OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is accepting grant applications beginning August 10 for the provision of outdoor educational and recreational programs for children and for the construction and maintenance of hiking trails, boating facilities, and firearm and archery ranges .
RCO offers free online workshops to present these funding opportunities and explain the application requirements.
RCO grants for boating, hiking trails, and shooting ranges are the largest federal source of funding for many of these outdoor recreation experiences. Until 2024, this is the only way to apply for these scholarships.
“We are very excited to be able to offer all of these scholarships, but especially the scholarships to get kids outside,” said Megan Duffy, Director of RCO. “Spending time outdoors has so many benefits. We know it can reduce stress, improve mental and physical health, and even improve children’s academic performance. These grants help ensure children have the opportunity to spend time outdoors and receive these benefits.”
New this year is the Outdoor Learning Grants program. The legislature provided funds to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to help children get outside and learn about the outside world while there. The grants cover outdoor education for children from preschool through high school. RCO jointly administers the scholarship program with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and scholarship awards for the 2022-23 school year will be in early October. This new program complements grants from the No Child Left Inside program, which is co-administered with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
“All of these grants are essential to ensuring Washington remains a destination for outdoor recreation,” Duffy said. “These grants are key to giving people great places to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities and helping Washington’s economy stay strong.”
A recent RCO study showed that people in Washington spend more than $26 billion annually on recreational travel and outdoor gear, and support 264,000 jobs.
RCO accepts grant applications for the following types of projects:
- Boating–Purchase of land and development and renovation of facilities for motor boats and other watercraft, including launch pads, guest berths and auxiliary facilities. to register for the August 10 webinar, which begins at 10 a.m
- hiking trails-Develop, rehabilitate and maintain trails that provide a backcountry experience. Funding can also be used for education and enforcement programs that encourage environmentally responsible use of the trails and help minimize conflict between visitors. Register for the webinar on August 10th, which starts at 11:00 am Recreational trails program.
- Firearm and archery ranges-Buy land and develop and renovate shooting ranges and archery training and practice facilities. to register for the August 10 webinar, which begins at 9 a.m
- Outdoor education and recreation for youth– Provide environmental, ecological, agricultural, or other natural resource-based educational and recreational programs for preschool through 12th grade children. Funding is focused on serving youth with the greatest needs. Register for the August 10 webinar, which starts at 1 p.m. More information online at No child left inside and the Scholarships for Outdoor Learning.
Grant applications are due September 1 for the outdoor learning program and November 1 for the other programs. Further information on the eligibility requirements is available on the RCO website.
Planning for recreational access grants coming this fall
RCO will be offering another new scholarship program in the fall, with applications due in October. The Recreational Access Planning Grants will provide funding for planning projects in communities that do not have adequate access to outdoor recreational opportunities. Grants can be used to support planning, community engagement and collaboration between local governments, community-based organizations and residents to define outdoor recreation needs, prioritize investments to meet those needs, and support on-site projects for RCO and prepare other financing opportunities. Visit the site and sign up for email alerts.