OLYMPIA – The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) today announced the award of more than $1.7 million in grants to fix backcountry trails, groom mountain trails for snowmobilers and restore trails for off-road vehicles.
RCO awarded grants to 28 projects that span 17 counties. For details on each project, click below.
“These grants help get trails ready for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, off-road vehicle riders, and others in the summer and for snowmobilers in the winter,” said Kaleen Cottingham, RCO director. “Without these grants many trails would be closed because of fallen trees and hazardous conditions.”
The trail grants are from the federally-funded Recreational Trails Program, which provides grants for the rehabilitation and maintenance of backcountry trails, as well as projects to educate trail users about protecting the environment and having a safe experience. Funding comes from federal gasoline taxes attributed to recreational, non-highway uses.
Projects are evaluated on criteria including need, project design, cost-effectiveness and community support by volunteer committees of people with expertise in trail-related fields.
“The competition for these grants is very high,” Cottingham said. “That means that only the best projects get funded.”
In Washington, recreation is a big part of the economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Washington generates more than $122 billion in consumer spending and supports 227,000 direct jobs across the state.
“This funding is a valuable piece of making sure that Washington remains a great place to live, work and play,” Cottingham said. “We are investing these funds in the great outdoors because we know how important it is to Washington’s economy and quality of life that we have great places to recreate.”For more information on the agency or its grant programs, visit the Web site: www.rco.wa.gov.