Park opens thanks to grants from state and federal funds
CAMAS – Camas will celebrate the dedication of Fallen Leaf Lake Park this evening, thanks to grants totaling $1.5 million from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. U.S. Senator Patty Murray will be the keynote speaker.
The Camas Parks and Recreation Department will officially dedicate the park with 55 acres of shoreline, forest, and wetlands on the 20-acre Fallen Leaf Lake at the north edge of the city. Due to limited room, the event is by invitation only.
Fallen Leaf Lake is part of an interconnected system of three lakes, known as the Lacamas Corridor, which includes Round and Lacamas Lakes. Camas and other partners already have helped preserve more than 800 acres within the corridor, and Fallen Leaf Lake is the last major acquisition to complete the community’s vision for a linked system of waterfront parks and habitat. The land borders 45 acres of forested hillside that are preserved by the Columbia Land Trust. Historically, this site served as a private park and includes a large picnic shelter and tables.
A grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program contributed $1 million to the project, and a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund contributed $500,000. The city contributed $567,800 toward the project.
“Senator Murray has been a longtime supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a champion for Washington’s natural heritage and outdoor legacy,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. The Coalition of business and conservation leaders and sportsmen advocates for recreation, conservation, and wildlife habitat funding through the WWRP and federal LWCF.
“State Senator Joseph Zarelli and Representatives Ann Rivers and Ed Orcutt also deserve our thanks and recognition for their support of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program this year,” added Grist. “The Coalition applauds them for standing up for our communities and our families by keeping Washington a desirable place to live and work.”
Peter Mayer, Director of Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation, will also speak as a member of Washington’s Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, which oversees grants from both WWRP and LWCF.
The ceremony will also include statements from Camas Mayor Scott Higgins, Glenn Lamb, Executive Director of the Columbia Land Trust, and Clark County Commissioner Mark Bolt.
About the WWRC
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. Our members consist of a diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming, and community interests. Our breadth and diversity is the key to our success–no one member of the Coalition could secure this level of funding for parks and habitat on their own!
What We Do
The Coalition founded the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (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 or RCO, 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 also advocates for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
What is the LWCF?
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) supports federal acquisition and conservation easements of our nation’s most precious lands and waters, and provides matching funds for state and local entities to acquire and develop recreational opportunities in almost every county of the nation. The Forest Legacy Program, which is funded through LWCF, provides grants to states to protect working forests and water quality and provide access for recreation. Created in 1965, the LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million annually in federal revenue from oil and gas leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf. The LWCF, however, has been chronically shortchanged in the annual budget and appropriations process, with funding consistently diverted to other purposes.
What is the WWRP?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (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 WWRC?
The WWRC, or 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—instead we rely entirely on the generous contributions of individuals, organizations, and corporations for our operation.