Spokane Parks worker Mike Aho heard all sorts of guesses from colleagues about how many bridges cross the Spokane River between Monroe Street and the University District.
But none were close to the right answer. It turns out there are 22 bridges between Monroe Street and the Don Kardong Bridge by the Gonzaga University campus, Aho said.
Out of appreciation for the numerous crossings and the scenic river below, Aho created the Spokane River Bridge Walk, an annual event that has attracted hundreds of people since its inception in 2009.
“Portland has a bridge walk,” Aho said, citing his inspiration. And Spokane should have one, too, he decided.
Jill Kornelis with the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department estimated about 150 people registered for this year’s Bridge Walk Saturday morning. Kornelis acknowledged that not everyone who takes the walk pays the $9 registration fee.
Roughly 200 attended last year, said Jerry Uruh, a volunteer for the event.
“The beauty is you get to see Spokane Falls multiple times from multiple angles,” Uruh said. “Most people who live here their whole life really have not walked these or realized how many bridges there are.”
The event features a tour of 17 bridges along a casual 4.5 mile hike from the Monroe Street Bridge to the University District and back to the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park.
“We only do 17 of them because a couple of them are incapable of walking on,” Aho said.
Most of the bridges are in Riverfront Park, and some are not passable by car. Several of the footbridges were built for Expo ’74.
Aho estimated this year’s event raised about $1,000 from registration fees, which apply to anyone more than four years old. The money goes back to the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.
He wants to explore expanding the walk out to the Trent Avenue Bridge for future Bridge Walks, but the route getting over there would be a little odd, he said.