State Gears Up Outdoors Programs with Grant Money

By Paige Browning

Outdoor programs across the state of Washington will share 86-million dollars in grant money over the next two years. Governor Jay Inslee announced Tuesday the outdoors grants will be dealt out in 36 of 39 Washington counties.
 
Okanogan-Similkameen River Watershed, Photo from rco.wa.govFive new campgrounds at the Riverside State Park equestrian area, and better maintenance of Riverside’s Off-road Vehicle Park, will be among dozens of visible results from the grants. Spokane County’s recreation department received a 120-thousand dollar grant to fund a full time officer and better equip the park ranger.

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation funding board issues the grants bi-annually, alongside the state budget. The department’s grants manager Marguerite Austin says some counties received more funding than others, which is mostly a reflection of who applied for 2013-2015. Okanogan County was awarded three-point-one million dollars for one project alone.
 
June Skye: “Basically we’re acquiring habitat for fish and wildlife.”
 
June Skye worked on the grant process for the Similkameen and Okanogan River Watershed, where they plan to purchase private land in order to protect migratory species.

Skye: “So we just try to preserve that for the mule deer and any other creatures that would be in that specific area. Any for the fish as well, the rivers, try to protect the rivers so that we can have salmon for the future.”

$4.9 million total will go to Okanogan County. Among other big recipients, Chelan County will see more than $8 million, for efforts in conservation on the Cascade Mountains, trail development, and boat launches on several lakes, among other things.
 
The full list of grants is online HERE

Photo: Okanogan-Similkameen River Watershed, Photo from rco.wa.gov
 
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