The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office announced the award of nearly $190 million in grants to communities statewide to improve outdoor recreation and conserve wildlife habitat.
The grants were awarded to a variety of organizations to renovate parks, build trails and create new places for people to recreate outdoors.
Specifically, for Grays Harbor, this includes $4.1 million for 6 projects and $8.1 million for 7 projects in Pacific.
|Conserving Polson Heritage Forest: Forterra will use this grant to buy a conservation easement2 on eighty acres of forestland known as the Polson Heritage Forest, in Grays Harbor County. The land has second-growth trees, a wetland, a small pond, and streams. If not protected, the land faces increasing threats of rural residential development. Forterra is partnering with the Polson Museum and Girl Scouts of Western Washington to showcase the local, cultural, and historical resources of the region and site. The Polson Museum is a respected local nonprofit leader in historical and educational programming, including a mobile sawmill. These kinds of tourism and educational opportunities will support community programming and generate long-term revenue to complement and enhance forest management. The Girl Scout camp infrastructure, including a lodge, A-frame cabins, and open-air sleeping bunks, will be used recreationally. Conservation of the forest will preserve the forest legacy that characterizes the region. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Expanding Montesano’s Community Forest: Forterra will use this grant to buy 240 acres in Montesano to expand the City’s community forest, the Chaplin Collins Memorial Forest. The forest will be managed to sustainably harvest timber to support the quality of life for current and future generations of Montesano residents. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Community Forests Program.
|Renovating Friends Landing Boat Launch: The Port of Grays Harbor will use this grant to design, engineer, and permit the redevelop of the boat launch at Friends Landing, just outside of Montesano. The Port’s plans call for construction of a concrete boarding ramp in the existing boat launch parking area and paving of the existing parking area for boat trailer parking. Friends Landing was developed as the first of its kind, universally accessible, outdoor recreation facility in the early 1990s. It is used as a boat launch for recreational boating and fishing in the Chehalis River. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.
|Replacing Westport Float 21 Guest Moorage: The Port of Grays Harbor will use this grant to add guest moorage at a small waterfront property in the southeast portion of the Westport Marina in Westport. The Port will provide fourteen recreational guest moorage slips with a gangway that will allow people with disabilities access to a nearby boat launch, parking lot, and plaza. The guest moorage will simplify the overall use of the neighboring facilities in the midst of a heavy commercial area, drastically improving boater usability. The Port also will add signs and lights to ensure safety during early morning and often challenging weather conditions associated with ocean fishing.
Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.
|Conserving the Torres Dairy: Washington Farmland Trust will use this grant to buy a conservation easement4 to preserve more than 350 acres of prime farmland and critical habitat in the Chehalis River basin and help ensure a dairy remains forever. Jose Torres started on the farm as a milker when the Goeres family owned and operated the entire operation. During the past decade, the Torres family has taken on more of the operation, and eventually purchased the business. An easement on the entirety of the land that supports the dairy will facilitate the sale of the remainder of the land and buildings to the Torres family by making it more affordable. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Building a Skatepark and Pump Track: The City of Westport will use this grant to develop a skatepark and pump track in the heart of town at Druzianich Park. This facility will be the first of its kind in the rural coastal community of Westport, filling a need for an outdoor space where people can enjoy activities such as skateboarding, rollerblading, biking, and scooters. The facility will be constructed of concrete for durability and low maintenance. Druzianich Park was selected as the location because it is on the Grays Harbor Transit line and near the local grocery store, library, and Little League field. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Renovating Lions Park Field : Pacific County will use this grant to renovate about two acres of school district-owned baseball fields on Knappton Road in Naselle. Over time, the fields have become uneven with many low areas, making play unsafe. The County will fill the low spots with dirt, smooth and level the outfields, then replant with grass. The work will provide enhanced, year-round, outdoor recreation opportunities for nearly 150 underserved youth ages seven to eighteen and community members in a high poverty county. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Youth Athletic Facilities program.
|Conserving North Willapa Bay Estuaries and Shoreline: The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to buy up to 1,500 acres of forest and wetlands along the northern shore of Willapa Bay, between the mouths of the Willapa and North Rivers. The purchase will help provide nearly uninterrupted connectivity over a fragmented ten miles of department-owned shoreline and riverbanks. The land is used by wildlife designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need such as marbled murrelet, dusky Canada goose, band-tailed pigeon, and game species such as Roosevelt elk and Columbia black-tailed deer, and a variety of waterfowl. The land overlaps the mouths of ten, fish-bearing, freshwater streams used by chum and coho salmon and steelhead trout. Additionally, the land includes tidally influenced areas of Willapa Bay that are identified as critical habitat for green sturgeon, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Buying Land for a Trailhead in Willapa Hills State Park Trail: State Parks will use this grant to buy 2.6 acres in South Bend for a trailhead for Willapa Hills State Park Trail. The land is on Robert Bush Drive East, which is known as State Route 101. The trailhead will be designed to accommodate single vehicles for visitors coming to recreate on this multi-use trail. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Completing Restoration of Leadbetter Point Coastal Dunes: State Parks will use this grant to complete restoration of fifty-five acres of native coastal dune habitat in Leadbetter Point State Park. State Parks will control invasive plants to restore the native dune topography, processes, plants, and habitat for four species of concern and an imperiled ecosystem. The dunes are home to the western snowy plover and the streaked horned ark, two species that are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and the pink sand verbena and bear’s-foot sanicle, both of which are on the state endangered species list. The work also will benefit the critically imperiled dune ecosystem, the North Pacific Maritime Coastal Sand Dune and Strand. This work builds on extensive restoration by State Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of more than 850 acres of herb- and shrubdominated dunes at the north end of the Long Beach peninsula. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Laying Gravel on the Willapa Hills Trail: State Parks will use this grant to lay gravel on the Willapa Hills Trail, which stretches 56.5 miles from Chehalis to South Bend. State Parks will lay 17 miles of compacted gravel in two sections of trail–an 11-mile section from Pluvius to Half Moon Creek Road and a 6-mile section from the Willapa River Bridge to the Bullard Road in Menlo. State Parks also will add wayfinding, orientation, and interpretative signs. The trail traverses over century-old trestle bridges and through river valleys, thick forests, and rich farmland. The trail is used by hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Linking Three Waters Trail in Cape Disappointment State Park: State Parks will use this grant to build a short segment of trail to link two separate ends of the Three Waters Trail in Cape Disappointment State Park, in Ilwaco. The trail link, east of Robert Gray Drive, will create a half-mile of continuous trail and separate people from vehicles, making it safer. Designed by American designer and sculptor Maya Lin, the Three Waters Trail links the park’s three waters–the Columbia River at one end, wetlands and lake, and the Pacific Ocean at the other end–together at their confluence. State Parks also will add interpretative signs that weave the history of Native American presence with Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
|Developing Access to the Nemah Tidelands: The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to build an access area to the Nemah tidelands, which are about twenty miles south of Raymond on the eastern shore of Willapa Bay, for the public to harvest clams and oysters. The department will pave a sixteen-stall parking lot, install a vault toilet, pave a trail from the cliff to the beach, and build a platform from which people with disabilities can harvest shellfish. RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
The grants also made investments in conserving lands that are homes to plants and animals at risk of extinction and that preserve Washington’s agricultural and forestry legacy, such as important working farms and forests.
“These grants advance our priority to protect Washington’s world-class outdoor recreation offerings enjoyed by locals and travelers from across the globe,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “I’m proud of these investments. They will go a long way to ensuring Washington’s outdoor areas are healthy, open and usable by everyone.”
Grants were awarded to projects in the following counties. See grant descriptions.
|Grays Harbor County
|San Juan County
|See List of Projects
|Walla Walla County
|Pend Oreille County
“These grants will provide so many benefits to Washington residents,” said Ted Willhite, chair of the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, which awarded most of the grants. “We know that people are healthier, mentally and physically, when they spend time outside. We also know that Washington’s businesses are healthier because of our outdoor spaces. People spend $26.5 billion a year for outdoor recreation trips and equipment, which supports 264,000 jobs–rivaling our aerospace industry. These grants recognize the importance of outdoor recreation in the lives of everyday Washingtonians.”
The grants ranged from $7,000 to teach scout troops about horsemanship and trail stewardship to more than $14 million to conserve a Kittitas County ranch and the wildlife habitat it supports.
Grants went to projects in 37 of Washington’s 39 counties.
“We’ve seen such wonderful projects from grant applicants,” Willhite said. “I wish we could fund them all. Knowing that we could only fund some of them shows that there is a great need for continued investment in Washington’s outdoors.”