Earlier this month the Washington State and Recreation and Conservation Funding Board announced the awards of more than $5.2 million in grant money to a dozen projects intended to conserve working farm and forest lands.
“These grants help ensure our farms and forests, often at risk of being developed, are still available for growing timber and still available for growing crops and raising livestock,” explained Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, in a press release.
The board was also recently informed that it will receive funding from federal grants for projects that are intended to develop and improve recreational opportunities for boaters and recreationists. Those federal grants total more than $3.9 million that will cover nine projects.
All told there were 21 projects in 11 different counties that received funding from the state. Those allocations include $651,000 for two projects located in Lewis County.
The City of Chehalis received a $500,000 grant that will be used to renovate Recreation Park off of 13th Street. The City intends to replace outdated irrigation and drainage systems for the park’s four ballfields while also replacing large swaths of sod. The 25 year old playground structure will also be replaced with a new set, and pathways will be improved. A project overview noted that the changes will help to make the facilities fully accessible for individuals with disabilities while improving wet weather conditions on the playing surfaces, which have become prone to cancellations due to standing water.
The City of Chehalis will contribute nearly $2 million in cash, a grant from the State Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, as well as cash donations to the project. The project was funded through the state’s Land and Water Conservation fund.
The other $151,000 that was set aside for Lewis County in order to conserve the Olson Farm outside of Napavine. The PCC Farmland Trust will use the grant to purchase a conservation easement intended to permanently protect 121 acres of farmland that is situated between encroaching commercial and residential development. The pastured cattle farm is a third-generation family operation that has been certified organic since the turn of the century.
A project overview provided by the state noted that, “With excellent soils, on-site supporting infrastructure, and ideal access to the markets of Olympia and Tacoma, preservation of this farm provides a unique opportunity to conserve a farm that is almost double the size of the average Lewis County farm.”
The PCC Farmland Trust will contribute $185,800 in federal and private grant money. The project is being funded under the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s Farmland Preservation category.
“In a lot of ways, these projects and the lands they’re on sustain all of us, including the families who have, in many situations, managed the lands for generations. These working farms and forests provide family income, commodities and open space, and help keep Washington green and growing,” added Cottingham.