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Help Preserve Our Masterpiece On Tap

You walk into your basement and see clutter everywhere. Boxes of old clothes. Magazines from the 1970s you vow one day to read. Broken appliances you plan to fix soon. You paw through the clutter and find a dusty painting. You clean it off and discover that the painting is a Rembrandt!

Would you leave it in the basement? Not a chance. Remember the Rembrandt in the basement tomorrow as you run Bloomsday. As you make your way up Doomsday Hill, look over your right shoulder. You’ll see a clutter of bushes, trees and overgrown grass at the edge of the Spokane River. A masterpiece hides there, a Rembrandt of nature.

In three places, the Spokane-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer bubbles to the surface in the form of mountain streams. The source of drinking water for much of the Inland Northwest, the 135-square mile aquifer is a slow-moving underground river, clogged with rocks. Because the aquifer is out of our sight, we take it for granted. But were it ever to be polluted, we’d pay plenty to unpollute our drinking water.

A group of aquifer lovers wants to bring Spokane’s natural masterpiece out of the weeds. They are trying to raise money and community energy for “Three Springs Aquifer Park” on 40 cityowned acres that you see as you huff up Doomsday Hill. They hope to clean out the rubbish around the running water, display interpretive signs about the aquifer, refurbish a 1970s gazebo already on the site and maybe put in picnic tables and benches. They hope to create a spot of peace in the middle of a busy city.

Dan Petek, one of the project’s prime movers, says, “We want to make it inviting, but not turn it into a playground.”

After Bloomsday is over, return to the Three Springs Area. Listen for the sound of running water. You will find what looks like three mountain streams, dancing down to the river below. This is the aquifer. The setting already feels magical. Sit on a rock near the water and you expect to see a character from a fantasy story. Perhaps the rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.” I’m late. I’m late.

Enjoy the masterpiece, then help preserve it. Three Springs Aquifer Park planners need dump trucks, dirt haulers, carpenters, landscapers, litter collectors, high school and college classes willing to help. Give Dan Petek a call at 328-7307. Then pour yourself a toast - a glass of aquifer water, direct from your tap.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board