Field reports: Recreation funding hit in Gregoire proposal

SUNDAY, JAN. 9, 2011

STATE BUDGET – The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which for 21 years has distributed grants to state and local parks based on a competitive application process, is facing serious cutbacks or no funding at all in the state’s budget crisis.

Funding appears to be drying up for about 100 projects approved for 2011 ranging from boat ramps to biking trails, according to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget plan.

No funding is proposed for the coalition in the governor’s budget, which must be approved by lawmakers.

The coalition had a $70 million budget for 2008-10. In previous bienniums it was high as $100 million.

Gregoire’s capital budget includes $20 million for parks and habitats, but only for projects in Puget Sound.

WWRC funding has been critical for purchasing wildlife habitats such as in the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s Asotin Wildlife Area. It’s provided funding for additions to parks such as Plantes Ferry County Park and the Quartz Mountain addition to Mount Spokane State Park.

The funding has been critical for development of local trails such as the Centennial Trail and Fish Lake Trail.

The state’s Sno-Park program that clears parking areas and funds snowmobile and ski trail grooming at areas such as Mount Spokane is self-funded by participants, said George Momany of Spokane, a representative on the state’s Winter Recreation Advisory Committee.

“It shouldn’t be affected since it’s funded separately by sales of Sno-Park permits,” he said.

Rich Landers

2010 lethal year for Yellowstone griz

ENDANGERED SPECIES –Grizzly bear deaths neared record levels in the Yellowstone National Park region in 2010, but government biologists said the population remains robust enough to withstand the heavy losses.

An estimated 75 of the protected animals were killed or removed from the wild, according to a government-sponsored grizzly study team. That equates to one grizzly gone for every eight counted this year in the sparsely populated Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The deaths were blamed mostly on grizzlies pushing into inhabited areas, where bears get into trouble as they search out food near farms and among big-game herds stalked by hunters.

Despite those conflicts, researchers said the population topped 600 animals for the first time since grizzly recovery efforts began in the 1970s.

Associated Press

Avalanche clinic offered

SNOWMOBILING – A free avalanche workshop for snowmobilers is being offered in the Coeur d’Alene area by Idaho Parks and Recreation Department on Friday and Saturday.

Info: (208) 769-1511, www. parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.

Fly fishing guide to speak

ANGLING – Pat Dorsey, who’s been named an Orvis Guide of the Year, will present a free program on fishing tailwaters, at the Spokane Fly Fishers meeting Wednesday, 7 p.m. at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy Ave.


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