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San Juan trails may get $130,000; Moran State Park wastewater improvement may get $1 million

More than $130,000 is included in the state's proposed capital budget for development of up to 15 trails in the 112-acre Cattle Point Natural Resource Conservation Area on San Juan Island. The money is intended for preservation work as well.

Specifically, the money is budgeted for "natural areas facilities preservation and access." The proposed capital budget also includes nearly $1 million to repair the wastewater system in Moran State Park on Orcas Island.

The money is part of $93 million headed to the 40th District if the capital budget is approved, and reflects the work of first-year Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island.

“The construction projects that are funded in this budget are going to create local jobs and provide valuable infrastructure that will benefit our community for years to come,” Ranker said in an announcement. “Our state’s budgets were hit hard by the global economic crisis, but I’m glad we can help bring over $90 million to our community to help stimulate our local economy.”

The big ticket items:

— $85 million for infrastructure investments at Western Washington University, including more than $50 million to renovate Miller Hall.

— Nearly $3.8 million to Skagit Valley College for maintenance and preservation, and for its Academic and Student Services Building.

— $1.5 million for preservation projects on Blanchard Mountain in Skagit County.

Ranker called the proposed allocations "investments" in infrastructure, jobs and the economy.

“The capital budget is a long-term investment strategy. We’ll use these funds to help get more money flowing in our local economies this year,” Ranker said. “While we’ve had to make painful cuts to balance our 2009 Operating budget, the capital budget investments will be paid with bonds over 30 years. We’re investing for the future and helping local economies today, and looking toward a time when the economy is back to a healthy level.”

The 112-acre Cattle Point Natural Resource Conservation Area consists of two waterfront parcels at the south end of San Juan Island. The conservation area includes waterfront on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and extends across Mount Finlayson to Griffin Bay. It contains a freshwater wetland, grasslands, gravelly beach, dunes, a mature conifer forest and steep bluffs. A day use recreation area and interpretive site occupies the south portion of the property, with a parking lot, picnic area with shelter, beach access and potable water. Wildlife is abundant and includes eagles and other birds of prey.

In addition to being an important research site, Cattle Point offers views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains and surrounding islands.

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