PNW Public Lands Awarded $16.8 Million from Cantwell-led Bill to Address Maintenance Backlog

Eastern receives funding for three projects, including trail restoration and campground upgrades

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced awards of $7.47 million to public lands in Washington state and $9.33 million to public lands in the greater Pacific Northwest region. Funding was secured through the Great American Outdoors Act, which U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) cosponsored.

The investment will help address deferred maintenance, improve infrastructure, increase accessibility and support surrounding economies.

“This investment in 26 projects across Washington state’s forests and public lands will improve access to our world-renowned parks, forests, historic sites and trails. Our public lands are major economic drivers – more than 200,000 jobs hinge on their maintenance and preservation,” Sen. Cantwell said.

“With this shot in the arm to our outdoor economy, we will help secure more jobs in communities throughout the state and ensure Washingtonians will be able to enjoy these priceless assets for decades to come.”

In Eastern Washington, the Colville National Forest and the National Forest Service’s Region 6 received funding for three projects.

Funded projects in Colville National Forest include:

  • Bundling multiple recreation and visitor services for International Selkirk Loop in Pend Oreille and Stevens counties, including site rehabilitation, improved site accessibility, dock replacement and toilet refurbishment. Specific project work includes replacement of the Sullivan picnic shelters, amenity improvements to the Salmo Lookout and Frater Cabin, water system design and replacements, recreation site road and access road rehabilitation, and realignment of the Sullivan area recreation and administrative sites to meet public demand.
  • Trail restoration, minor reroutes, culvert replacement, and puncheon, turnpike, and trail bridge reconstruction on trails in Pend Oreille and Stevens counties. Work will primarily take place along the International Selkirk Loop.

Funded projects in National Forest Service Region 6 include:

  • Addressing routine and deferred maintenance deficiencies including sign and kiosk repair, accessibility improvements, painting, picnic table and fire ring installation. Deferred maintenance activities will be prioritized within recreation areas and corridors that increase the impact of investments and model shared stewardship. The award includes sites in 19 counties in Washington and Oregon, including Columbia, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.

The total funding announced this week -- $503 million nationwide -- was split between the Legacy Restoration Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Sen. Cantwell is a strong advocate for preserving public lands, and she has a long history of securing funding to protect Washington’s natural resources. When the LWCF’s authorization expired in 2015 for the first time in its 50 year history, Sen. Cantwell successfully led the fight to reauthorize the fund for three years despite strong opposition from leaders in the House of Representatives. She also coauthored and cosponsored The Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August 2020 and fully, permanently funded the LWCF and invested billions of dollars to address the maintenance backlog on public lands throughout Washington state and around the country. Because the funding comes from offshore oil and gas royalties, it does not burden taxpayers or add to the national deficit.

The fund also helps support the American outdoor recreation economy, which generates $887 billion in consumer spending every year and supports 7.6 million jobs nationwide. In Washington state alone, outdoor recreation creates $26.5 billion in annual spending, supports 264,000 jobs, and generates nearly $12 billion in wages and salaries.

Video from Senator Cantwell’s remarks when the Great American Outdoors Act passed the Senate is available HERE and the audio is available HERE.