Staff head to Eastern Washington to meet with the Tri-Cities and local conservation advocates.
Coalition staff traveled to the Tri-Cities and neighboring counties to strengthen relationships with local partners and beneficiaries of the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program (WWRP) and the Land & Water Conservation Fund. The trip included meetings with groups in Washington’s fourth congressional district including Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland, as well as Benton, Franklin, and Yakima Counties. The Coalition also met with the Richland Rod & Gun Club and Friends of Badger Mountain.
“Building a statewide coalition isn’t the kind of thing you can just phone in,” said Ethan Fetz, Outreach Coordinator for the Coalition. “maintaining these face-to-face relationships is key to our mutual strength and truly understanding the varied issues that our partners face across the state.”
Outreach efforts in these communities will continue throughout the year to help build a stronger coalition of voices for WWRP and LWCF.
The LWCF, in particular, is an important source of funding for Central and Eastern Washington communities. As the nation’s premier grant program to protect our parks, trails, wildlife habitat, working forests and open spaces, the Coalition’s outreach efforts are critical in helping secure permanent reauthorization.
There have been over fifty stateside LWCF projects in Washington’s fourth congressional district and about 15 million dollars invested in improving recreational and conservation opportunities. Projects, like the regional Sacagawea Heritage Trail in the City of Kennewick is a prime example of how the LWCF can meet the high priority recreation needs of a young and growing community.
In 2005, the project constructed 1.6 miles of a 12 foot wide meandering regional trail and amenities along the Columbia River on top of the riverfront U.S. Army Corps Levee 5D. Later LWCF funds also provided more trail amenities such as additional benches and picnic sites, a basketball court, and trees for natural shade and improved wildlife habitats.
LWCF investments in this project have helped fulfill several public recreational needs in the Kennewick community. The trail serves all age groups and supports activities such as walking, bicycling, skating, jogging, bird watching, pet walking, along with watching the river and all the recreational activities on the water. The additional amenities and improvements have allowed more opportunities for picnicking, basketball and new trail routes.