Out & About: South Hill bluff trail access closing

 OUTGATED – An access to South Hill bluff trails at 57th Avenue and Hatch Road is set to be closed this week.

The area is large enough for a dozen vehicles and is popular with hikers and bikers as well as people looking for unobscured views of full-moon rises and blaze-orange sunsets.

“The decision to close the spot was made by the developer of the Tuscan Ridge development project,” said Pradeep Hatcher, City of Spokane information assistant.

The private land, owned by developer Yong Lewis, adjoins public land owned by the city.

“The developer has safety concerns as the project moves forward,” Hatcher said. “A report on the integrity of the hillside is pending, so the developer wants the area closed off to be safe.”

The area is set to be closed this week, she said. “The closure could last for the duration of the Tuscan Ridge project, or at least for a significant portion of work.”

The Friends of the Bluff conservation group has applied to the county Conservation Futures Program to consider acquiring the Tuscan Ridge property for an addition to the popular South Hill bluff trails.

Anglers lose access at West Medical Lake

OUTTRASHED – A chronic littering problem has resulted in the closure of the unofficial fishing access site at the north end of West Medical Lake.

Rudy Lopez of the Washington State Veterans Cemetery said the gate to the access off Espanola Road was locked on Thursday and “no trespassing” signs were posted.

“It’s one of those cases of a few people ruining it for the majority,” Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist, said last week in an appeal for anglers to clean up their act.

“When we’ve contacted fishermen, they always say it’s somebody else doing the littering,” Lopez said. “We’ve hoped that they would support us by chipping in, doing the Boy Scout thing, leaving the place better than they found it.

“We did reach out the prison at Airway Heights and they’ve been sending a detail out once a month to pick up. We’re out there weekly picking up and Fish and Wildlife people come out regularly, but we can’t keep up. It just gets trashed again.”

Public access at the south end of the lake remains open.

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