What is the WWRP?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is our state’s largest public funding source for outdoor community projects. It provides matching funds to create new parks, protect wildlife habitat and preserve working lands.
The Coalition is the independent non-profit advocate for the WWRP and has successfully leveraged over $1.8 billion for more than 1,600 projects across our beautiful state. This funding creates not only parks and trails but also jobs, economic activity, and increased quality of life for all Washingtonians.
For nearly 30 years, the WWRP has been our state’s premier tool for habitat conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities. It is nationally recognized for its fair, objective, and independent funding process.
How is the WWRP funded?
The WWRP is funded every two years as part of the state’s Capital Construction Budget. In 2021, the Legislature provided $100 million in funding for the WWRP.
The program is administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
Why is the WWRP important?
- The WWRP makes the great outdoors more accessible for all Washingtonians. It is the only state funding source available for many small, under-resourced, or underserved communities to create a new playground, protect a generations-old farm, or develop a trail that connects them to the outdoors.
- Investing in the WWRP invests in our economy and fuels job growth. The WWRP helps support 201,000 outdoor recreation jobs in our state—more than the information technology sector or the aerospace industry.
- The WWRP contributes to the physical health and mental wellbeing of children and adults, through the creation of countless opportunities for outdoor exercise and relaxation.
- Robustly funding the WWRP—the state’s primary means of conserving native ecosystems and important wildlife habitat—is critical to protecting our state’s diverse lands and iconic species.
12 Categories of WWRP
WWRP has evolved over the years to become an innovative toolbox supporting everything from local sports fields to state parks and family farms, all with a mission of preserving Washington’s beautiful natural resources and creating places for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. These tools include 12 separate categories of projects:
Trails grants help communities and recreation areas fund the creation and improvement of trails for walking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. These grants help make communities more livable, create regional trails systems, and open up beautiful outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. WWRP is the largest source of trail support in the state of Washington.
Local Parks grants help protect these symbols of vibrant communities, providing places for families to gather and play and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle in an era when people spend increasing amounts of their time inside. The WWRP is the largest source of local parks funding in Washington, helping communities fund the acquisition, development, and renovation of vital recreation areas and green spaces.
State Parks grants help preserve and develop our state’s best outdoor recreation areas by funding new campgrounds and amenities to increase the capacity of our parks, creating new parks, improving park resources, and protecting historical areas. These grants help our state continue to develop our world-class parks system to share our cultural heritage and natural treasures with all of its visitors.
State Lands Development & Renovation
The State Lands Development and Renovation category provides funding to two state agencies to repair, renovate, and develop outdoor recreation facilities on existing recreation lands. As the popularity of outdoor recreation increases in our state, these grants help address overcrowding, ensure our outdoor amenities are safe for public use, improve visitor experience, and allow more people to enjoy our great outdoors.
Washington is famous for its gorgeous and abundant waterways, from the Salish Sea to the Nisqually River, but many communities lack open public beaches and waterfronts where everyone can enjoy picnicking, swimming, paddling, boating, and angling. Water Access projects fund public shoreline access, boat launches, and fishing docks to create more opportunities for water recreation.
Conserving land along our waterways protects important habitat and helps keep our rivers healthy, clean, and more resilient to drought. Riparian Protection projects conserve and restore fresh and saltwater habitat while protecting fish habitat. In doing so, the grants help provide our families, farms, and fisheries with clean water across the state.
Critical Habitat projects are our state’s primary tool for conserving important fish and wildlife habitat. These projects protect the rich and diverse habitats in our forests, prairies, and wetlands. These funds help maintain our state’s biodiversity and protect species that are popular for hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreation, and are critical for the health of our salmon and fish populations.
As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
Urban Wildlife Habitat
Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
State Lands Restoration & Enhancement
The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
Farmland Preservation protects valuable farmland and habitat for recreationally important animals, like salmon, birds, deer, and elk. These projects allow families to continue farming the land they have worked on for generations, and provide Washingtonians with healthy local food and a diverse economy. WWRP is the only source of farmland preservation funding in the state budget.
Forest Land Preservation grants help improve opportunities for forest management activity and improve the long-term growth and harvest of timber. These projects help protect many different kinds of forests, including, but not limited to, large-scale industrial forests, small private landowner forests, community forests, and tribally – or publicly-owned and managed forests.