Chelan, Entiat could each receive $500,000 grants
CHELAN COUNTY - The cities of Chelan and Entiat could each receive $500,000 in state grants to develop wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation projects, according to the state Wildlife and Recreation Program.
The Chelan Parks and Recreation Department will use the grant to help restore a section of shoreline to a natural beach and swimming area for visitors at Don Morse Park.
Entiat will restore habitat to its waterfront trail along the Columbia River and create a trail along the shore.
The grants come from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program that awarded $1,145,000 in funding for four key wildlife protection projects in Chelan County, the House of Representatives announced Wednesday at its hearing for the state capital construction budget. The projects are a part of a proposed $50 million appropriation to the program, which funds high-priority wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation projects across the state.
Projects funded by the WWRP -- a program with bipartisan support that had been slated for near elimination in Gov. Gregoire's proposed budget -- are determined using scientifically based, objective criteria.
The Chelan Area grants could be put at risk if the Senate cuts funding for the program or alters the selection criteria, according to Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which advocates for the program.
"We are thrilled to see that the House of Representatives understands the critical role that preservation projects like [this one] play in local communities across the state," Grist said. "WWRP projects help maintain critical habitat for wildlife, protect our waterways and ensure that outdoor recreation can continue to be a major source of income in rural communities across the state."
The Chelan County grants include $145,500 to abate and restore a wildlife viewing are at Camas Meadows Habitat south of Cashmere and a $342,620 for the city of Wenatchee to protect the iconic Saddle Rock from development.
Statewide, renewing WWRP funding is an essential investment in our long-term prosperity, Grist said.
The grants supply billions of retail dollars and millions of tax dollars local economies, she said.