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Centennial Trail joins elite group

The Spokane River Centennial Trail makes the list of national recreation trails.  (File)
The Spokane River Centennial Trail makes the list of national recreation trails. (File)

OUTCLASS – The Spokane River Centennial Trail was designated a “national recreation trail” this week.

The recognition by the U.S. Department of Interior ranks the 37-mile route among an elite group of more than 1,000 trails totaling about 12,500 miles.

“The designation will be beneficial in funding searches because this emphasizes that our amazing free public resource is not just important locally, but also nationally,” said Kaye Turner, Friends of the Centennial Trail executive director.

Trail advocates are looking for funding to help with trail improvements in several areas, she said.

The national recreation trails program, founded in 1971, features trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and parks.

The friends group applied for the national status and had little trouble getting selected, Turner said.

“The trail gets more than 2 million visits a year,” she said Tuesday. “I just had a man call this morning from Tennessee. He’d read about the trail and was planning it into his trip to this area. That’s not unusual.”

The friends group has begun planning a celebration for June 18.

Info: 624-7188.

Anglers show respect for largemouth bass

OUTFISH – An angling survey on the lower Coeur d’Alene River chain lakes last year showed that despite liberal regulations the majority of bass anglers practiced catch-and-release.

Only about 10 percent of the largemouths caught were harvested.

That’s helped maintain a good percentage of large, old fish in the population, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.

However, bass clubs are beginning to adopt his recommendation to catch and kill more smallmouth bass, especially the smaller ones.

Smallmouths are prolific and could crowd out largemouths and other fisheries.

Washington pegged for pleasant pedaling

OUTSTANDING – The state Transportation Department says Washington’s commitment to bicycle-friendly policies has made it the League of American Bicyclists favorite for the third year in a row.

Washington recently was named 2010’s top bicycle-friendly state for supporting bike riding as a way to address climate change, traffic congestion, obesity and high fuel prices.

The evaluations are made on categories such as bicycling legislation, programs, infrastructure, education and enforcement.

Neighboring Oregon ranked No. 5. Idaho ranked 26th, gaining eight spots in the annual evaluation.

Trails in spotlight

OUTDO – National Parks will wave entrance fees next weekend to celebrate National Trails week.

But Washington Trails Association volunteers are staying local next weekend to re-route portions of the Liberty Lake Park trail around the work of active beavers.

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