I have good news and good news. Which would you like first?
Okay, here's the good news. This year, there will be money in the Non-Highway and Off Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program to actually fund grants.
In 2009, the fund was swept up by the state legislature to keep Washington State Parks open. That action kept nearly 40 state parks from being mothballed, but caused real pain for other state and federal agencies that depend on NOVA funds to pay for important trail maintenance projects statewide. We worked hard to get NOVA funds back where they belong, and we're pleased that the legislature saw the wisdom of doing so.
But wait, there's even more good news. The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) has released its list of funded NOVA proposals, and all of the non-motorized grants were funded. That list includes some stellar proposals such as:
- Cle Elum Wilderness Maintenance and Operations: This $43,000 grant will fund ongoing work to keep trails in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness maintained for the next two years. The Cle Elum District relies on NOVA funds to field its trail crews, evidenced by the fact that NOVA funded their non-wilderness, non-motorized maintenance and operations activities this year as well.
- Colonel Bob Trail Redevelopment: A $27,000 grant, the Colonel Bob proposal will help groups like WTA reopen the Colonel Bob Trail, which has been rendered impassable due to blowdown and trail damage. We have an upcoming volunteer vacation on the Colonel Bob Trail, and our sawyers are already whetting their crosscuts in anticipation.
- Snoqualmie Unit Trail Maintenance: This $100,000 grant will help DNR maintain a huge number of trails like Mount Si, Tiger Mountain Trails and Mailbox Peak. These are fundamental hikes in the I-90 corridor, and WTA works on them extensively.
These are just a few grants cherrypicked from the 28 non-motorized grants that were funded this year. There are many more worthy projects on that list.
A little background on the program: Since 1978, the NOVA fund has dispensed many millions of dollars for trail projects in each of the national forests, as well as many on county land, wildlife refuges and the Washington Department of Natural Resources. A competitive grant process each year decides which projects are funded and includes both motorized projects and non-motorized projects.
If you're not familiar with the NOVA program, here's a helpful FAQ that will educate you on the ins and outs of it. WTA has been engaged with NOVA for decades because it is critical that we make sure that the fund distribution is equitable for hikers. The program has funded some tremendously important projects over the years.
Thanks to everyone who visited, wrote and called their legislators this year! Your work was instrumental to this victory.