Twisp, ranger district are big benefitors of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board grants
Several Okanogan County projects and programs, including two in Twisp and several in the Methow Valley Ranger District, have been awarded grants from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, it was announced this week.
The Town of Twisp was awarded $199,504 that will be used to acquire about one-half mile of right-of-way for the Twisp Community Trail. The non-motorized trail along the Methow River will offer viewpoints on the west side of the river and south of Twisp Town Park, as well as trail linkages between the park and nearby neighborhoods. Twisp will contribute $201,650 in equipment, labor, and donations of labor, land, and materials.
Twisp was also awarded a $34,025 grant to help develop tennis courts at the town park.
Currently, there are no tennis courts in town. Twisp will contribute $34,765 in equipment, staff labor, materials, a private grant and donations of labor.
Also of local interest is a $100,000 grant to the U.S. Forest Service for maintenance of Methow Valley campgrounds. The Methow Valley Ranger District will use the grant to maintain 24 campgrounds.
A Forest Service crew will do the maintenance, with the help of volunteer campground hosts stationed at the busiest campgrounds. The Forest Service will contribute $149,920 from a federal appropriation and donations of labor.
The state board awarded more than $110 million to 268 projects around the state to build parks and boating facilities, give people access to shorelines, maintain trails and conserve working farms and critical wildlife habitat. Other Okanogan County projects include:
- The U.S. Forest Service/Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest received a $38,319 grant to assist in educating forest visitors on using mules and horses. The Methow Valley Ranger District will use this grant to fund one seasonal ranger and one volunteer ranger for education and enforcement in high-use stock areas in the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth wilderness areas.
The goal is to promote backcountry practices that demonstrate Leave No Trace techniques, which are designed to minimize the impact of visitors on the environment. Patrols will use horses and mules and contact all user groups, though they will maximize contacts with pack and saddle stock users, and model proper stock use in areas where resource problems are occurring.
In the Pasayten, the patrols will concentrate on camping areas such as Spanish Camp, Corral Lake, Horseshoe Basin, and the Pasayten Airstrip. In the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth areas, patrols will emphasize trails near the Twisp River Horse Camp and popular overnight loops along the Chelan Summit Trail. The Forest Service will contribute $38,600 in equipment and donations of labor.
- The U.S. Forest Service/Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest received a $20,825 grant to maintain trails in the Sawtooth back country. The Methow Ranger District will use the grant to pay for volunteer groups to maintain 46 miles of multiple-use trail adjacent to the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Area southeast of Twisp.
The Forest Service will contribute $18,228 in staff labor and donations of equipment and labor.
- The U.S. Forest Service/Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest received a $31,939 grant to provide climbing rangers in the Methow Valley. The Methow Valley Ranger District will use this grant to pay for two seasonal rangers and two seasonal volunteer rangers to educate climbers on popular Methow Valley climbing routes.
The climbing rangers will educate climbers about environmental and social impacts, gather visitor-use data, determine educational needs and develop educational material, identify environmental impacts, establish and build relationships with local and national climbing organizations, and enforce regulations.The Forest Service will contribute $21,815 in a federal appropriation and donations of labor.
- The U.S. Forest Service/Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest received an $89,500 grant to remove fallen trees and re-open trails. The Methow Ranger District will use this grant to remove trees that have fallen on trails, restoring access to about 325 miles of trail. Volunteers and Forest Service trail crews will work for two years on trails in and around the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth wilderness areas and the North Cascades National Scenic Highway corridor. The Forest Service will contribute $72,252 in staff labor, equipment, and donations of labor.
- The U.S. Forest Service/Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest received an $84,653 grant that will be used to improve campgrounds in the Tonasket Ranger District, which will use the grant to pay for seasonal staff and Job Corps crews to maintain 13 campgrounds: Bonaparte Lake, Lost Lake, Beaver Lake, Crawfish Lake, Lyman Lake, Sugarloaf, Cottonwood, Kerr, Oriole, Salmon Meadows, Long Swamp, Fourteen Mile, and Tiffany Springs. The Forest Service will contribute $52,400 in staff labor and donations of labor.
- The Okanogan Land Trust was granted $277,354 towards conserving 280 acres of the Olma Farmland east of Tonasket. The land trust will buy a voluntary land preservation agreement to ensure the working farm remains available for farming forever.
The Okanogan Land Trust will contribute $283,353 in cash, staff labor, a federal grant and donations of labor
- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received a $325,000 grant to develop the Riverside Access Site on the Okanogan River.
- WDFW received a $534,500 grant to restore the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area through logging and controlled burns. WDFW will use the grant to restore habitat in the Sinlahekin.
The department will log or burn about 1,820 acres, which will improve conditions for wildlife and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
The grants were awarded through seven different programs. Funding was provided by the Legislature in the recently enacted capital budget and by Congress with revenue coming from federal grants, sale of state bonds, gas taxes and user fees.