Local Parks grants help protect these symbols of vibrant communities, providing places for families to gather and play and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle in an era when people spend increasing amounts of their time inside. The WWRP is the largest source of local parks funding in Washington, helping communities fund the acquisition, development, and renovation of vital recreation areas and green spaces.
The Candy Mountain Acquisition project was a partnership between Benton County as the sponsor and the Friends of Badger Mountain organization as the community organizer, to procure privately held properties on Candy Mountain and the adjoining eastern ridgeline (Goose Gap) for the purpose of establishing a new public park for preservation of native landscape and limited non-motorized recreation. The project was successfully completed in 2016 with the critical assistance of State funds received through the Recreation and Conservation Office. Benton County subsequently created the “Candy Mountain Preserve” public park on 28 June 2016. The specifics of the project changed a little over the course of its completion, but generally remained the same in overall scope: • 8 parcels were acquired, totaling 185 acres (originally 11 acres at 195 acres) • 2 parcels donated to FOBM, totaling 10 acres (no cost to project) • 3 access easements acquired (no cost to project) The project achieves all of its intentions while staying within budget: • Nearly 200 acres of shrub-steppe habitat preserved on the edge of urban area. • Easily accessible parking lot location secured. • Route for trail from parking lot to summit secured. • Viewscape (of city and from city) secured. Post-Project Condition and Future While there are some degraded areas within the property, most of the acreage is good to high-quality shrub-steppe ecology featuring a dense concentration of geologic interest points such as basalt badland and granitic erratics. The property is also dense in wildflowers and other archetypical southeastern Washington flora. We already refer to three elevation zones defined by their featured spring wildflowers – the lower “gold zone” (balsamroot), the middle “pink zone” (phlox), and the upper “blue zone” (lupine). Several projects came underway soon after closing in early 2016 or are on tap, including: • Construction of new trail from parking lot site to summit (completed Fall 2016). • Construction of new parking lot (Spring 2017). • Dedication and recognition of RCO & donors (Spring 2017). • Cleanup projects (throughout 2017). • Plant survey (Spring 2017). • Bird survey (Spring/Summer/Fall 2017). Acknowledgments There are many people to thank for what has amounted to about ten years of work to bring this project to fruition. Most notably we would like to acknowledge: • Two patient landowners who had many opportunities to bail on the project. • Friends of Badger Mountain who lead the community fundraising. • Bechtel and CH2M Hill corporations, for their very large donations. • Most of all, RCO, for its matching contribution, clear guidance through the project, and unending patience with a sponsoring team that does not have much experience with these sorts of projects.