Whidbey Community to Receive $1.9 million for Admiralty Inlet, Camp Casey

April 19, 2012

Funding thanks to leadership of Rep. Norma Smith, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen

Fort Casey, WA — In a last minute agreement before session ended, legislators released their final numbers for the capital construction budget, including $1.9 million for Admiralty Inlet.  These funds help Whidbey Camano Land Trust protect the bluff and old growth forest from development into six high end houses.

Money from the sale will be used by Seattle Pacific University, who own the property, to renovate the Camp Casey conference structures and add additional visitor facilities.

Admiralty Inlet received partial funding as a highly ranked project through a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) grant.  This funding will complete the project and secure a $2 million federal grant.

“This has been one of the most extraordinary land protection projects I’ve been part of and also one of the most taxing.  I was at the point of wondering if it could be done,” said Whidbey Camano Land Trust executive director Pat Powell. “The Land Trust is so incredibly grateful to our legislative champions, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen and Representative Norma Smith, for their vision and commitment to the natural heritage and economic vitality of Whidbey Island. They have taken a stand to protect an irreplaceable treasure while at the same time creating needed jobs on the Island.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the leadership of Senator Haugen and Representative Smith that made this historic conservation effort possible,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which advocates for the grant program.  “Admiralty Inlet, like many WWRP projects around the state, help maintain critical habitat for wildlife, protect our waterways and ensure that outdoor recreation can continue to be major source of income in communities across the state.”

“Seattle Pacific is very pleased that the legislature and governor worked to provide funding to the DNR to sponsor the Admiralty Inlet Preserve purchase. We look forward to working with Whidbey Camano Land Trust to complete the purchase in the months ahead,” said Don Mortensen, Vice President at Seattle Pacific University. “This sale of land will not only preserve this unique property for future generations but also allow SPU to begin improvements at its Camp Casey historic facility which will create jobs and an economic benefit to the region.”

Statewide, renewing WWRP funding is an essential investment in our long term prosperity because of the billions of retail dollars and millions of tax dollars a year that flow to the state and local economies through tourism and outdoor recreation.  Outdoor recreation generates $8.5 billion in revenues annually to Washington’s economy and supports 115,000 jobs.

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’s members consist of a diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition is the key to its success–no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.

What We Do
The Coalition founded the 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, 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 is also the chief advocate in Washington State for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

What is the WWRP?
The WWRP (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 Coalition?
The 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. Its operations instead are entirely funded by the generous contributions of individuals, organizations and corporations.

Web: http://wildliferecreation.org/aboutus
Twitter: http://twitter.com/WildlifeRec