State funds Steptoe Butte road, land purchase

May 9, 2019

The recently passed capital construction budget includes funding for Steptoe Butte State Park, reports the Whitman County Gazette. A Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program (WWRP) grant will help purchase property from a willing private seller to create a natural area near the park. The project conserves the largest known remaining occurrence of Palouse prairie in Washington.


The new two-year Washington state budget passed by the legislature April 29 features two likely projects for Steptoe Butte.

The second item comes from the Department of Natural Resources, with $1,239,000 marked for acquisition of private property on the butte by the Recreation Conservation Office.

“We have very high confidence that acquisition grant will be funded,” said Larry Leach, DNR State Lands Assistant Region Manager.

The legislature designates money to go to the state’s Recreation Conservation Office (RCO), which disperses grants to multiple agencies including State Parks, DNR and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In 2016, private citizens Ray and Joan Folwell and Kent Bassett bought a 437-acre piece of land at the base of Steptoe Butte to preserve as native prairie. Since then they have been in contact with the DNR and State Parks, among other organizations, which have shown interest in buying the land.

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