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Getting There: Dishman Hills conservation holdings get name

Mon., Dec. 17, 2012

A series of properties open for public access in the Dishman Hills area has become a haven for hikers as well as a sanctuary for wildlife just miles from Spokane County’s two largest cities.

The county continues to add new parcels to the collection that runs from Camp Caro on the north to Big Rock on the south.

The county’s Conservation Futures program, which is supported by local property taxes, has added several parcels in just the past year.

Officials and community volunteers are attempting to create a “dream trail” running through all of the holdings.

Spokane County commissioners have decided to name the Conservation Futures holdings as the Dishman Hills Conservation Area.

It includes properties known as Iller Creek, Stone Estate, McCollum Property and Big Rock. Together, they total 1,227 acres.

The newly named conservation area is south of the long-established Dishman Hills Natural Area that fans out from Camp Caro near Appleway Boulevard. The area remains in a natural state and is seen as a logical place for wildlife, recreation and environmental education.

Doug Chase, county parks director, told commissioners last week that the naming of the Dishman Hills Conservation Area will help clear up confusion among the conservation properties to the south.

In addition to the county properties, the Dishman Hills Conservancy owns a series of adjoining parcels and allows public access on them.

The long-term goal is to continue adding private properties to the public holdings, Chase told commissioners.

Short of that, officials are seeking trail easements from private owners so that the public can move among the parcels legally. Some of the private owners do not prevent public access, Chase said.

Parks staff is planning to identify each of the access points by its local name – Iller Creek Trailhead on the east, Stevens Creek Trailhead on the south and a future Glenrose Trailhead on the west.

Sullivan meeting

Spokane Valley engineering officials are hosting a public meeting on Jan. 9 to update the community on plans for Sullivan Road improvements, including the twin bridges over the Spokane River.

The meeting will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place.

Those who attend can see the latest plans for replacing the southbound bridge on Sullivan Road over the Spokane River. In addition, the meeting will provide information about repaving Sullivan Road from the Flora Pit Road to Trent Avenue and a retrofit of storm drains on the bridge.

City officials are also seeking public support in requesting funding for the bridge replacement from the state Legislature next session.

Third Ave. rebuild

Spokane city planners are holding an open house Tuesday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Goodwill Industries, 130 E. Third Ave., on plans for rebuilding Third Avenue from Division to Arthur streets next year.

The project is funded as part of a 10-year street improvement program approved by voters in 2004.

Dartford closure

Dartford Drive from Mill to Wandermere roads will be closed while crews remove loose rock and dirt and install bolts on the slope below U.S. Highway 395.

Laying cable

Work to install fiber-optic communications cable will result in one-lane traffic on state Highway 20 east of Colville. Delays of up to 20 minutes are possible while crews are working. The project has been under way for weeks now.

Winter safety

With snow falling in recent days, the Washington State Department of Transportation issued this reminder last week:

“Winter driving conditions can be expected on all state highways and secondary roadways.  Motorists need to be prepared for these conditions at all times by carrying chains, basic safety equipment and keeping your vehicle in proper operating condition.”

When driving outside of urban areas, motorists should also carry a small supply of food, water, extra clothing, a cellphone, a flashlight and a shovel.

Always consider what you would need to stay safe and warm if your vehicle goes off the road and the engine is disabled while you are waiting for help. 

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Third Avenue project.

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