Mark Pinch of Liberty Lake broke the mold for real estate developers and their frequent dearth of interest in public trails.
Not only did he orchestrate the 9-mile trail system at Saltese Uplands just east of I-90 and Barker Road, he also rolled up his sleeves and joined a 12-man crew he hired to do the sweaty work. “This is a dream come true for me,” said Pinch, a mountain biker, fly fisher and all-around outdoorsman who grew up in the area.
The trails are well thought out with good sight lines and curves that check mountain bike speeds to make cyclists compatible with hikers and horse riders.
“I wanted this to appeal to a wide range of people,” he said, noting that he’s looking into options for easements that could allow a trail to connect the area with Liberty Lake.
The trails helped forge the agreement for the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program to buy the 552-acre parcel held by American West Bank in a foreclosure. Pinch brokered the deal.
Saltese Uplands is a spring treat of wildflowers for hikers overlooking the waterfowl flocking to Saltese flats and wetlands below.
Bottom line: A scenic open area that had been platted for 107 lots and an 18-hole golf course has been permanently preserved as open space for wildlife and outdoor recreation, enhancing private property values around the area. “That’s win-win for a real estate guy who loves the outdoors,” Pinch said.