Posts tagged: biking
TRAILS — Repairs to the asphalt will require the Spokane River Centennial Trail to be closed on Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 25-26) from Miles 26.5 to Mile 28 from the south side T.J. Meenach Bridge to the Equestrian Area in Riverside State Park, says Loreen McFaul, executive director of the Friends of the Centennial Trail.
HIKING — A new federal report says only one-quarter of U.S. Forest Service trails meet the agency’s own standards as it attempts to catch up with a $524 million maintenance deficit.
The is the latest news, coming out after my recent localized story: Budget cuts leave recreation areas looking for outside help.
The Missoulian this week looked into the Government Accountability Office's nation-wide report on trail conditions.
Two groups petitioned members of Congress to look into the matter, since the last similar study was done in 1989. U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Jim Moran, D-Va., officially requested the study.
“With the important exception of maintaining forest health to combat wildfires and insect kill, there is no other activity in the Forest Service’s portfolio that is more important than ensuring the public’s access to our forests and wilderness areas,” Lummis said in a statement, where she also described the trails maintenance program as “held together by Band-Aids and bailing wire.”
The Government Accountability Office report released on June 27 found the Forest Service did some maintenance on 37 percent of its 158,000 miles of trail in fiscal 2012. But it estimated another $314 million in deferred maintenance remained on the to-do list, along with $210 million in unfinished annual maintenance, capital improvements and operations. In its recommendations, the GAO called for closer work with volunteers to get projects done.
That’s already a working assumption for groups like the Backcountry Horsemen, according to Montana state chairman Mark Himmel.
“We asked the Forest Service for a punch list of places that needed work,” Himmel said after returning from a brush-clearing trip on the Continental Divide Trail near Rogers Pass. “The guy said throw a dart at the map. Wherever it hits needs work. We’re a maintenance organization. We pick up the slack and make it work. We know there’s budget cutbacks. I don’t know where it’s going to go, except to just keep at it.”
FATHERS DAY— Give dad what he really wants for Father's Day — some good, healthy outdoor time with the family.
Here are four suggestions:
FISHING — Most of the region's lakes and streams are in great fishing condition for the weekend, and some Spokane-area are getting a Fathers Day bonus with additional plants of triploid rainbows. Montana is sweetening the holiday attraction by offering Free Fishing Days on June 15-16. Nobody needs a license to fish in Montana over the weekend, but you must follow all of Montana's other fishing regulations.
BIKING — The Spokane River Centennial Trail and the Fish Lake Trail offer excellent and safe family biking opportunities in Spokane. The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a prized rail trail between Mullan and Plummer, Idaho. Or go for big adventure near Lookout Pass on the Route of the Hiawatha rail trail, featuring tunnels and towering trestles. Shuttles, bike rentals and even lunches are available.
BOATING — It's hard to beat a family tradition of being on the water with Dad. I prefer paddling the Spokane River or, say, Horseshoe Lake in a canoe or kayak. Maybe a whitewater rafting trip on the Spokane or Clark Fork rivers with Wiley E. Waters or ROW Adventures. Sailing or motorboating is has been bringing families together for generations, as you can vividly see in this heartwarming short video, Good Run, by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. The film tells the story of one man’s experience on the water and shows why life is better with a boat.
HIKING — Taking a walk to a nifty spot is a simple and rewarding family outing, whether it's close to home in Riverside State Park or off in the mountains of a nearby national forest. Need some tips? Check out my new guidebook, Day Hiking Eastern Washington, which details 125 trips, including a bunch of hikes within a short drive of Spokane. (The book is available at REI, Mountain Gear and local book stores.)
My suggestion: If you're up for stretching your legs, give Dad the book with a note that says, “We want to make this your best Father's Day ever by taking you on one of the hikes described in this book. We'll pack the picnic lunch!”
I heard from several families who reported that offer was a big hit on Mothers Day.
FORESTS — A trail closure notice just issued by the Colville National Forest is a reminder that roads, trails and campgrounds are subject to the whims of nature, even on a holiday weekend.
Call ahead to forest offices to check on any last-minute closures that could foil your plans.
Upper North Fork Trail #507 will be closed to public use until a washed out bridge can be replaced, Colville Forest officials announced this morning.
The #507 trail is a connector trail that connects the upper portion of the North Fork of Sullivan Creek to the #515 Crowell Ridge Trail in the Salmo Priest Wilderness.
Info: Sullivan Lake Ranger Station at (509) 446-7500.
CYCLING — Montana's capital city is cashing in on it's surrounding wildness to create attractions for mountain bikers.
The Helena National Forest and South Hills Trail System reaches into Helena with a trailhead in the city limits.
The South Hills Trail System is an extensive mountain biking trail system known for its single track and long descents. Specialty bike shops provide advice on trails, equipment and rentals to ensure riders get the most out of the area.
Soon biking enthusiasts will have another reason to love Helena, the Vigilante Bike Park, which is being built near the town's center to offer terrain features in a safe riding environment. Construction of the park begins this summer on two acres of reclaimed land and will integrate pieces of old Helena buildings from the Urban Renewal Project. Park features for pros and beginners will include pump tracks, dirt jumps for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders as well as a skills trail and dual slalom course.
Meantime, Helena has more than 500 miles of world class mountain biking trails in its area.
These trail systems have groomed the way for several events on the spring-fall cycling schedule:
TRAILS — Development of the 28.5-mile Ferry County Rail Trail from Republic along the Kettle River to the U.S. Canada border is getting a boost with an auction item signed by celebrities.
A Longboard Skate - donated to Ferry County Rail Trail Partners by Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder - is being signed by celebrities as a one-of-a-kind auction item. The effort is spearheaded by FCRTP organizer Bob Whittaker, who's also a professional rock band manager currently on a world tour with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
2013 FCRTP Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners will be held at the Carousel Building at the Ferry County Fairgrounds, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday (April 21). Expect to find good people and refreshments, plus a Ferry County Historical Society presentation on area railroad history.
STATE PARKS — Special activities at five venues are scheduled Sunday, (June 24), 10 a.m.-3 p.m., to introduce the public to features and recreation available in Riverside State Park on the west side of Spokane.
The required Discover Pass will be available for purchase from staff and volunteers. Venues include:
Bowl and Pitcher Area, 4427 North Aubrey L. White Parkway – Hiking and biking information; a free beginner orienteering course; displays, wildlife presentations and children’s activities.
Nine Mile Recreation Area, 11226 West Charles Rd – Canoeing and kayaking activities with boats for loan, boating safety expert, bass and fly fishing info, Lake Spokane presentations.
Equestrian Area, Aubrey L. White Parkway off Government Way – Tour riding trails and new campground facilities; free pony rides for kids under 75 pounds.
Spokane House Interpretive Center, off Highway 291 just west of Nine Mile Dam – Indoor and outdoor museum exhibits and demonstrations about the early fur trade.
Off-Road Vehicle Area, 9412 N. Inland Road – All-terrain vehicle test drives, ride-alongs with expert ORV drivers and displays featuring ORV gear.
More information: riversidestatepark.org.
OUTDOOR NEIGHBORHOODS — Celebrate Summer Solstice where motor vehicles will be out and kids and their families will rule the streets in the Comsock-Manito Neighborhoods Wednesday (June 20) 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
The second of two Summer Parkways events will bring a celebration to the streets as traffic is closed off to allow families to bike, hike, dance, skate and enjoy the streets for three hours.
See a map of the traffic-free route in the Comstock/Manito Neighborhood.
RESORTS — The snow has finally melted and the Silver Mountain gondola is scheduled to reopen Saturday (June 16) to transport hikers, bikers and other visitors who want to enjoy the mountain trails and scenery.
“Summer is a fantastic time to visit Silver Mountain Resort,” said John Williams, director of marketing. “This summer we’re anticipating the 2 millionth rider on North America’s longest gondola since it opened in 1990.”
The gondola will be operating weekends only until July at which time it will be running four days a week (Friday through Monday) until Labor Day.
Father's Day incentive: Dads ride the gondola free this Sunday when accompanied by one or more of their children.
Other incentives: “BARK n’ BREW“ festival in the gondola village Sunday, noon-7 p.m.
Mountain bikers will find more than 30 miles of biking trails that meander down the mountain to the town of Kellogg. New beginner and intermediate trails have been developed.
TRAILS — Last Saturday a hard-working group of 20 turned out to work on Bluff trails.
The many, many more people who use the trails owe them a tip of the hat.
They did trail maintenance and prepared to re-align a trail that is steep and highly erosive. The new route will be more stable and user-friendly for hikers and mt bikers.
To complete the task, the Friends of the Bluffs are encouraging more people to join some evening work parties.
The first two will be Tuesday April 24 and Wednesday May 2.
Join the group from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to work off the stress of the day (and perhaps adjourn to the Rocket Market afterwards).
Meet at the Bernard/High Dr trail head and bring/wear hiking boots, work clothes, work gloves, and bring water.
TRAILS – Volunteers will be gathering all along the Spokane River Centennial Trail on Saturday to wail on weeds, pick up litter and sweep it clean.
To join the group, and enjoy the free lunch, preregister by Friday for the 20th annual Friends of the Centennial Trail “Unveil the Trail” event.
REI has contributed $5,000 to cover the cost of park rental, giveaways, prizes, food and other event costs.
OUTDOORS — Citing surveys that indicate kids are spending up to 30 hours a week dialed in to video games, computers other technology, a several business, agencies and volunteer groups have organized a nifty schedule of free or low-cost outdoor activites and clinics April 21-28 based out of Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls.
“Unplug and Be Outside” is promoted by a statewide coalition of agencies and businesses founded in 2008 to “connect children with nature in Idaho, from backyards to mountaintops.”
Activities include archery,fishing, fly tying, frisbee golf, art classes, tennis and golf lessons, preschool storytimes, bike rides, and many, many more programs designed to get kids and adults moving!
Children will receive passport cards. Those who participate in 3 or more activities will be entered into a drawing to win great prizes, including fishing rods, backpacks, Idaho State Parks pass, water bottles and more!
PUBLIC LANDS — Glacier Nationa Park has a special incentive for walkers and cyclists for the next month or so, but especially next week when ntrance fees to Glacier National Park and the nearly 400 National Park Sites across the country will be waived during National Park Week, April 21-29.
At the same time, plows have begun clearing the roads toward Logan Pass. While motor vehicles are still prohibited, bicyclers and walkers can go progressively farther behind the locked gates as plowing advances.
Currently, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to motorized traffic from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun. Hiker/biker access is available for 5.5 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate to Avalanche while the road plow is working.
This weekend, April 21-22, no restrictions are anticipated for hiker/biker access on the west side or east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Camas Road is open and the Two Medicine Road on the east side is currently open to Running Eagle Falls.
Weather conditions in the park can vary greatly from local valley locations, and road status can change depending on weather conditions and snow plowing activities.
Click here to check park conditions and the progess of the plows, or call (406) 888-7800.
Additional entrance fee-free dates during the year will be June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).
BICYCLING — RAW — the popular Ride Around Washington organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club — is focusing its 2012 on the region from Chewelah south through Spokane and around the Palouse.
The seven-day, 400-mile supported bike tour isn't until Aug. 4-10, but it's already 92 percent SOLD OUT.
Online-only registration for RAW opened on January 10, 2012. It was 92 percent sold out on March 27.
Cyclists may join the Cascade Bicycle Club when registering for the event or in advance by visiting the membership page.
TRAILS — In the photo above, volunteers pose with the metal-recyclable garbage they picked up today from the South Hill Bluff below High Drive.
BICYCLING — Here’s another sign of springtime in Yellowstone National Park: Portions of the park have opened to bicycling.
The park has closed to snowmobiles for the winter but has yet to open to motorized vehicles for the summer.
In the meantime, bicyclists can travel between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs, although not to Old Faithful or Canyon.
Park officials say bicyclists should be well prepared for weather that can quickly change to severe snow, ice and cold. Potentially dangerous animals including bison and grizzly bears are out and about and no services are available.
Yellowstone officials say anybody bicycling in Yellowstone this time of year should be ready to endure winter conditions for an extended period and be able to rescue themselves if necessary.
BICYCLING — The Spokane Bike Swap is taking shape at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Bike vendors are setting up and sellers can bring bikes in until 8 p.m.
Shop for bikes Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-noon.
Admission: $5 per person, free for 12 and under.
TRAILS — Join the fun as the 'Friends of the Bluff' are having a trash cleanup day Saturday (March 24), 9am - Noon.
Meet at the main trail head just south of the Bernard and High intersection. Be prepared for the weather and to hike to our two focused sites which are 1/4 and 3/4 mile down the slope.
Volunteers are encouraged to:
Jim Schrock of Earthworks Recycling www.earthworksrecycling.com is donating the metals disposal bin.
TRAILS – Helpers are needed for a series of Liberty Lake trail rerouting projects on the 7-mile loop trail at Liberty Lake County Park, starting next Sunday, organized by the Washington Trails Association.
Other scheduled dates for working at Liberty Lake are March 29 and 31 and April 2 and 26.
WTA pledged to rally area volunteers and contribute 2,000 hours of volunteer effort over the next two years in order to get a grant from the Washington Recreational Trails Program.
Liberty Lake, at 3,000 acres, is one of the largest county parks in the state. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the park better and chip in some effort to improve the hiking/biking/horse-riding opportunities.
Info: (206) 625-1367.