Out & About: Trail volunteers have big plans
OUTDO – The Washington Trails Association is recruiting volunteers for an ambitious lineup of trail-building and maintenance projects in far Eastern Washington this season.
Every year as the budgets for parks and forests dwindle, volunteers become more important, said Jane Baker, local WTA trail crew leader in Spokane.
The work parties range for day jobs at the Rocks of Sharon to multiday trips in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness that combine backpacking with trail clearing.
WTA is a third of the way to meeting the 2,000-hours of work at Liberty Lake County Park the group pledged in order to get a state grant. The first of several work parties planned at Liberty Lake is set for Saturday, followed by work in April, May, June and July.
Other project areas include the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, Dishman Hills, Mount Spokane and Sullivan Lake.
Sign up online, wta.org.
Info: (206) 625-1367.
Valley rail trail workshop topic
TRAILS – A proposed bike-pedestrian trail through the heart of Spokane Valley will be discussed at a community workshop Monday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, Suite 101.
The proposed 12-foot-wide trail would run about 2.2 miles down the old Milwaukee right-of-way, between University Road and Evergreen Road and between Sprague and 4th Avenue. Future extensions would be possible.
City of Spokane Valley Public Works staff members and design planning consultants will be on hand to introduce the project, review maps, and help gather input from the community.
Info: Steve Worley, project manager, 720-5014, email sworley
Bill would stabilize conservation fund
OUTFUND – U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Montana Democrats, have introduced a bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a vital source of matching money for state fish and wildlife research and recreation facilities such as fishing access sites.
The program, initiated in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, draws money from offshore oil and gas royalties for projects benefiting fish, wildlife and recreation throughout the nation.
The new bill would send $900 million a year into the fund from the oil and gas royalties, not general-fund tax dollars. “This would provide more permanence and stability to work on projects,” said Alan Rowsome, funding specialist for the Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. “That saves dollars in the long run, as opposed to having them constantly in limbo. It helps states like Montana to plan out good conservation opportunities.”
Last year, a similar bill seeking $700 million in a two-year transportation funding bill was widely supported in the Senate, but stripped out in the House of Representatives.