Spokane County has added about 230 acres to the Antoine Peak Conservation Area that will provide new hiking trails and preserve wildlife habitat.
The county announced Wednesday it had closed a deal to acquire the Etter Ranch property for $2 million through its Conservation Futures Program.
The ranchland, previously owned by James and Billie Etter, is northeast of Flora Road and Wellesley Avenue in Spokane Valley and just south of an existing conservation area. It features a spring, stands of mature ponderosa pines, large rock outcroppings and a former homestead site with silver maple trees.
In a news release, the county said the acquisition “preserves critical winter habitat for white-tailed deer while also creating the opportunity to develop a ‘valley-to-peak’ trail experience.”
“Without Conservation Futures, there’s no doubt in my mind that this property would have been subdivided and developed in the near future,” Paul Knowles, a special projects manager with the county’s Parks, Recreation and Golf Department, said in the news release.
For now, the Etter Ranch land is accessible only through the previously established conservation area. Trailheads are at 19516 E. Lincoln Road and 15501 E. Brevier Road. Hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed in the area.
The county said it likely will add new trailhead parking and other trail improvements to the ranch land, which was purchased with a three-year loan from the county treasurer’s office. The loan will be repaid with revenue from the Conservation Futures tax.
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