"These grants will be put to good use, helping local communities provide jobs and keep Washington's outdoor areas available to everyone," said Bill Chapman, board chair. "They are made possible by federal funding."
On Tuesday, the state funding board awarded grants to 22 projects, totaling more than $802,000. Grants were awarded to organizations in the counties below. See details on each grant.
Pierce County............. $75,000
Skagit County............. $81,653
Whatcom County........ $16,049
Island County............. $70,089
Jefferson County........ $15,000
King County............... $10,000
Kittitas County............ $85,000
Lewis County.............. $21,000
The grants were awarded in the Recreational Trails Program, a federally funded program that pays for the rehabilitation and maintenance of backcountry trails, as well as projects to educate trail users about protecting the environment and having a safe experience.
“These grants are vital to making sure Washington remains a great state, not only for young people and families that live here, but for employers, touring visitors and others who value a quality outdoor experience,” Chapman said.
Recent surveys peg the number of Washingtonians who recreate in the backcountry at 33 percent, including those who hike, snowshoe, cross-country ski or ride bicycles, horses, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles.
“These grants provide funding to maintain trails in some of the more remote areas, making it easier and safer for people to get outdoors,” Chapman said. “Many of these aren’t glamorous projects, such as rebuilding trails after storm washouts and cutting down bushes that have grown over trails, but they are essential to maintaining what we have and preventing large sections of trails from being closed to the public.”
Grant recipients don’t come empty handed. Grants applicants are contributing more than $1 million in matching resources, stretching limited state dollars even further, Chapman said.
The board received 62 grant proposals for projects requesting more than $2.3 million. Only about half the projects will receive funding.
“The competition for these grants is very high,” Chapman said. “That means that only the very best of the best projects get funded.”
Projects are evaluated on criteria including need, project design, cost-effectiveness, and community support.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board was established in 1964 to finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. For more information on the agency or its grant programs, visit the Web site: www.rco.wa.gov.