Island parks get millions

Deception Pass State Park and several other Island County parks have received funds which will allow park staff to improve the various parks’ facilities and services this year.

Thanks to grants amounting to $48 million that the state Interagency For Outdoor Recreation (IAC) awarded to 27 Washington State counties, parks throughout Washington can continue to maintain the delicate balance of nature and convenience, environment and services.

Island County alone received $2,117,152 for park, trail and habitat projects.

IAC chairperson, Val Ogden, said the agency’s goals are to protect land and wildlife and to develop recreational areas and facilities that meet the needs of visitors.

Island County was alloted the $2,117,152 to use for park improvement.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission received $1,103,125. With this money, Deception Pass State Park will pay off the purchase of the Sunrise Resort facilities and campsites, located near the Deception Pass State Park. Rangers and park staff will use this land and its facilities for new administrative offices and for extra camping spaces.

“It’s been something that we’ve been anticipating purchasing for some time now,” Park Manager Jack Hartt said.

He said the purchase of Sunrise Resort adds approximately 63 new campsights to the park, making 317 sites available for park visitors. He added that the park now had an overflow area and sites for drop in campers.

The Port of South Whidbey Island received $576,177 for its Clinton Beach project. As the only island town that didn’t boast a waterfront or public access to water, Clinton will soon relinquish that title, thanks to this grant money. This new beach, created on .63 acres of land purchased by the port district, will have a sandy play area, informative kiosks, picnic tables, public parking, bathrooms and a boat dock. It is located next to the ferry dock.

The Island County Department of Natural Resources received $437,850 to put toward the 33 acre Golden Paintbrush Preserve on the west side of Whidbey Island. The money will go to purchase and maintain this land and to ensure the protection of this endangered plant.

The IAC has also allotted State Parks $416,360 for improvements on the Camano Island boat launch. The commission will use this funding to resurface the boat ramp and add piers, ramps, means of access for disabled visitors and restrooms.

“The benefits to the state and state citizens is endless,” Hartt said in describing what the grant money would do for local parks and their many visitors. “This is a sizable grant here.”

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