One of the best parts about living in Washington is that you don’t have to travel far to find wild spaces to explore nature. Many of these places are made possible by the Urban Wildlife category of WWRP. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat close to densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The recently passed capital budget will fund an exciting new Urban Wildlife project in Spokane County, the Wild Heart of Spokane. The Dishman Hills Conservancy will use this grant to purchase 257 acres for wildlife and recreation. Just three miles from Spokane’s city limits, Dishman Hills is known as the ‘wild heart of Spokane’ because it is surrounded by development. Conserving this parcel of land, next to the Dishman Hills Conservation Area, is important to maintain a corridor for wildlife movement and a diversity of plants.
The land is home to deer, moose, elk, cougars, black bears, pileated woodpeckers, flammulated owls, northern goshawk, Vaux’s swift, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons. The forest that houses these species contains rare mature trees and is a high quality, bio-diverse forest habitat.
In addition to the wildlife and bird communities that enjoy this forest, recreation enthusiasts use the area for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and nature viewing. The area is also used for environmental education, including the Spokane Conservation District’s “Kids in the Hills” program for elementary school children.
Without this funding to conserve the Dishman Hills Wild Heart of Spokane project, this land would be at imminent risk of residential development. Thanks to the Dishman Hills Conservancy and the WWRP, this wild place will be permanently protected for wildlife and people alike.
Learn more and see the area for yourself by watching this TV segment about the project!