The association’s grant application for a youth crew to maintain trails in the north Cascade Mountains scored 4th out of 49 projects competing statewide for grants, earning the association special recognition and more than $70,000 in funding.
Ted Willhite, a member of the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, which awarded the grant, will present a giant check to association board members at their meeting at 11 a.m., Saturday, in the Forest Service Office, 810 Moore Street, Sedro Woolley.
“These grants come from the Recreational Trails Program, which is funded with federal gas taxes,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “The grant program provides money for groups to do maintenance of trails in the backcountry. Without the work of these trail crews, many trails would be closed because of safety issues.”
The competition for grant funding is high, with projects rated by citizens and professionals on many factors, such as need, how well the project is designed and cost-efficiencies.
“Only the best of the best projects gets funded,” Cottingham said. “The Pacific Northwest Trail Association has consistently brought forth high scoring projects.”
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association has been awarded 24 grants since 1997, totaling more than $967,000. The latest grant will help pay for a 5-person youth crew and crew leader to maintain the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and its major feeder trails through Island, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties.
“For more than a decade, state agencies and others have relied on the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, its volunteers, and youth crews to maintain trails,” Cottingham said. “Not only does this save the state money, but it gives our youth hands-on, outdoor experience and helps them to become better stewards of the environment.”
Since 1994, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, through the Recreational Trails Program, has awarded more than $19 million to more than 560 projects. Grant recipients have contributed nearly $32 million in matching resources, bringing the total to more than $51 million invested in Washington trails.
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.