The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is handing out nearly $3.8 million in grants this summer for several major trail and park projects throughout Clark County.
The package is just a small piece of a much larger pie. Altogether, the agency is giving out more than $110 million for 268 projects throughout the state this year.
The money will go toward building parks and boating facilities, opening access to waterways, maintaining trails, and conserving farms and wild lands. In a prepared statement released Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee said the grants will make a difference for communities that depend on tourism and outdoor recreation for economic survival.
“Washington’s outdoor recreation industry is as important to our economy as our technology and aerospace industries,” Inslee said. “Making sure we take good care of our outdoor places is important to many businesses and families in this state.”
The largest piece of the package for Clark County is a $1.7 million grant to help offset the cost of construction on Washougal’s new waterfront park and trail along the Columbia River just east of the Port of Camas-Washougal. In all, the project is expected to cost about $2.6 million, and the port will make up the difference.
Construction on the 5.73-acre park and 0.7-mile trail is scheduled to begin in August, and the project should wrap up by next spring. The site was long home to the Hambleton Lumber Co., which closed in 2010.
David Ripp, the port’s executive director, said he envisions the former mill site becoming a popular hangout for locals. Sitting just off of Highway 14 and only 1.5 miles from downtown Washougal, the new park and trail will offer easy access to the river.
The port owns roughly two-thirds of the property. The rest belongs to Killian Pacific, a Vancouver-based real estate developer that plans to bring new commercial space to the remaining third of the old industrial site.
The package also includes a $1 million grant for Vancouver’s new 7-acre waterfront park and money for new trails and a bridge in the Yacolt Burn State Forest. For more information on other local projects receiving the grants, visit www.rco.wa.gov.