Posts tagged: Spokane County
TRAILS — The big effort recently invested in updating Spokane County's 2008 Regional Trails Plan has resulted in maps and details important to everyone from hikers to developers.
The Spokane County Commissioners approved the updated plan on Tuesday.
The goal of the plan has always been to develop an interconnected system of trails, whether they're simple single tracks or major rail-trail projects such as the Fish Lake Trail. The plan also seeks to assure adequate maintenance and high standards while promoting the growing trail system as an economic development tool.
The updated plan, with input from Spokane County Parks and Recreation staff and the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition, includes a mapped inventory of 677 miles of trails, new trail strategies, an analysis of demand and needs and much more detail throughout.
TRAILS — An update to the 2008 Spokane County Regional Trails Plan will help integrate routes for walkers, runners, skaters, cyclists and equestrians into planning and development as the population grows, officials say.
The draft plan, up for county approval this month, identifies 677 miles of routes ranging from single tracks to the 12-foot-wide Centennial Trail, said Parks Department planner Paul Knowles.
The plan will help the county preserve and maintain existing trails while identifying links for an interconnected network of user-friendly trails, he said.
But don't take our word for it: check it out for yourself:
The county Planning Commission is set to review the draft plan on Jan. 16.
Outdoor groups in the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition helped fund the trail planning, map trails and propose possible links and expansion throughout the region.
The new Centennial Trail segment through Kendall Yards is indicates the benefits that can be achieved through trail planning Knowles said. The proposed Dream Trail running north-south completely through the Dishman Hills is another goal.
The plan could facilitate public access from Five Mile Prairie to the Little Spokane River.
Read on for more information about the plan.
TRAILS — The Spokane County Regional Trails Plan, which provides guidance for local, state and federal agencies in developing new trails and maintaining existing routes, is open to public comment through an online survey.
The plan seeks to coordinate trails throughout the region, identified corridors for trails and wildlife, aim for road and trail standards and promote the system.
The inventories and organization of the multi-partner plan already has helped the region secure more than $7 million in funding for trails and conservation areas, said Lunell Haught of the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition.
The plan includes the Spokane River Centennial Trail, Fish Lake Trail and other major trails as well as a network of smaller trails on agencies ranging from county parks and state parks to U.S. Bureau of Management Lands.
The public input will be incorporated into the plan as it's updated this year, Haught said.
SHOOTING — Shooters trashing state lands and terrorizing adjacent private property owners are blasting their way out of a place to shoot.
And they're forcing unwanted restrictions on hunters.
Spokane County Commissioners are scheduled to consider proposals for two new no-shooting zones during their 2 p.m. meeting today.
The problems stem from state Department of Natural Resources lands off Koth Road near Newman Lake and off Starr Road south of Mica Peak.
See the map and proposal for the Koth Road no-shooting zone.
See the map and proposal for the Starr Road no-shooting zone.
See the overall Spokane County no-shooting zones map.
Property owners are calling for the action on the two new proposals after more than a year of effort to curb the abuse and safety concerns. Despite increased enforcement and citations for littering, damaging trees, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, shooters continued to trash the public land, said DNR lands manager Loren Torgerson.
“Organized shooting clubs tried to help out; they even went out and cleaned things up,” Torgerson said, but new messes were soon created.
“We tried to make it work, but it’s overwhelming.”
Proposals would allow shotgun shooting during appropriate hunting seasons but no rifle or pistol shooting at any time, said Bob Brueggeman, county engineer. Archery is OK.
Fish and Wildlife officials said they’d prefer a rule that allowed use of rifles for hunting. But Brueggeman said county ordinances do not allow that option to be considered in a no-shooting zone.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” Torgerson said, noting they use garbage as targets and leave the trash. Semi-automatic weapons are used to blast and “saw down” trees, he said.
BOATING — Boaters are being asked to stay off Newman Lake until Friday as Spokane County plans to treat Eurasian water milfoil infestations with 2,4-D herbicide during the week.
Milfoil clogs waterways for everything from fish to boats and poses the danger of entrapping swimmers, the county's Newman Lake Milfoil Control Plan points out.
PUBLIC LANDS — A proposal to purchase a 9.5-acre addition to an access site for the 1,066-acre Antoine Peak Conservation Area is on the agenda for today's Spokane County Commission meeting.
Antoine Peak is the mountain north of East Valley High School and east of Forker Road in Spokane Valley.
The Spokane County Parks, Recreation, and Golf Department will ask permission to spend $300,000 in county Conservation Futures funds to purchase the site owned by the Johnson Family Trust. The family has been allowing the public to use some of the property since the county secured the land in three phases concluding in 2011.
Public use is growing in the area, which is part of the voter-approved conservation program to protect wildlife habitat and open spaces for passive public recreation.
The property the family is offering to the county — before listing it for sale to the public — includes the existing public parking area on the east side of the mountain along with a 2,800 square foot residence with detached garage. The site is critical to the county because it's the only place available near the trailhead for public parking.
The residence could be used as a park ranger or maintenance worker residence. Acquiring the subject property would also allow Spokane County Parks to expand the existing lot as needed to handle increasing use.
Another parking site is being researched on the west side of the peak.
UPDATED 12:30 p.m. with info from Idaho Fish and Game.
WILDLIFE — May is family time for bald eagles, which have been steadily gaining a greater foothold in the Inland Northwest as they're considered one of the shining examples of Endangered Species Act recoveries.
This bald eagle family was photographed at Lake Coeur d'Alene over the weekend by Larry Krumpelman and posted on the Coeur d'Alene Audubon Society website.
Idaho will conduct a bald eagle nesting survey next year, the first since 2008, when more than 50 breeding territories were documented in the Panhandle from Lake Coeur d'Alene and northward. Surely there's that many or more.
Spokane County alone has 15-20 active nests, said Howard Ferguson, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department area wildlife biologist.
The bald eagle, one of the first species to receive protections under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act in 1967, was been removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants in 2007. After decades of conservation efforts, the bald eagle exhibited a dramatic recovery, from a low of barely 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963, to more than 10,000 nesting pairs.
Nesting bald eagles can be resiliant.
A bald eagle nest surveyed near Post Falls Dam blew down during an early July 2008 windstorm. The nest was home to 3 chicks at or very close to fledging. All chicks were observed after the windstorm and presumed to have successfully fledged.
The eagle pair rebuilt their nest in the same tree in December 2008, according to the IFG survey report.
CONSERVATION — About 200 volunteers chipped in today to start a major revamping of the Dishman Hills Natural Area trail system.
Groups such as the Spokane Mountaineers and Gonzaga University student programs turned out in the Spokane Valley for the annual service day organized by the Dishman Hills Conservancy.
Regular trail users will soon notice a big difference as new trails are built to connect a series of four larger loops while some other trails, including sections of a few well-used ones, will be decommissioned.
The effort seeks to reduce the criss-crossing of trails and provide more resting areas for wildlife.
More signs will be posed as the project continues.
Other groups today planted hundreds of trees to reforest an area near the Camp Caro parking lot off Appleway and Sargent Road.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program is asking county commissioners to preserve 920 acres on the west flank of Mica Peak and15 acres at a geological site between Badger and Williams lakes south of Cheney.
If approved, the acquisitions would bring Conservation Futures Program holdings to more than 7,000 acres through 29 acquisitions.
To date through the program, Spokane County Parks and Recreation manages 14 properties and the City of Spokane Parks Department manages an additional 11 properties within city limits.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Unless there's a stray report still to come in, Inland Northwest Birders and Spokane Audubon tallied 238 species in their 2012 Spokane County “Big Year” effort to spot as many types of birds as possible.
Following are highlights compiled by Tim O'Brien of Cheney:
Black Scoter found by Jim Acton on West Medical Lake - October 25.
Gyrfalcon found by Terry Little on the West Plains - January 5.
Northern Hawk-owl found by the McKanns on the West Plains - January 7.
Red-breasted Sapsucker found by Becky Goldner near Mount Spokane - December 10.
American Three-toed Woodpecker found by Warren Walker on Mount Spokane - December 13.
Black and White Warbler found by Terry Little on Holcomb Road - September 3.
Tennessee Warbler found by Lindell Hagin at their residence by the Little Spokane - August 16.
Purple Finch by Terry Little at Peone Prairie - November 22.
Hoary Redpoll by Greg Falco near Cheney - November 23.
BIG MISSES: quite a few shorebirds such as Black-bellied Plover and Semipalmated Plover. Great Egret. Well, you can't find them all!
O'Brien said he's already started compiling reports for the 2013 Spokane County Big Year as well as documenting first found dates and locations for all species.
“2013 looks promising with a lot of winter birds around including snowy owl, common redpoll and pine grosbeak,” O'Brien said. Contact: email@example.com
RECORD SPOKANE COUNTY BIG YEARS247 species in 2006 — cumulative list from everyone all birders making sightings in the county during the year.230 species in 2006 — single birder record by Craig Corder.
TRAILS — Beginning Monday (Oct. 22) through Friday (Oct. 26) the popular 7-mile loop trail at Liberty Lake Regional Park will be closed for trail renovation that includes blasting.
Rock will be removed in an area to widen and level the trail.
The work is being funded with a $36,860 grant from the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office. In addition to blasting work, the grant is funding bridge replacement, interpretive signage, habitat restoration, and other trail improvements along the popular loop trail.
The Washington Trails Association, Backcountry Horsemen, and the Lands Council are project partners.
Click here for information or updates or contact Spokane County Parks, Recreation, & Golf, (509) 477-4730.
COUNTY PARKS — The long-awaited trailhead parking area on the south side of the Big Rock-Rocks of Sharon area in Spokane Valley will be open to public access Friday at 3 p.m., said Paul Knowles, Spokane County Parks planner.
Heavy equipment is still working at the site accessible from the Palouse Highway near the end of Stevens Creek Road. County Parks will be hydro-seeding, putting up signs and doing other touch-up worth at the parking area through fall, Knowles said.
The Big Rock area, adjacent to the Iller Creek Conservation Area, is prized by rock climbers and hikers. It's been secured by the county through a series of deals and purchases with help from the Dishman Hills Conservancy.
The new parking area is designed to handle school buses. It will accommodate about 30 passenger vehicles if parked in an organized fashion.
Notable restrictions include:
See a map of hiking trails accessible from Stevens Creek or from the north side Holman Road access to Iller Creek.
TRAILS – Recent wet weather has delayed construction of a parking area to the Big Rock Conservation Area off Stevens Creek Road.
Spokane County Parks and Recreation Paul Knowles said the ground is so soggy, work probably won’t start until around July 2.
Visitors planning to hike into the Big Rock-Rocks of Sharon area near Tower Mountain are advised to use the Iller Creek Conservation Area trailhead.
TRAILS — Spokane County officials announced today they will begin addressing the issue of unleashed dogs — a long-simmering aggravation that's been been stoked in recent years by the purchase of county conservation lands, which many pet owners wrongly assume to be dog parks.
An emphasis patrol to enforce dog leash laws on 12,000 acres of Spokane County park and conservation lands is being launched later this week. The effort is fueled by a $140,000 grant.
Patrols are scheduled for six weeks. The funding also provides for additional patrols by off-duty County Sheriffs officers to deal with issues such as off-leash dogs, shooting and off-road vehicles through June 30, 2013, said Paul Knowles, Spokane Count Parks planner.
The project will start this weekend at Antoine Peak Conservation Area just north of East Valley High School.
Spokane County Park Ranger Bryant Robinson said dogs running off leash is the top complaint from the public, ahead of the No. 2 complaint of off-road vehicles going onto park land.
The breaking point may have come recently when Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard endured the abuse that's been fetching more and more complaints throughout the county.
During a commission briefing today, Richard said his dogs were attacked by three off-leash dogs and when he confronted the owner of the off-leash dogs, he was threatened himself.
“Some people don't take kindly to telling them how to manage their pets,” noted Nicole Montano, animal protection manager for SCRAPS.
S-R reporter Mike Prager was at the briefing and filed this detailed report on the enforcement effort.
Other emphasis patrols currently scheduled include:
During the leash emphasis, authorities will be issuing citations for other violations, including not having a license, which carries a $200 fine, or going onto park land with a motorized vehicle.
Violations of letting a dog run at large, failure to have a current rabies vaccination or having a threatening dog all carry $87 fines.
The $140,000 in funding is coming from a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office NOVA Education and Enforcement grant.
Two adjoining parcels were purchased with $473,500 from the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program plus $257,500 donated by the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association, said John Bottelli, County Parks assistant director.
“DHNAA exceeded their original pledge by ultimately covering more than the county's share of the Stone Estate acreage by $35,000,” Bottelli said. “Their $257,500 represents 54 percent of the purchase price and is an incredible accomplishment for any non-profit!”
The Dishman Hills group scraped up the money and secured the property before other interests could lock it up privately.
Click here for the details on this great acquisition for future generations and how it fits into the big picture for maintaining wildlife movements and public access to wildlands in our ever-more-populated region.
HIKING — Several groups of hikers celebrated the summer solstice by trekking to the top of Antoine Peak after work and hiking down into the sunset.
Antoine is a Spokane County Conservation Futures acquisition that forms the green mountain backdrop north of East Valley High School.
An 8.5-mile round trip from the new Lincoln Road parking lot-trailhead put us on the top of the peak for great views of Mount Spokane to the north and the Spokane Valley and Mica Peak to the south.
COUNTY PARKS — The National Trails Day weekend work project scheduled for Liberty Lake County Park has been changed to put more muscle to Spokane County’s popular Iller Creek Conservation Area up from Dishman-Mica Road.
Volunteers are needed June 4 or 5 to improve the popular trail in the Conservation Futures area that sweeps up to the Rocks of Sharon. loop trail at Liberty Lake County Park.
The effort to re-route portions of the Iller Creek trail is among seven volunteer trail work parties WTA is sponsoring June 4-5 in recognition of National Trails Day.
No prior experience is necessary, just a desire to help out and have fun. Helpers must wear proper boots and clothing and bring water and food. Tools are provided
Work parties begin at the trailhead around 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.
Pre-registration is required, or call (206) 625-1367.