Committee Recommends Doubling Funds for Wildlife and Recreation Program
By Carrie Powell, for the Wa Wildlife & Recreation Coalition
For more information, contact: Andy Grow, 206-713-1792; firstname.lastname@example.org
June 22, 2006 - For Immediate Release
STATEWIDE: Today in Vancouver, the State’s Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) voted to recommend that Governor Christine Gregoire significantly increase funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to reflect the over whelming demand for new parks and habitat.
Established in 1964, the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) helps finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. The eight-member Committee consists of five citizen volunteers appointed by the Governor and three state agency heads.
If the Governor and the state legislature approve the recommendation, WWRP funding would increase from $50 million for the 2005-07 biennium to $100 million that would be available for wildlife lands, park acquisition, park development, and farmland conservation for the 2007-09 biennium.
“Over the past 15 years, the WWRP has funded hundreds of worthwhile projects, from wildlife habitat to urban parks,” said Val Ogden, Chair of the IAC. “The $100 million recommendation is unprecedented, but with overwhelmed state park facilities and loss of wildlife habitat, it’s absolutely essential that we support the funding of so many important projects that benefit all of us.”
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a state grant program that helps local communities create new parks, protect wildlife habitat, and conserve farmland and shorelines. Since 1990, over $450 million has been provided for more than 700 neighborhood parks, ball fields, trails, beaches, wild life habitat areas and state parks. By requiring that local projects provide a match, WWRP grants leverage funding from cities, counties and park districts, as well as private and philanthropic funding sources. This year the state has received over $150 million in project requests. All projects will be graded, and at $100 Million, only the top two-thirds of the projects for parks, trails, water access sites and urban wildlife projects would be funded.
Chaired by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is an advocacy organization made up of over 270 varied organizations and businesses that work to ensure the WWRP receives adequate support to acquire local, regional and state recreation and wildlife areas.
The Coalition’s website, with more background and descriptions of previously funded projects across the state, is available at www.wildliferecreation.org
A summary of the WWRP grant program is available at the Interagency Committee Web site at: http://www.iac.wa.gov/iac/grants/wwrp.htm