Submitted by the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board today announced the award of 342 grants across the state to provide recreational amenities, conserve wildlife habitat and protect working forests and farms. Projects in San Juan County received $2,158,206 in grants.
“These grants are fundamental to keeping Washington the beautiful state it is,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The funding comes from state and federal sources and is invested in hundreds of projects to give our kids places to play, ensure our food is grown close to home and keep our green spaces healthy for wildlife.”
The grants total more than $164 million and are matched by more than $221 million in resources from grant applicants, such as cash, donations, staff time and equipment, bringing the total investment in Washington’s great outdoors to nearly $386 million.
The grants will be spent on projects in all of Washington’s 39 counties and include projects to refurbish aging parks, maintain trails, build boating docks and conserve land used for farming and timber harvest. The grants also will conserve important habitat for wildlife species in danger of extinction.
“Washington wouldn’t be Washington without these grants,” said Ted Willhite, chair of the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. “Washington is known for its rich outdoor spaces that provide everything from jobs to places for us to exercise and relax, to homes for wildlife. Our studies have shown that people spend $26.5 billion annually on outdoor recreation trips and equipment in Washington. That spending supports 264,000 jobs or 6 percent of all jobs in Washington, which rivals the aerospace industry. It is a wise decision to invest in something so important to so many areas of our lives.”
The grants come from 10 different grant programs administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Grants are awarded once every two years.
“The grants are very competitive,” said Megan Duffy, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which supports the funding board. “Every grant is evaluated by advisory committees made up of local residents and technical experts. They rank the applications ensuring that the most needed and best projects rise to the top. That’s important because nearly 40 percent of the applications remain unfunded. There’s just an incredible need out there.”
Grants received by county entities include:
• Port of Friday Harbor received $207,806 to upgrade the Jackson Beach boat launch – The Port of Friday Harbor will use this grant to pave parking areas and replace the restrooms at the Jackson Beach Boat Launch. The boat launch is near Friday Harbor and serves as the only boat launch with 72-hour free parking. Nestled in Griffin Bay, the boat launch area offers a shelter, restrooms, picnic areas, barbecue pits, open beach, and views of the Olympic Mountains. Currently, the boat launch has only three paved parking spaces for trucks and trailers, and the Port will expand that to 20. The Port of Friday Harbor will contribute $110,250. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.
* Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission received $1,843,000 to replace the Stuart Island State Park Moorage – State Parks will use this grant to replace the moorage facility on the Reid Harbor side of Stuart Island State Park. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.
• Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission received $107,400 to restore San Juan Island Prairies – State Parks will use this grant to restore 120 acres of grassland balds and prairie habitat in Moran State Park on Orcas Island and Jones Island Marine State Park. The native prairie communities at both parks are threatened by tree encroachment and invasive species. State Parks will remove encroaching trees, control invasive plants, and restore treated areas with seeding and planting of native prairie species. VThis grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s State Lands Restoration and Enhancement Category.
Additionally, other grants to issued for use in multiple counties across the state — including San Juan, those grants are as follows:
• Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Garfield, Island, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Okanogan, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Stevens, and Yakima counties: Washington Trails Association received $75,000 to care for Backcountry Trails Statewide – The Washington Trails Association will use this grant to engage volunteers in 30,000 hours of trail maintenance on 330 miles of trail throughout the Cascades, Olympics, and Blue Mountains. Backcountry crews will perform a wide variety of annual maintenance such as clearing trails of debris and improving trail surfaces, as well as technical projects such as clearing fallen trees and moving short sections of trail to create safer and accessible trails for visitors. The Washington Trails Association will contribute $581,280 in donations of cash and labor. This grant is for the first year of a 2-year award. The same amount of funding for the second year will be added upon federal approval. This grant is from the federal Recreational Trails Program.
• Chelan, Clallam, Cowlitz, Island, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Okanogan, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Stevens, and Whatcom counties: Washington Trails Association received $75,000 to engage Youth Volunteers in Statewide Trail Maintenance. The Washington Trails Association will use this grant for youth work parties to maintain 92 miles of trail. The youth, who will contribute 27,000 hours of work, will address deferred maintenance backlogs to improve hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian opportunities on trails across Washington. The project will consist of day-long work parties on urban or front country trails, which typically are near major cities like Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, and Vancouver, and Grant Awards week-long volunteer vacations in more remote backcountry areas. Each work party will vary in scope but will focus mainly on general maintenance activities such as removing overgrown brush, restoring trail surfaces, and improving drainage to create safer and accessible trails and mitigate damage. The Washington Trails Association will contribute $521,550 in donations of cash and labor. This grant is for the first year of a two-year award. The same amount of funding for the second year will be added upon federal approval. This grant is from the federal Recreational Trails Program.
• Clark, Cowlitz, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, and Snohomish counties: Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance received $62,500 to maintain mountain biking trails in Western Washington The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will use this grant to engage volunteers in 15,882 hours of maintenance on 350 miles of trails that serve mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians, and motorized activities in western Washington. Volunteers from four western Washington chapters of the alliance will maintain trails with supervision from crew leaders. The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will contribute $380,000 in a local and private grants and donated labor. This grant is for the first year of a two-year award. The same amount of funding for the second year will be added upon federal approval. This grant is from the federal Recreational Trails Program.
• Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission received $75,000 to care for Trails in Northwestern Washington. State Parks will use this grant to maintain 224 miles of trails in 13 state parks in northwestern Washington. The trails provide a backcountry experience to hikers, mountain bikers, runners, and horseback riders. The parks included are Bridle Trails; Dash Point; Deception Pass; Fort Ebey; Larrabee; Mount Pilchuck; Squak Mountain; Twin Falls-Olallie; Saint Edward; Saltwater; South Whidbey; Moran; and Wallace Falls. Much of the work will include repairing and replacing trail and drainage structures, clearing debris, removing windfall, and maintaining trail surfaces. State Parks will contribute $87,460 in staff and donated labor. This grant is for the first year of a two-year award. The same amount of funding for the second year will be added upon federal approval. This grant is from the federal Recreational Trails Program.
• Island and San Juan counties: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission received $291,000 to assess moorage buoys in Puget Sound. State Parks will use this grant to assess long-term needs for moorage buoys in northwestern Puget Sound, including San Juan and Island Counties. The agency will inspect moorage buoys to determine what needs to be replaced or moved and where new buoys should be installed. The agency also will submit applications for environmental regulatory permits and produce construction specifications. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.