Nearly $13 million in grants have been awarded by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board to help build trails, develop waterfront parks, and restore area beaches statewide.
“These grants help local communities make sure that people can recreate safely by providing trails, waterfront boardwalks, and clean beaches, and that these environmentally sensitive areas are taken care of, so they can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants for the board.
Cottinghman noted $21.6 billion is spent annually Washington state on recreation trips and equipment — with nearly 25% of that amount coming from out-of-state visitors — and outdoor recreation supports nearly 200,000 jobs, rivaling industries such as technology (191,000 jobs supported) and aerospace (94,200 jobs supported).
“It just makes sense to invest in outdoor recreation,” she added.
In the South Sound, grant funds were awarded to three notable projects:
- The Lewis County Public Works Department was awarded $227,750 to help purchase 1.6 acres of land near Packwood and pave a parking lot, add a restroom, and build a gravel pedestrian pathway that will offer visitors, such as anglers fishing for steelhead and salmon, better access to the Cowlitz River.
- The City of Lakewood was awarded $500,000 to improve 17-acre Harry Todd Park, located near American Lake. The city plans to combine the grant with $700,000 in cash and separate grant funding to create ADA accessible pathways, replace a failing bulkhead, improve access for fishing, and upgrade open spaces and picnic areas.
- Pierce County Parks and Recreation was awarded $150,000 to build a pedestrian bridge over Chambers Creek that will connect visitors to Chambers Creek canyon. The project is a partnership between the City of Lakewood, City of University Place, and Pierce County, which will contribute an additional $150,000.
In total, 40 projects received funding in the following Washington state counties: Benton County ($500,000); Chelan County ($313,587); Clark County ($645,416); Cowlitz County ($500,000); Garfield County ($2,606); King County ($3,169,041); Kitsap County ($670,736); Kittitas County ($150,500); Lewis County ($227,750); Lincoln County ($146,418); Okanogan County ($74,250); Pierce County ($650,000); Skagit County ($603,400); Snohomish County ($1,500,000); Spokane County ($1,504,186); Whatcom County ($1,020,000); Yakima County ($111,538); and multiple counties ($64,800).
A complete list is available online here.