The ed board met today with folks representing the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. One was Lee Fouts of Puyallup, a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
They hope the governor and the Legislature will double to $100 million the biennial capital budget appropriate for a state program that helps local communities create parks, protect wildlife habitat and conserve farmland and shorelines.
The 15-year-old program is highly popular, and it’s helped a lot of projects in Pierce County, including the Foothills Trail, parks on Tacoma’s Ruston Way, parks in various communities around the county, and fishing access on lakes and rivers. But $50 million a biennium doesn’t go as far as it used to, especially considering escalating land values. And the Legislature two years ago added two more categories of projects eligible for funding, which means there’s even more demand for funding.
The ed board will have a lot of interest in this one. Preserving open space and improving recreational opporunities for future generations is part of the board’s annual civic agenda.