The Pacific Northwest Trail Association and Hurricane Ridge Education Foundation are two of dozens of groups to receive funds from Washington's Recreation and Conservation Office last week.
Back country trails in 16 counties received grants from the state, totaling nearly $1.4 million.
That includes nearly $70,000 in grant money to the Pacific Northwest Trail Association to fund a youth crew on the Olympic Peninsula. The crew is to maintain the Pacific Northwest Trail through the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park.
Crews trim overgrown bushes, remove downed trees, repair drainage structures and stabilize trail surfaces. The work includes trails starting at the U.S. Forest Service boundary at Snow Creek, over Mount Zion, along the Gold Creek, Lower and Upper Dungeness trails and through the Buckhorn Wilderness, all in the Hood Canal Ranger District.
Crews also will work in the High and Low Divide areas on the Sol Duc River, the upper and lower Bogachiel segment within the national park, the Bogachiel Rain Forest, Mount Mueller and Snider Ridge Trails in the Pacific Ranger District, and the First Beach Trail on the Quileute Reservation.
The association has proposed to contribute more than $67,075 in donations of equipment and labor.
The Hurricane Ridge Education Foundation received $20,000 in state grants and will use this grant to groom 10 miles of Nordic and alpine trails for two years near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. The mountain trails will help beginners and intermediate skiers tackle the terrain, give the Hurricane Ridge Ski Team a place to train and provide a route for visitors to get to the back country.
The foundation proposes to contribute $32,810 in equipment and donations of cash, equipment and labor.
The grants from the federally funded Recreational Trails Program support rehabilitation and maintenance of back country trails, as well as projects to educate trail users about protecting the environment and having a safe experience.
"Walking and hiking are the most popular outdoor activities in Washington, according to our surveys," said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, the entity that administers the grants. "These grants provide funding to maintain trails in some of the more remote areas, making it easier and safer for people to enjoy Washington's great outdoors."
The conservation office estimates the number of Washingtonians who recreate in the state's back country at 33 percent, including those who hike or venture into the back country on bicycles, horses, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel drive vehicles, snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowmobiles.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board was established in 1964 to finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state.
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