Legislature OKs plan for a new park in Lacey —

Legislature OKs plan for a new park in Lacey

By John Dodge
The News Tribune


Three projects to expand protection of unique habitat and create a park in Lacey were among the 55 Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program projects approved by the 2011 Legislature.

The $42 million in funding statewide fell far short of the $100 million goal set by a coalition of 250 business, conservation, recreation and community groups and slipped below the $70 million approved for the 2009-11 biennium.

But given the severe cuts that permeate the 2011-13 state budget, program supporters said it could have been a lot worse.

“It was a long and difficult session, but in the end, everyone worked together for a common good,” said Joanna Grist, the executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

Proponents of the program, which began in 1989 to provide a stable source of funding for conservation projects, also beat back a bid in the Senate to fund politically popular projects, rather than stick to a nonpartisan, independent review of projects to prioritize them.

Grants totaling nearly $2.44 million will be used in Thurston County to:

• Allow for expansion of the Mima Mounds Natural Area near Littlerock, $1.07 million.

• Fund a Lacey Parks and Recreation park project for the Pleasant Glade community, $1 million.

• Provide habitat-restoration funding to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to pull weeds and restore grasslands at South Sound prairie and Bald Hills properties, $361,000.

Since 1990, the program has directed about $660 million in state funds to more than 1,000 projects, according to a news release. Notable projects funded in Thurston County include the Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area, Camp Kenneydell Park at Black Lake, Tenino City Park and the Chehalis Western Trail.

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