US Congress funds Klickitat Prairie Park, State WWRP grant status still uncertain
Mossyrock, WA – Thanks to action by Congress in April to continue funding the Land and Water Conservation Program (LWCF), the City of Mossyrock is moving ahead to create its first community park, Klickitat Prairie Park. The LWCF will provide critical funding for Klickitat Prairie Park.
Congress appropriated $301 million for LWCF for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, of which $40 million will likely go towards the state assistance grant program. The City of Mossyrock applied for a state grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) for $327,600 as well as a federal LWCF matching grant worth $307,500 for the Klickitat Prairie Park.
“This means so much to our community; we have been working hard to build a park for our children and were afraid without these funds is may not have happened,” said Rebecca Sutherland, Mossyrock Police Officer and project sponsor. “Thank you to Congress for seeing how important this program is for small towns.”
Mossyrock’s state grant from the WWRP is still uncertain, as legislators remain gridlocked in special session. Both the Senate and the House have agreed that it is important to save the WWRP—the Governor’s budget last December proposed slashing all funding for the program. However, the proposed 80% cut from pre-recession levels to the WWRP by the Senate has supporters worried about the future of the program.
Because there is no public park in the City of Mossyrock, the Klickitat Prairie Park was identified as a community necessity through a variety of meetings and surveys. The state and federal grants will support the first of a three-phased process of acquisition and development of 32.25 acres currently under threat of large scale development in downtown Mossyrock. The proposed plans include sports fields, a playground, picnic areas and walking paths connecting the Community Center and City Hall to the Klickitat Creek.
Created in 1965, the LWCF is funded with offshore oil and gas leasing revenues. The Fund is intended to offset the negative consequences from offshore drilling by reinvesting a small fraction of the federal lease revenues to enhance public access for recreation, protect watersheds and preserve wildlife habitat and open spaces. Though LWCF is not financed by taxpayer money, it has only received full funding of $900 million once in the program’s history.
In addition to the Klickitat Prairie Park, LWCF received funding in this year’s budget for eight federal projects across the state, including Mount St. Helens National Forest, and Nisqually and Willapa National Wildlife Refuges.