State grants $5 million-plus for Clallam recreation facilities, wildlife habitat

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board announced last week the award of more than $126 million in grants to a suite of 333 projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat and working farms and forests around the state.

The list of projects includes almost $5.2 million in projects for Clallam County.

“Not only do these grants support our state’s parks, forests and farms, but they also fuel a powerful outdoor recreation economy that puts about 200,000 people to work and generates more than $26 billion in spending every year,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“At a time when public lands are more and more at risk of being developed or lost altogether, these grants prioritize our outdoor spaces so that current and future generations can continue to enjoy and protect them.”

With the Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget, grants are being distributed to cities, counties, state and federal agencies, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations for projects in 37 of the state’s 39 counties.

The grants were awarded through seven different grant programs. Revenue comes from a mix of federal grants, the sale of state bonds, gas taxes and user fees.

Clallam County projects

North Olympic Land Trust, Preserving Dungeness Farmland — $559,771

The North Olympic Land Trust will buy a conservation easement to protect 104 acres of farmland on Towne Road as part of a $1.1 million project. It includes $560,000 from the trust to purchase the easement from a private landowner.

“The land is at significant risk of being converted to residential development, with successful subdivisions adjacent and at least 11 building sites, according to a recent development analysis, the state Recreation and Conservation Office said in the awards announcement.

“All but one building right will be extinguished with the conservation easement.”

The grant was awarded by the state Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Completion of Spruce Railroad Trail — $1,999,950

The Clallam County Public Works Department will use this Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant to build the last two miles of trail built on the historic 1918 Spruce Railroad grade between the McFee Tunnel and Daley-Rankin Tunnel.

The entire four miles of the Spruce Railroad Trail in Olympic National Park will receive a refreshed gravel surface and paving. The county also will extend the trail 0.2 mile north down the Lyre River ravine.

This project will provide a safe, 10-mile trail for all non-motorized visitors, bypassing US Highway 101 around Lake Crescent.

The restored trail includes measures to enhance rock fall safety and a new bridge near the Daley-Rankin Tunnel.

Clallam County will contribute more than $2.1 million in a federal appropriation, cash and a private grant, for a total of $4,185,000.

City of Port Angeles, filling gap in Olympic Discovery Trail — $1,421,700

The City of Port Angeles will use this grant to build a missing gap of the Olympic Discovery Trail, completing a local vision 35 years in the making to develop a continuous 11.5-mile trail corridor for local, regional and international use.

This proposed trail segment will replace a poorly signed, steep and dangerous roadside shoulder with a trail that’s accessible to people with disabilities and travels along a forested marine bluff.

The $2 million project, including a $600,000 city of Port Angeles match, will fill a gap in the Olympic Discovery Trail in Port Angeles by developing .75 miles of trail just north of Hill Street, up a marine bluff to Crown Park west of downtown.

A viewpoint also will be developed as part of the grant from the state Wildlife and Recreation Program.

“It’s going to have great views and connect to a city view,” city assistant planner Ben Braudrick said.

Hill Street does not have a curb and is dangerous for pedestrians, he said.

“It’s going to create a lot more convenience for the entire west side of town,” Braudrick added.

Completion of the Hill Street bluff portion of a three-phase ODT improvement project in Port Angeles is slated for 2021-2022.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, boat launch in Sekiu — $1,000,000

The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this Boating Facilities Program grant to buy about 6.5 acres of a private fishing resort at Sekiu in Clallam County.

The land includes a four-lane boat launch and boat trailer parking and two additional overflow parking areas away from the main launching site.

These launches accommodate all sizes of trailer-able boats at most tides, giving recreational boaters access to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Washington Department of Natural Resources, off-road trails near Port Angeles — $197,758

The Department of Natural Resources will use this Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicles Activities program grant to maintain 36 miles of off-road vehicle trails and trail heads in the foothills and Sadie Creek trail systems near Port Angeles.

Activities will include rerouting trails, clearing trail, maintaining culverts, hardening sections of trail with crushed rock and maintaining bridges and signs. Trailhead duties include maintaining restrooms and signs and removing garbage.

The primary recreation opportunity provided by this project will be safe and sustainable off-road vehicle trails and facilities.

The department will contribute $132,000 in equipment, staff labor, materials, and donations of labor.