Outdoors

Spokane store closure leaves gap in map availability

Steve and Linda Mitrovich relocated the Northwest Map and Travel Book Center to 10525 E. Sprague in 2010 into a commercial strip behind Fred's Appliance at University and Sprague. Their store, which  carried local, regional and world maps for travellers, outdoorsmen and delivery people, closed on July 1, 2012, as they scaled down to online and phone sales of their locally produced atlases. (Jesse Tinsley)
Steve and Linda Mitrovich relocated the Northwest Map and Travel Book Center to 10525 E. Sprague in 2010 into a commercial strip behind Fred's Appliance at University and Sprague. Their store, which carried local, regional and world maps for travellers, outdoorsmen and delivery people, closed on July 1, 2012, as they scaled down to online and phone sales of their locally produced atlases. (Jesse Tinsley)

NAVIGATION — Getting a map is easier than ever with online services and software.

But getting a good durable map that's specific for your application took a big hit this  month as Northwest Maps — formerly Northwest Map and Travel Book Center — closed its shop in Spokane Valley.

As consumers have shifted to digital mapping sources, owner Steve Mitrovich decided to sell his massive map inventory and shifted to an online- and phone-only business to sell only his local-area atlases and marketing maps.

For years, Spokane was a premier hub for maps, including the U.S. Geological Survey office in the Downtown Post office. That office was closed at the end of 2001 after offering 43 years of service.

Mitrovich, who opened his shop in the mid 1985, stepped up to offer not only 7.5 minute quads for the entire region, but also all of the state public land maps, Canada maps, national park and Forest Service maps, wilderness maps and the travel guides to go with them. 

If Northwest Maps didn't have a map you needed, Mitrovich likely could get it.

I pity people who think an 8 x 11-inch printout with smearable ink or even a GPS unit are satisfactory replacements for the information available to somebody who spreads out and pores over a topographic map.

Meanwhile, Northwest Maps is still offering a free map index service and taking phone orders for its local products  through its website www.nwmaps.com.

  • The Spokane REI store on North Monroe Street sells some  topo quadrangle and recreation maps.
  • Forest Service and state public lands maps can be purchased from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management office, 1103 N Fancher Road, (509) 536-1200.
  • USGS maps can be purchased online at the USGS Store.



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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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