Two weeks left to volunteer to help determine future of Wash. outdoors

June 3, 2013

RCO requests 6 volunteers to evaluate WWRP grant proposals

OLYMPIA- Six volunteers are needed to work with the Recreation and Conservation Office in evaluating grant applications for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

For more than 20 years, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) has been the state’s primary source of funding for parks, trails, and wildlife habitat and is the only source of state funding for working farms.

In a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition founded the WWRP in 1989 to address the need for preserving more land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat.

The Coalition continues to be the primary advocate and watch dog for the WWRP. In 24 years, the Coalition has leveraged more than $1 billion for projects in every county across the state.

“Volunteers are essential to the integrity of the WWRP,” said Joanna Grist, executive director for the Coalition. “This program’s success relies on community members who are passionate about preserving Washington’s outdoors to both give their time to evaluate projects and to propose projects that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

The WWRP is funded in the state’s capital construction budget and grants for community projects are funded based on availability of funds and the project’s ranking. The RCO’s ranking system is award winning and nationally recognized as a model for ensuring only the best projects receive funding. 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. The Governor and Legislature set the funding level and approve the project list.

The RCO has released the following requirements for WWRP evaluators:

  • One volunteer should be from a recreational organization or parks board and three should be from local government. These volunteers will evaluate grant applications from state agencies and will serve on the State Lands Development and Renovation Advisory Committee.
  • Two volunteers should work for local government and have experience managing parks for a diverse range of recreational activities. These volunteers will evaluate grant applications to buy land, build or improve local parks and will serve on the Local Parks Advisory Committee.
  • One volunteer is also needed to evaluate trail requests.

Applications are available on the RCO’s website. The deadline is June 14, 2013. WWRP grant applications are due May 1, 2014.