January 10, 2014 in Idaho, Outdoors

Rathdrum may gain access to Rathdrum Mountain

Associated Press
 

RATHDRUM, Idaho — It may soon be possible to access 557 acres the city of Rathdrum owns on Rathdrum Mountain for recreational purposes.

After at least a decade of effort, the city has located documents showing that Barrett Drive, formerly named Foster Road, has been a county road since 1909.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reported Thursday that Barrett Drive leads to the city’s mountain property.

A public hearing before the Post Falls Highway District seeking validation will be held on Feb. 19.

“The research shows that it has not been vacated or abandoned as a public road,” Rathdrum Mayor Vic Holmes told the newspaper.

“We’re not trying to take somebody’s land away,” Holmes said. “It has been a public road and it remains a public road.”

The city has tried for years to open recreation access to its property on the mountain, Holmes said.

Rathdrum has spent about $15,000 in attorney fees to research the topic.

City Administrator Brett Boyer said if validation is approved, the city will explore low-impact recreational opportunities for the site and accept public comments. The site includes mountain streams, giant cedar trees and dirt Forest Service roads.

“It’s very scenic and walkable,” Holmes said.

The city’s property has been selectively logged, which has generated income for the city and helped pay for City Hall. The site is about a half a mile north of the city limits.

Several years ago, a group of Boy Scouts approached the city wanting to access the property, but were denied.

“The citizens of Rathdrum own that property and deserve access,” Holmes said.

The city believes the four private property owners who would be affected if the city gains access to its site would stand to benefit because Barrett Drive would be improved and maintained by either the city, highway district or both agencies.

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