WHY WE PLAN
The 2018-2022 Recreation and Conservation Plan for Washington State provides a strategic direction for how local, regional, state, and federal agencies, together with tribal governments, and private and non-profit partners, can assure the effective and adequate provision of outdoor recreation and conservation to meet the needs of Washington State residents. It lays the foundation and context that will help guide decisions and determine how to invest limited funding on the most important recreation and conservation needs. The governor-appointed Recreation and Conservation Funding Board developed a Unifying Strategy with goals to implement this plan.
Washington State’s excellent interconnected systems of parks, trails, natural areas, and waterways equitably provide for diverse recreation pursuits while conserving critical landscapes for the benefit of people, plants, and animals that live here. This statewide system is supported by public and private partners and is a driving factor in Washington State’s economic success, human and ecological health, and overall quality of life.
As the state’s population grows by 2 million people (or 26 percent) by 2040 and lands develop to accommodate them, the space for recreation and conservation also must expand and diversify to meet the needs of the current and future populations. While more than 90 percent of Washingtonians recreate outside today, this plan lays the groundwork to ensure the next generation has the same opportunities.
Outdoor recreation at parks, trails, and conservation lands contributes $21.6 billion to the state economy each year. The natural beauty of Washington State is one of the key factors that attract businesses here. Investing in parks, trails, and conservation lands to keep pace with growth is essential to keeping our economic prospects high.
ROLE IN AGENCY PLANNING
ROLE IN AGENCY PLANNING
The 2018-2022 Recreation and Conservation Plan is intended to meet requirements of the National Park Service to create a state comprehensive outdoor recreation plan to maintain eligibility for federal Land and Water Conservation Funds. The Federal Highways Administration also requires states to use a state comprehensive outdoor recreation plan or trails plan to guide funding in the Recreational Trails Program.
In addition, this Web site meets the requirements for the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board and the Recreation and Conservation Office to create plans for:
Purpose The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (board) Boating Plan informs its decision-making in prioritizing its investments in recreational boating in Washington State. Goal Align grant funding with the needs of recreational boaters and facility providers. Authority Statement This plan is authorized by Revised Code of Washington 79A.25.005 and 79A.25.020. This plan relies on theRead more
Purpose The 2018 Washington State Trails Plan intends to foster a trails system to promote the public’s enjoyment and appreciation for outdoor areas of Washington. The trails system supports multiple benefits beyond recreation such as improving health, contributing to local economies, linking to transportation routes, and conserving wildlife corridors. This plan guides decisions and determinesRead more
Purpose The 2018 Washington State Community Outdoor Athletic Facilities Plan provides a strategic direction to meet the needs of Washington State residents in the next 5 years. It is meant to guide decisions and determine how to invest limited funding on the most important athletic facility needs. Athletics are any form of exercise, sports, orRead more
Purpose The Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicles Activities Grant Program Plan (NOVA Plan) is a coordinated strategy that informs the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (board) in the administration of NOVA grants. Goal The goal of the NOVA Plan is to improve program processes and policies to fund projects that best create, improve, and maintain diverseRead more
Finally, other organizations may use this Web site to direct their work on outdoor recreation and conservation needs. In this regard, these priorities serve to guide federal, state, and local planning and decisions for outdoor recreation and conservation throughout Washington State.
The goal of the 2018-2022 Recreation and Conservation Plan is to identify the near and long-term priorities to meet the needs of residents for outdoor recreation and conservation in Washington State. Priorities may be broad or narrow in scope. Priorities also may be general for the state or specifically focused on certain recreation and conservation needs. Specific actions are identified within each priority to set a course for achieving it.
These state and federal laws authorize the development of the 2018-2022 Recreation and Conservation Plan:
- Land and Water Conservation Act Section 6(d)
- Recreational Trails Program in Title 23 of the United States Code Section 206
- Strategic plan for recreation and conservation in Revised Code of Washington 79A.25.020(3)
- Unified strategy for outdoor recreation needs in Revised Code of Washington 79A.25.005(1)(a)
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board adopted the plan on October 11, 2017.
This recreation and conservation plan includes five priority areas to meet the needs of Washington State residents. Refer to the Research and Findings section of the plan for support of these priorities.
This priority includes five recommendations to sustain the existing parks, trails, and conservancy system. It also addresses the need to expand opportunities to keep up with the growing population.
There are four recommendations to address the needs of traditionally underserved populations as well as a focus on providing opportunities that are in high demand and located where people like to go most.
The demographics of Washington State is changing and the types of recreation activities is also changing. This priority includes two recommendations to address the need to shift resources based on these changing demographics
This priority has three recommendations on providing recreation facilities and programming for youth.
To compete with limited funding, this priority includes 5 recommendations to position recreation and conservation as a service that is on par with other public services like roads, water, sewer and health.
The Research and Findings page provides background information, resources, and support for recommendations in the 2018-2022 Recreation and Conservation Plan. The research focuses on the Washington State’s demographics such as changes in population growth, age structure, race and ethnic diversity, and income levels. The Research and Findings page also includes data related to amount of public land in the state as of 2014.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board is a governor-appointed board that helps finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. The Unifying Strategy is the board’s vision for implementing recommendations in the State Recreation and Conservation Plan.
 Washington State Office of Financial Management, Post-censal Estimates of April 1 Population, 1960 to Present” 2017.http://www.ofm.wa.gov/pop/april1/hseries/ofm_april1_postcensal_estimates_pop_1960-present.xlsx
 Jostad, Schultz, Chase, “State of Washington 2017 Assessment of Outdoor Recreation Demand Report” 2017. http://www.rco.wa.gov/StateRecPlans/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Assessment-of-Demand.pdf
 Earth Economics, “Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State” 2017. https://rco.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/EconomicAnalysisOutdoorRec.pdf
 CNBC, “America’s Top State for Business 2017” 2017. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/americas-top-states-for-business-2017.html