King County this week netted more than $500,000 of Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) grants.

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Trail and campsite maintenance, Forest Service patrols and a new bridge over the Snoqualmie River for hikers, bikers and horseback riders are among seven outdoor-recreation projects in King County that have been awarded federal grants.

The county this week netted more than $500,000 of Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) grants to help fund cross-country skiing, mountain biking, fishing, sightseeing and other activities throughout Washington.

Such financial help is vital to the upkeep of hundreds of miles of trails that snake through state forests and are enjoyed by thousands of hikers each weekend, said Doug Schindler, field-program director for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a nonprofit that works to preserve open spaces along Interstate 90.

“People think that trails just sort of are there,” Schindler said. “But trails don’t build themselves. Trails don’t maintain themselves. It takes a lot of work.”

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The projects include:

• $100,000 for the state Department of Natural Resources to hire a Washington Conservation Corps crew for two years to maintain 55 miles of trails in the Tiger Mountain and Snoqualmie state forests. The crew will remove downed trees and brush and rebuild trail surfaces and drainage.

• $100,000 for the U.S. Forest Service to build a 100-foot bridge across the Snoqualmie River near North Bench and Goldmyer Hot Springs, to provide a safe route for hikers, bikers and equestrians along the Middle Fork Trail system and trails leading into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

• $62,404 for the U.S. Forest Service to fund four seasonal forest-protection officers, and travel costs for two senior volunteers this summer, in the Mount Baker National Forest. They will patrol the 300,000 acres and 50 trailheads of the Snoqualmie Ranger District, plus thousands of campsites and 24 outhouses.

Snohomish County received more than $200,000. About half of that amount will go to repair the Darrington Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, which sustained $4 million in damage after a flood in 2003 that washed many trail bridges below Glacier Peak downstream. Other Snohomish County projects include maintenance work at various trailheads and campgrounds.

The state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation awarded a total of $5.7 million in grants throughout Washington to help fund 71 projects in 27 counties. Funding comes from 1 percent of federal gas taxes, plus fees levied on off-road-vehicle users and dealers, said Susan Zemek, a committee spokeswoman.

Among Washington counties, Kittitas County received the most federal NOVA grants this year: more than $1 million to maintain and rebuild trails and restore the popular Kachess campground, among other projects.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com