North Creek Forest in Bothell awarded Land and Water grant
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) announced $793,030 in grants today for three projects, including one in Bothell, from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The grant for $43,030 will go towards partial funding to preserve Bothell’s last urban forest, North Creek Forest.
The long-awaited completion of the Point Defiance Missing Link in Tacoma will receive $500,000, while the renovation at a public pool in Chehalis that serves thousands of children each summer will receive the remaining $250,000.
North Creek Forest is a scenic woodland home to pileated woodpeckers and black-tailed deer just one mile from Bothell City Hall and within walking distance from school for 9,000 of students who could use the forest as an outdoor laboratory.
"Without this LWCF grant, we risk losing Bothell's last urban forest. That would be a tragedy not only for the wildlife who call these woods home, but also for the community members who walk these paths and the students who use it as an outdoor laboratory," Jim Freese of Friends of North Creek Forest said. "We're grateful for partial funding this year, but this calls attention to the need for full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund."
This is the second LWCF grant North Creek Forest has received.
These projects represent an investment in Washington’s $22.5 billion outdoor recreation economy and in the high quality of life that supports our state’s families and businesses.
Created by Congress in 1965, LWCF is the nation’s premier federal grant program for conservation and outdoor recreation. The program uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, $900 million in offshore oil and gas lease revenue is meant to be invested in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities each year. However, year after year Congress diverts a majority of LWCF funds for unrelated purposes.
Lack of full funding for the program has created a huge backlog of unmet need. This year, nine unfunded projects will move to next year’s funding list.
"Full dedicated funding for LWCF is essential to ensure that more of these investments are successful in communities across Washington. We thank Senators Cantwell and Murray and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene for their work to ensure protection for our outdoors," said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.
This program continues to receive strong bipartisan support. A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates found that 85 percent of American voters think their Member of Congress should honor the commitment to fund conservation through LWCF. More than seven-in-ten American voters agree that “even with federal budget problems, funding to safeguard land, air, and water should not be cut.”