Interpretive center to highlight Yakima River Canyon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Interpretive center to highlight Yakima River Canyon

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Ellensburg, WASH.--Construction will soon begin on an interpretive center for Washington state's first scenic byway.

Jill Scheffer, one of the founders of Kittitas Environmental Education Network applied for the federal grant back in December.

Scheffer said she completely forgot about the application because she thought receiving money from a federal program would be a long shot this year.

Scheffer said she was pleasantly surprised to learn the news and can't wait to start construction.

Through federal funds, the National Scenic Byway Program gave the project around $800,000.

"I'm very happy that we got anything, but I'm extremely happy that we got most of the funding that was given to Washington state, $2 million," said Scheffer. "Our project was the highest funded, and they gave us what we asked for."

The interpretive center will be featured at the Helen McCabe State Park on State Route 821.

It will highlight the critical and endangered species in the Yakima River Canyon.

Scheffer said this land is publicly protected and in good shape. She said it will finally bring awareness to one of the state's oldest scenic byways.

During the first initial phase, the center will feature traveling and educational exhibits and a guest shop.