Pierce County News Release
OLYMPIA – The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) released a complete list of projects funded through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) at a June 22 hearing in Olympia. The projects were funded after legislators reached across party lines during the 2011 session to save the WWRP and the vital conservation projects the program funds in communities around the state. Projects funded in Pierce County:
· Peninsula Metropolitan Park will use the $1.26 million DeMolay Property Acquisition grant to protect locally treasured shoreline on Fox Island from development and to create a park that will provide waterfront access.
· The City of Sumner will use the $979,000 Sumner Urban to Mountain Trail grant to build the missing link for 38 continuous miles of trail from Seattle’s Interurban Trail to the Foothills Trail.
· The $587,372 Nisqually State Park-Acquisitions grant will be used to purchase two properties immediately outside of Nisqually State Park that are slated for development.
· The City of University Place will use the $750,000 Leach Creek grant to create a community park with playfields, picnic shelters and walking paths.
· The Town of Eatonville will use the $700,000 Bud Blancher Memorial Trail grant to create a multi use trail that connects to the UW’s Pack Forest.
· The City of Tacoma will use the $500,000 Franklin Park Development grant to improve the existing park and replace a wading pool with a spray ground.
· Pierce County will use $125,000 Frontier Park Renovation-Inclusive Playground grant to replace unsafe playground equipment.
· Pierce County will use the $100,000 Playground by the Sound grant to build a community playground within the local trail system at Chambers Creek Properties.
A complete list of projects is available at wildliferecreation.org.
Supporters of the WWRP around the state, including former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, have stepped forward to commend the legislature for working together to save the program, which not only contributes to the quality of life in Washington but also plays a critical role in our recreation economy.
“I want to applaud the House and Senate leadership, Democrats and Republicans alike, for coming together on this issue,” said Governor Evans, who worked with Governor Lowry to found the Washington Wildlife And Recreation Coalition (WWRC), which advocates for the WWRP. “Funding conservation projects is an important part of maintaining our heritage and way of life in Washington State.”
In addition to the $42 million the legislature approved, which funds more than 55 critical projects statewide, the legislature also ensured that the WWRP maintained it’s integrity, continuing to fund projects using a non-partisan, merit based criteria that has made the WWRP a successful and nationally recognized program.
“Twenty-two years ago, when we founded this coalition, we wanted to create a program that serves generations of Washingtonians to come.” added Governor Lowry. “I join communities around the state in thanking the legislature for these vital recreation and conservation projects which are so important to our quality of life and our economy.”
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy praised the bipartisan effort to preserve the program. “It’s tough to find the resources to protect and enhance areas that contribute to our amazing quality of life,” she said. “I’m really proud of the effort by state and local leaders to support this grant program so that we can enjoy pristine lands and clean waterways for years to come.”
Projects funded by the WWRP will save hundreds of acres of land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat. Renewing WWRP funding is an essential investment in the long-term prosperity of our state because of the number of jobs that outdoor recreation like fishing, hunting and hiking and more brings to our state. Annually, parks and recreation-based activities generate some $8.5 billion in retail dollars and millions in tax dollars, supporting 115,000 jobs statewide.
“It was a long and difficult session, but in the end everyone worked together for a common good,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which advocates for the WWRP. “We are incredibly thankful that both the Senate and the House recognize not only the importance of funding conservation projects and maintaining our heritage, but also in maintaining the integrity of the WWRP.”
About the WWRC
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is a non-profit citizens group founded in a bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. Members consist of a diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming, and community interests. They serve as a watchdog and advocate for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), a state grant program administered by a state agency, the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).