Plan sets goals, paves way for outside funding
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.
Trails that run onto private property also are mapped to help local jurisdictions address trespassing concerns through better signage, trail rerouting and in some instances acquiring easements from willing sellers.
Outdoor groups in the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition helped fund the trail planning, map trails and propose possible links and expansion.
The new Centennial Trail segment through Kendall Yards 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.
Other goals include:
• Create arterial trails and local links connecting parks, open spaces, neighborhoods, colleges and communities.
• Connect with mass transit.
• Identify corridors for conservation and guide trail planning to reduce impacts.
Demand for trails and trail activities has grown substantially since 1994 and is projected to continue growing over the next several decades, he said.
According to the plan, “Trails can facilitate active lifestyles that lead to a healthier community and those same trails also put Spokane County on the map as a destination for visitors and future residents.”