Deadline approaching for park, wildlife, farmland grants
Cities, nonprofits, parks departments all eligible to apply
Olympia–The May 1st application deadline is approaching quickly for Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) grants. These grants have provided cities, counties, nonprofits and local parks districts with much-needed funds for critical recreation and conservation projects in local communities.
Over 90 grant applications already have been submitted.
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program is a state grant program that has funded over 1,000 parks and ball fields, walking and biking trails, local beaches and boat launches, wildlife habitat and working farms in communities across Washington State. To date, cities have received $141 million in WWRP grants and counties have received $99 million.
“Communities small and large in all corners of Washington have used WWRP grants to define the quality of life of our state,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which advocates for the WWRP, “From biking trails in Wenatchee and soccer fields in Vancouver to elk habitat in the hills outside Richland, these grants provide recreation opportunities for our children and grandchildren.”
Receiving an average $55 million in state capital bond dollars every biennium, the WWRP is not only critical for the protection of Washington’s incredible natural heritage but also plays a key role in our state’s recreation economy.
“Funding the WWRP is an essential investment in the long-term prosperity of our state,” said Michael Collins, a Vice President at REI and a board member of the Coalition. “Annually, parks and recreation-based activities generate some $8.5 billion in retail dollars and millions in tax dollars, supporting 115,000 jobs statewide.”
Individuals interested in submitting a grant for this year should visit the Web site of the Recreation and Conservation Office, the state agency that administers the WWRP grants, at www.rco.wa.gov/grants/wwrp.shtml.
About the Coalition
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. The Coalition’s members consist of a diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition is the key to its success–no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.
What We Do
The Coalition founded the WWRP grant program in 1989 to address the need to preserve more land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat. A state agency, the Recreation and Conservation Office, reviews, ranks, and distributes the grants through a competitive process that guarantees that only the best new park, habitat and farm projects are funded. The Coalition lobbies the Governor and the Legislature, which sets the funding level and approves the final list of projects.
The Coalition is also the chief advocate in Washington State for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
About the RCO
The RCO is a small state agency that manages grant programs to create outdoor recreation opportunities, protect the best of the state’s wildlife habitat and farmland, and help return salmon from near extinction. Questions about the RCO should go to Susan Zemek at (360) 902-3081.
What is the WWRP?
The WWRP (RCW 79A.15) is a state grant program funded from the capital construction budget that provides funding to protect habitat, preserve working farms and creates new local and state parks. Independent experts rank the applications based on criteria such as the benefits to the public, level of threat to the property or presence of threatened or endangered species.
What is the difference between the WWRP and the Coalition?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is the non-profit citizens group that serves as the watchdog and advocate for the WWRP grant program. The WWRP is a state grant program funded by the Legislature and administered by the RCO. The Coalition receives no funding from the state. Its operations instead are entirely funded by the generous contributions of individuals, organizations and corporations.