THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON’S RECREATION AND CONSERVATION OFFICE
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board announced the award of 342 grants across the state to provide recreational amenities, conserve wildlife habitat and protect working forests and farms.
“These grants are fundamental to keeping Washington the beautiful state it is,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The funding comes from state and federal sources and is invested in hundreds of projects to give our kids places to play, ensure our food is grown close to home and keep our green spaces healthy for wildlife.”
The grants total more than $164 million and are matched by more than $221 million in resources from grant applicants, such as cash, donations, staff time and equipment, bringing the total investment in Washington’s great outdoors to nearly $386 million.
The grants will be spent on projects in all of Washington’s 39 counties and include projects to refurbish aging parks, maintain trails, build boating docks and conserve land used for farming and timber harvest. The grants also will conserve important habitat for wildlife species in danger of extinction.
“Washington wouldn’t be Washington without these grants,” said Ted Willhite, chair of the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. “Washington is known for its rich outdoor spaces that provide everything from jobs to places for us to exercise and relax, to homes for wildlife. Our studies have shown that people spend $26.5 billion annually on outdoor recreation trips and equipment in Washington. That spending supports 264,000 jobs or 6 percent of all jobs in Washington, which rivals the aerospace industry. It is a wise decision to invest in something so important to so many areas of our lives.”
The grants come from 10 different grant programs administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Grants are awarded once every 2 years.
“The grants are very competitive,” said Megan Duffy, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which supports the funding board. “Every grant is evaluated by advisory committees made up of local residents and technical experts. They rank the applications ensuring that the most needed and best projects rise to the top. That’s important because nearly 40 percent of the applications remain unfunded. There’s just an incredible need out there.”