Region receives more than $600,000 in recreation, conservation grants


Funding for a new community park and improvements for the Yacolt Burn State Forest are part of millions of dollars granted by Washington State’s Recreation and Conservation Funding Board late last month.

On June 30, the board announced its latest series of grants, which includes $622,000 for three projects benefiting local recreation opportunities. The grants total more than $164 million, and are supported by matching funds from grant applicants that bring the total investment to close to $386 million, a release from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office stated.

In Central Clark County, the board awarded $350,000 to develop sports fields at the new Curtin Creek Community Park. According to a project description, Clark County Public Works will build one natural and one synthetic multi-use field at the 16-acre site.

The description notes a lack of sports fields in the county, including the lack of rugby fields. The natural field would be prioritized for that sport, while the synthetic field will be prioritized for soccer.

Future development at the park includes walking paths, wildlife viewing areas, picnic shelters, restrooms and playground areas, the description stated. The county is contributing $1.9 million in cash and a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Yacolt Burn State Forest will also benefit from this round of grant funding. The board granted close to $125,000 to increase parking at the Jones Creek Offroad Vehicle Trailhead north of Camas, a project description read, adding about 31 additional spaces with a focus on vehicles hauling trailers for motorized equipment.

The Department of Natural Resources is also contributing $125,000 in a state appropriation for the project, the description noted.

The state forest will also see greater public safety through another grant, as the board approved more than $147,000 to fund a warden to patrol the Pacific Cascade Region, which includes the forest.

The warden’s will focus on finding potential health, safety, and resource damage concerns, according to a project description, and will also provide public outreach and engage user groups while providing additional enforcement presence. The position will also support volunteers in the Forest Watch program who provide education on forest rules and environmental stewardship.

The warden’s patrol area includes 770 miles of road, 126 miles of trail, eight campgrounds, 11 trailheads and six day-use areas on more than 480,000 acres. Apart from the position, the grant will also fund the purchase of educational materials and equipment intended to deter crime and increase public safety, the project description stated.

The Department of Natural Resources is also contributing $81,500 in staff and donated labor for the grant project. Both grants for the state forest come through the Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities program.

The grants are given on a biennial basis and are “very competitive,” Recreation and Conservation Office Director Megan Duffy said in her office’s release. She added each grant application is ranked by committees of local residents and technical experts to ensure the “most needed and best projects” receive the funding.

“That’s important because nearly 40 percent of the applications remain unfunded,” Duffy said. “There’s just an incredible need out there.”