Cantwell Announces $14.7 Million in Funding to Preserve Washington Forestlands

Four critical forest parcels to be permanently protected using Land and Water Conservation Fund; Cantwell secured historic full funding, permanent reauthorization of LWCF in 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that four Washington lands projects – two in Wenatchee and one each in Kitsap and Clark counties – will receive a total of $14,740,000 from the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The funding comes after the passage of the historic bipartisan legislation Cantwell helped secure last year to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF.

“Once again the Land and Water Conservation Fund has delivered for our beloved public lands,” Senator Cantwell said. “These federal dollars—more than $14 million for projects in the Wenatchee National Forest and Kitsap and Clark counties—will permanently protect salmon spawning streams, popular trail networks, and vital watersheds. Today’s funding announcements will expand local outdoor recreation opportunities and improve stewardship of our forests and are great examples of the long term benefits of our successful efforts to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF last Congress.”

More information on the projects funded

  • $5,640,000 for the Dewatto Headwaters Forest Phase III project in Kitsap County: The Dewatto Headwaters Forest spans approximately 18,000 acres of forest along the Hood Canal in Kitsap County, Washington, delivering cool, clean water to the Canal and Puget Sound area. This acquisition is part of a multi-phased effort that will eventually protect 11,467 acres of the Dewatto Headwaters Forest. Senator Cantwell also wrote a letter of support for the project.
  • $3,600,000 for the Yacolt Forest Phase II project in Clark County: The Yacolt Forest in Clark County, Washington, is one of the largest intact forest areas under private ownership in a quickly growing county. This forest area is in close proximity to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and other conservation areas in the county. Phase I of this project helped conserve 3,000 acres of land; Phase II will help conserve an additional 5,900 acres out of a total conservation goal of 34,268 acres of the Yacolt Forest.
  • $3,700,000 for the Washington Cascades I project and $1,800,000 for the Washington Cascades II project in the Wenatchee National Forest: This funding will help acquire 3,350 acres of land to maintain public access to popular motorized trail networks in the Wenatchee Cascades. This will benefit locals and visitors who enjoy use of their jeeps, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and mountain bikes on these wilderness roads. These tracts will also contribute to watershed protection and restoration efforts in the Yakima River basin.

Washington state was one of the top recipients of USDA Forest Service LWCF projects this year. Washington state is expected to receive additional federal resources for LWCF projects from Interior Department land management agencies based on the commitment that Senator Cantwell secured from Interior Secretary Haaland during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on February 24, 2021.

Senator Cantwell has long fought to protect and strengthen the LWCF. Last year, she led the successful push to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the program as part of the Great American Outdoors Act. When the fund’s authorization expired in 2015 for the first time in its 50 year history, Cantwell successfully led the fight to reauthorize the fund for three years despite strong opposition from leaders in the House of Representatives. In 2019, Cantwell’s legislation to permanently reauthorize the fund was signed into law as part of her bipartisan public lands package. She has also introduced legislation and led the fight to ensure the LWCF gets the full funding authorized to it.