Projects increase outdoor access, promote conservation
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) today announced a $793,030 grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. These funds will finance three Washington projects to promote outdoor recreation and conservation.
The projects include:
- The long-awaited completion of the Point Defiance Missing Link in Tacoma. ($500,000)
- Renovation at a public pool in Chehalis that serves thousands of children each summer. ($250,000)
- Partial funding to preserve Bothell’s last urban forest, North Creek Forest. ($43,030)
“This trail segment is a key investment in increasing both outdoor access and economic vitality in this community,” said state legislator Representative Jake Fey (WA-27) on the Missing Link project. “I thank Congressmen Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer for supporting the LWCF and this grant to complete a renowned trail, work we have already begun at the state level.”
“Thanks to Representative Hererra Beutler’s support for LWCF, the city of Chehalis will be able to use this grant to ensure our children continue to have a safe place to play and learn to swim each summer,” said Court Stanley of Port Blakely Tree Farms on renovation for the Chehalis Pool.
“Without this LWCF grant, we risk losing Bothell’s last urban forest. That would be a tragedy not only for the wildlife who call these woods home, but also for the community members who walk these paths and the students who use it as an outdoor laboratory,” Jim Freese of Friends of North Creek Forest said. “We’re grateful for partial funding this year, but this calls attention to the need for full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
The federal grants for the Chehalis Pool and Point Defiance Missing Link were made possible by matching dollars from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the state’s primary funding source for parks, trails, and conservation.
This is the second LWCF grant North Creek Forest has received.
These projects represent an investment in Washington’s $22.5 billion outdoor recreation economy and in the high quality of life that supports the state’s families and businesses.
Created by Congress in 1965, LWCF is the nation’s premier federal grant program for conservation and outdoor recreation. The program uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, $900 million in offshore oil and gas lease revenue is meant to be invested in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities each year. However, year after year Congress diverts a majority of LWCF funds for unrelated purposes.
“Full dedicated funding for LWCF is essential to ensure that more of these investments are successful in communities across Washington. We thank Senators Cantwell and Murray and our bipartisan Representatives in Congress, for their work to ensure protection for our outdoors,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.
Lack of full funding for the program has created a huge backlog of unmet need. This year, nine unfunded projects, including Tacoma’s Peninsula at Point Defiance, will move to next year’s funding list.
This program continues to receive strong bipartisan support. A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates found that 85 percent of American voters think their Member of Congress should honor the commitment to fund conservation through LWCF. More than seven-in-ten American voters agree that “even with federal budget problems, funding to safeguard land, air, and water should not be cut.”
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 promotes public funding for Washington’s outdoors through the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Members consist of a diverse group of over 280 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition are the key to its success–no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.