The association’s projects will help pay for volunteer trail teams who will maintain more than 200 miles of trails throughout the state. The teams will remove fallen trees, fix drainage structures, cut overgrown bushes, and repair trail surfaces in state parks, national parks and forests, in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and in eastern Washington.
"The Washington Trails Association is thrilled to receive these grants, which are a fundamental component of our trail program budget,” said Karen Daubert, executive director of the trails association. “We use these funds to repair and maintain trails statewide through our adult and youth volunteer programs."The Washington Trails Association’s three grant applications scored in the top 10 of nearly 50 projects competing for grant funding in the Recreational Trails Program. Funded through federal gasoline taxes, the grant program is designed to maintain backcountry trails. “This work is incredibly important,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grant. “It might not be glamorous work, but without it, more trails simply wouldn’t open after winter storms or summer fires.” Cottingham will present a symbolic, oversized check to the association’s board members at their meeting at 6 p.m., Friday, at REI, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle.
The competition for grant funding is intense, with projects rated by citizens and professionals on many factors, such as need, how well the project is designed and cost-effectiveness.“Only the best projects get funded,” Cottingham said. “The Washington Trails Association has brought forth many fantastic projects. In fact, since 2006, its projects have consistently ranked in the top five every year. It’s rare to see an organization bring top ranked projects year after year.” The Washington Trails Association has been awarded 28 grants since 1996, totaling more than $1.3 million. The association has contributed more than $6 million as its matching share for those grants. “For more than a decade, hikers, mountain bikers, motorcyclists and others have relied on the Washington Trails Association and its volunteers to keep trails open,” Cottingham said. “Without the association’s work, many people would not be able to get out and enjoy Washington’s great outdoors.” Since 1994, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, through the Recreational Trails Program, has awarded nearly $20 million to more than 560 projects. Grant recipients have contributed nearly $32 million in matching resources, bringing the total to nearly $52 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.