer a summer work opportunity for youth (ages 12-18) working and learning in the natural environment with mentoring from natural resource professionals, AmeriCorps crews, and Washington Trails Association volunteers.

The conservation district will contribute $68,195 in a federal grant and donations of equipment, labor, and materials. This grant is from the Recreational Trails Program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project.


Grant Awarded: $1,226,800 for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Expanding Moran State Park

State Parks will use this grant to buy 55 acres on the Strait of Georgia next to Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Most of the shoreline along the strait is high-bank and buying this land will allow State Parks to extend the park’s trail system and give visitors access to the water, which isn’t possible in the park’s current boundaries. In addition, visitors will be able to get to this land from the water.

Moran State Park is one of Washington’s iconic state parks in the San Juan Islands. It is 5,252 acres and offers abundant camping, five freshwater lakes for swimming and non-motorized boating, and more than 30 miles of hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. State Parks will contribute $409,600 in donations of cash and land. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project.


Grant Awarded: $1,899,475 for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Expanding Obstruction Pass State Park

State Parks will use this grant to buy 55.5 acres next to Obstruction Pass State Park on Orcas Island in San Juan County. Nearly doubling the size of the park, the land will allow for trail connections and will extend the public shoreline to Spring Bay. All of the shoreline in Obstruction State Park is high-bank and buying this land will enable State Parks to provide access for visitors to walk to the water.

Obstruction Pass State Park is an 80-acre park with parking, about 3.5 miles of trails, nine primitive campsites, one Cascade Marine Trail campsite, three restrooms, mooring buoys, and more than 1 mile of publicly owned saltwater shoreline. State Parks will contribute $500 in donations of cash. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project.

Posted on July 3, 2019 at 5:49 am by

Categories: Government, Recreation

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