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Thu., April 7, 2011, 7:21 a.m.

Antoine Peak land deal back in running for state funding

Spokane County Parks Director Doug Chase takes a picture from the top of Antoine Peak just north of the Spokane Valley. The county is hoping to buy a 1,000-acre piece of land to preserve the wildllife and make it available to non-motorized use. (J. Bart Rayniak)
Spokane County Parks Director Doug Chase takes a picture from the top of Antoine Peak just north of the Spokane Valley. The county is hoping to buy a 1,000-acre piece of land to preserve the wildllife and make it available to non-motorized use. (J. Bart Rayniak)

PUBLIC LANDS -- A prized Spokane Valley wild area north of I-90 and near Forker Road is back in the running for state funding assistance in the last of three purchase phases started under the Spokane County Conservation Futures program.

The House of Representatives announced Tuesday at its hearing for the state capital construction budget that the Spokane County area is pegged to receive over $2.1 million in funding for Antione Peak and Betz Park Baseball/Softball Fields.  

The projects are a part of a proposed $50 million appropriation to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), which funds high priority wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation projects across the state.

Spokane County Parks would use the $1.63 million Antione Peakgrant to protect elk and mule deer habitat and create hiking and mountain biking trails immediately outside the city.  

Cheney Parks will use the $500,000 Betz Park Baseball/Softball Fieldsgrant to create two ball fields for the community to use.

Projects funded by the WWRP -- a highly respected grant program with bipartisan support that had been slated for near elimination in Gov. Gregoire's proposed budget -- are determined using scientifically based, objective criteria.  However, these grants could be put at risk if the Senate cuts funding for the program or alters the selection criteria for which projects receive funding.

“We are thrilled to see that the House of Representatives understands the critical role that preservation projects like [this one] play in local communities across the state,” said Joanna Grist, WWRP executive director.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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