02/01/2018: "Big Bucks Awarded To SJC Projects"
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board this week announced the award of State Awards $3,768,745.00 in Grants for SJC Outdoor Recreation/Conservation Projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat.
“These grants are important to strengthening Washington’s economy and retaining our way of life,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “They will build parks, trails and boating facilities, and conserve working farms and critical wildlife habitat - all the things that make Washington a great place to live, work and operate a business.”
With the Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget, grants are being distributed to cities, counties, state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations for projects in 35 of the state’s 39 counties.
The grants were awarded through nine different grant programs. Revenue comes from a mix of federal grants, the sale of state bonds, gas taxes and user fees.
Click below to see a description of the San Juan County grants:
**Deer Harbor Marina
Grant Awarded: $191,760
Expanding Deer Harbor Marina**
Deer Harbor Marina LLC in San Juan County will use this grant to buy and install two new floats, adding 380 feet of visitor moorage. A 120-foot-long float will extend east of the marina’s dogleg dock towards the fuel dock, adding 240 feet of moorage on the south end of the marina. A 70-foot-long float will add 140 feet of moorage on the north side of the marina. The new floats will add much needed nightly moorage space in the heart of the San Juan Islands, one of the busiest cruising grounds in Washington State and on the West Coast. These floats also will protect the current visitor moorage from southerly winds and vessel wakes in Deer Harbor. Deer Harbor is on the southwest side of Orcas Island in the center of the international boating destination of the San Juan Islands. Deer Harbor Marina averages 3,000 boater nights a year.
The floats will expand the visitor moorage capacity of the marina by 18 percent and adequately meet the need of the growing boating community. Deer Harbor Marina will contribute $133,24
This grant is from the Boating Infrastructure Grant program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project.
**Port of Friday Harbor
Grant Awarded: $609,760**
Renovating Visitor Moorage in the Port of Friday Harbor
The Port of Friday Harbor will use this grant to renovate 76 visitor moorage slips for boats 26 to 40 feet long in the Friday Harbor Marina on San Juan Island. The Port will replace the waler and install new power pedestals and a guest services check-in kiosk. Renovating these moorage slips, which were built in 1985, is the highest priority in the port’s waterfront master plan.
Located in the San Juan Islands, the 500-slip marina is the central guest moorage hub. It is next to Washington State ferries and hosts a U.S. Customs Port of Entry and international seaplane base. The marina welcomes more than 15,000 overnight guest boaters a year and is one of the busiest recreational harbors on the West Coast. Fees from visitor moorage make up 22 percent of the port's annual marina budget. The Port of Friday Harbor will contribute $214,240. This grant is from the Boating Infrastructure Grant program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project.
**San Juan County Land Bank
Grant Awarded: $1,067,225
Buying Zylstra Lake and Shoreline**
The San Juan County Land Bank will use this grant to buy 280 acres including Zylstra Lake and its shoreline, on San Juan Island. The lake is well known to islanders and visitors as shimmering water in the distance. Highly visible from San Juan Valley Road, the land has been privately owned since the days of early settlement. Ironically for an island, San Juan has virtually no public access to water warm enough for swimming. Private lakes, where the community used to go are now off limits, except for a small private lake used for sailing programs.
The County envisions a park along the lake that gives people access to the water for paddle-powered craft, along with nature trails for walking. Zylstra, with its central location on the island, ample shoreline, and large, 50-acre area, is critical to restoring access to the water for the public. The San Juan County Land Bank will contribute more than $1.2 million in a federal grant and a voter-approved levy.
This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project
**San Juan County Land Bank
Grant Awarded: $1,000,000
Conserving Mount Grant**
The San Juan County Land Bank will use this grant to buy 121 acres on Mount Grant, which is near the center of San Juan Island, in San Juan County. Views from the summit extend nearly 360 degrees, taking in Vancouver Island, Turtleback Mountain and Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, Mount Baker, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and more. Already subdivided for development, the land has a road to the summit allowing access for people with limited mobility. The land bank also has completed trails around the summit. While the area is open to the public, nearly half of the $3 million purchase price remains unfunded. Mount Grant is unique on San Juan Island, where all other ridges and hilltops are privately owned or accessibly only by trail. For many, the first trip to the top is a revelation of something they had never imagined seeing on the island, a spectacular mountain-top preserve accessible to all. The San Juan County Land Bank will contribute $2 million in voter-approved bonds and donations of cash.
A recent study noted that outdoor recreation is a huge part of the state’s economy with $21.6 billion spent in Washington on recreation trips and equipment annually, including $3.4 billion by out-of-state visitors. Outdoor recreation also supports nearly 200,000 jobs, rivaling the technology and aerospace industries.
“Investments in outdoor recreation pay many dividends,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers these grants. “Not only do these grants bring money and jobs to the economy, but spending time outdoors improves the mental and physical health of both kids and adults, and that saves money down the line in costs for health care. Equally important, preserving and protecting natural areas for us to enjoy conserves habitat for fish and other animals, protects clean air and water and reduces pollution.”
All of the funded projects were evaluated and ranked through a competitive process in which citizen committees with expertise in recreation and conservation issues evaluated the grant proposals and created ranked lists for the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, and in some cases, the Governor and state Legislature to consider for funding.
“Overall, we have funding only for about half the demand,” Cottingham said. “The process ensures that the state invests strategically in only the best projects.”
The office accepted applications for 529 projects, requesting nearly $239 million. Most of the grant programs require grant applicants to contribute matching resources. This year, the matching resources totaled nearly $107 million, nearly doubling the state’s investment in Washington’s outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.
Of the nearly $116 million in grants, more than $38 million goes to build or improve parks, more than $19 million goes each to improve facilities for boaters and to maintain trails, nearly $7 million goes to conserve working farms and another $31 million goes to protect important wildlife habitat. New this year were grants to protect commercial forests: Two projects were awarded funding for $700,000.
“Our population is growing, and prices are going nowhere but up,” Cottingham said. “The best time to invest in outdoor recreation is right now. The more we invest now, the more we save in the future, and the more future generations will benefit.”