OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will give the Seattle-based Washington Trails Association a Bravo Award on Friday for three outstanding trail projects.
The Washington Trails Association’s three grant applications scored as the top 3 of 64 projects competing for grant funding in the highly competitive Recreational Trails Program. Funded through federal gasoline taxes, the grant program is designed to maintain backcountry trails.
The association’s projects will help pay for volunteer trail teams who will maintain nearly 800 miles of trails throughout the state during the next 2 years. The teams will remove fallen trees, fix drainage structures, cut overgrown bushes and repair trail surfaces in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, in eastern Washington and at other destinations.
One of the grants will support youth crews through Youth Volunteer Vacations, which encourages high school students to spend a week at a base camp completing a specific project.
“The Washington Trails Association is an important partner in helping government agencies keeps trails open for millions of hikers, mountain bikers and others,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “Without their work and the work of their volunteers, many trails would be closed to the public.”
Cottingham will present the Bravo Award to the association at its annual volunteer appreciation meeting at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 5, in the Panoramic Room, Pacific Tower, 1200 12th Ave. S., Seattle.
“Outdoor recreation contributes significantly to Washington’s economy,” Cottingham said. “Each year, people spend $21.6 billion on outdoor recreation in Washington State and outdoor recreation supports nearly 200,000 jobs. Keeping our trails in usable condition is very important to our state’s economy.”
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-effectiveness.
“Only the best projects get funded,” Cottingham said. “We consistently see high quality projects from the Washington Trails Association. Since 2006, the association has projects that have ranked in the top five every year. There are very few organizations with that kind of record.”
The Washington Trails Association has been awarded 34 grants since 1996, totaling more than $2 million. The association has contributed more than $9.6 million as its matching share for those grants.
Since 1994, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, through the Recreational Trails Program, has awarded more than $25 million to nearly 650 projects. Grant recipients have contributed more than $41 million in matching resources, bringing the total invested in Washington trails to more than $66 million.
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. For more information and photographs on the trail association’s top scoring grants, see