As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) used this grant to acquire 817.44 acres lying between Merrill Lake and the Kalama River. The property is located approximately 16 miles north of Cougar, Washington in Cowlitz County. The purchase provides long-term protection of habitat used by steelhead, Coho, elk, marten, Chinook, western toad, spotted owl, and osprey, and ensure public access to Merrill Lake and the shorelines of the Kalama River.