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Video: Beacon Hill downhill biker bites dust, walks away

MOUNTAIN BIKING — Many of you saw my story and photos this spring about the efforts by downhill mountain bikers to developed courses for their fast, specialized and dangerous sport in the Camp Sekani area of Beacon Hill in Spokane Valley.

But few of you have ever sat in the saddle of one of these full-suspension bikes as they rocket downhill, soar over basalt rock cliffs and bounce through boulders and outcroppings toward the finish line.

Click above for a fairly epic short video of a run in the March 2013 Double Down Hoe Down race by Mike Brawley, who had a great run in his second-ever race until the last major boulder dropoff before the hairpin curves where the crowd gathers near the end of the course.  

Coming down through the last steep dropoff, he went over the handlebars and knocked himself unconscious.

The crowd cheered after medics check him out and helped him up.

But honestly, he's lucky he's not in a wheelchair.

See medics helping Brawley after the crash.

Beacon Hill trails get $4K boost from REI

PARKS — Trail rehabilitation and restoration projects around Beacon Hill and Camp Sekani are getting a boost from the REI store in Spokane.

The store's presented $4,464 to the Spokane Parks & Recreation board for use in the popular mountain biking and hiking area. 

This is the last of three community grant part checks REI has awarded for 2012, a year of record giving through the program, said Carol Christensen, REI outreach specialist in Spokane.

 In addition to the Parks & Rec Foundation, REI awarded $10,000 to the Friends of the Centennial Trail and $10,000 to the Riverside State Park Foundation.  

That's a total $24,464 boost to popular local outdoor recreation destinations.

"REI’s mission, 'To inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship,' is what drives the market-based grant program," Christensen said.

The Friends of the Centennial Trail and Riverside State Park Foundation pooled a portion of the grant funding to hire a volunteer coordinator to “recruit, train, and supervise volunteers to perform repairs, maintenance, and cleanup of the Centennial Trail, including campgrounds, recreation sites, and cultural sites and to create and maintain a database of volunteers.”

All three organizations have already been active in getting volunteers on the trails with more than 150 hours logged through the volunteer coordination program and several trail projects completed at Beacon Hill/Camp Sekani.

Get involved with these organizations by contacting Jake Graham at Riverside State Park, email riverside@parks.wa.gov , or Mike Aho at Spokane Parks and Rec, maho@spokanecity.org.

Info: Carol  Christensen, cchrist@rei.com.

Hard to believe, but Spokane hasn’t always had moose

WILDLIFE — After reading my blog about the moose poaching case on Beacon Hill, a woman who lived in this area from the 50s through the 70s wrote to say she never knew there were moose around Spokane.

It's not she wasn't observant.  Moose are relative newcomers to the region, showing up roughly with the first big waves of Californians.

Washington's moose population has been slowly growing since the first confirmed moose sighting was made in Pend Oreille County in the early '50's. Wildlife research pegged about 60 moose in the northeast corner of the state in the early '70s.

The first moose hunting season was authorized in 1977 with just three permits, all for the northeast portion of Pend Oreille County.

This year, 150 moose hunting permits are being offered for a moose population estimated at more than 1,000 — although that estimate appears to have been made before the wolves gained a foothold in northeastern Washington in recent years.

Since the 90s, moose have spread into Stevens and Spokane counties and beyond, where they've been showing up in towns, in school yards, in swimming pools on a hot day. A few people have been charged by moose.  Some have had the misfortune of colliding with moose on area roads.  Heck, one calf fell through a window into the basement bedroom of a home in north Spokane.

 They've only been common for a couple of decades, but nowadays everybody in this area has a moose story.

Suspects named in Beacon Hill moose poaching case

SPOKANE— Two brothers suspected of illegally killing a cow moose with archery gear on the north side of Beacon Hill in Spokane Valley around April 10 have been identified from the search warrant served in the case by Washington Fish and Wildlife Police.

Donald Gilbrech and San Gilbrech will be charged with several counts pending the results of DNA testing on the 95 pounds of moose meat seized from the men, Spokane officers said, without referring to the suspects by name.

Also confiscated was deer meat and Don Gilbrech's SUV, which contained moose hair and blood, the case report said.

A limited number of coveted special permits are required for hunting moose in Washington and the seasons are held in late summer and fall.

Fish and Wildlife Department officials say tips from the public helped officers make the case against the Gilbrechs.

An animal welfare group had offered a $2,500 reward for tips that lead to a conviction in the case.

Officers said a worker near Beacon Hill had seen a cow moose in the area.  Circling birds later prompted the informant to check out the area, where a moose head, guts and hide were found.

A bow and arrow matching the arrowhead found on scene were seized at San Gilbrech's house, officers said.

Each man faces fines of about $5,000 if convicted on the various possible charges for killing the moose and deer, officers said.
  

Beacon Hill moose poaching suspects nabbed

POACHING — An anonymous informant could soon be $2,500 richer after leading wildlife agents to moose poachers.

At least two suspects are being investigated for illegally killing a cow moose on the north side of Beacon Hill in Spokane Valley around April 10.

Washington Fish and Wildlife police report they have confiscated 95 packages of moose meat and the archery equipment used in the moose poaching.

Under a search warrant, officers also seized the vehicle they suspect was used for transporting the moose off the popular recreation area east of Esmeralda Golf Course.

Formal charges are pending results of DNA testing on the meat, said Madonna Luers, the agency’s spokeswoman in Spokane.

An anonymous tip led officers to the evidence, she said.

If the suspects are convicted, the informant is eligible for a $2,500 reward offered by a national animal welfare group.

Moose killed on Beacon Hill; officer seeks tips

POACHING — A cow moose was illegally killed Monday night on Beacon Hill in Spokane Valley, Washington Fish and Wildlife police say.

The poachers killed the animal using archery equipment on the north side of the mountain above Valley Springs road.

The animal was butchered on the spot, leaving little more than the two front feet and head behind.

Tire tracks indicate a small vehicle was used, possibly a small four-wheel drive, said Officer Dave Spurbeck.  A landowner heard a vehicle leaving the area around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Officers have few other clues and welcome any information that might help solve the case.

  • Call the investigators directly: Officer Paul Mosman, 710-5707, or Spurbeck, 993-3997. You can remain anonymous and still be elligible for a reward.

Beacon Hill, which holds several communications towers, is the prominent mountain just north of the Spokane River and just east of Esmeralda Golf Course. It's popular with mountain biker and hikers.

This web page details how poaching tips in any case can be provided anonymously by phone, email or text message.   Rewards are offered.

Otherwise call (877) 933-9847 anywhere in the state.

To reach the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Spokane Region Office during work hours, call (509) 892 1001.

North-east development advisory board and stakeholders meeting

This meeting is held at Beacon Hill Events Center (4848 E. Wellesley) on March 2 from 4-5 p.m. I don’t have an agenda to post with this meeting announcement but am thinking it must have to do with the Beacon Hill development and perhaps some of the plans for the industrial area on the east side of the tracks, in Hillyard.

Here's a link that explains a bit more about the process and the projects.

Teri Stripes at City Hall is the official contact: (509) 625-6597

Thursday’s Beacon Hill hearing

The Beacon Hill development got a preliminary plat/PUD hearing before the city of Spokane hearings examiner Thursday morning. About 20 people were there to testify in support of the development, which has been widely embraced by Hillyard business people and residents.

The project presented at last week's hearing, is the first phase of the Beacon Hill Home development and this part is located on the northern face of Beacon Hill, with access from Wellesley Avenue. It proposes the construction of 304 single and multi-family homes on 40.31 acres of a site that covers a total of 182 acres.

Owners Pete Rayner and David Baker have been working on the project for more than a decade, and at Thursday’s hearing Rayner said it has cost the developers close to $900,000 to get to this point because the city has delayed responses to various applications.

Rayner presented a document from 2006, signed by then head of the city water department Brad Blegen, which outlined an agreement in which the city, Beacon Hill and another entity known as Vista Homes, would each take care of part of the water infrastructure improvements needed.

Vista Homes was not represented at the hearing and no one in the room knew if that development is moving ahead or not.

Rayner wants the city to move ahead and make the promised water infrastructure improvements so he can get on with his development.

He said it would cost him as much as $800,000 to bring the water access up to par, a job that may include the construction of a new water tank, water mains and a booster station.

Representatives from the city’s water department at this point are reluctant to foot the entire bill, and the city also has some concerns about the access road to the development (too steep, blind curves) as well as the sewer capacity at the site.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing the city and Beacon Hill were both asked to submit a document outlining a satisfactory solution to the current stalemate.

Look for a full story in Thursday's Voice section.

Beacon Hill development hearing Thursday

The preliminary plat/PUD hearing for the proposed Beacon Hill housing development is Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the city council briefing room, lower level of city hall. Look for a story in tomorrow's Voice section. And here's an e-mail from Luke Tolley, Hillyard Neighborhood Council Chair, in support of the proposed 304 single and multi-family home development:

"The Hillyard Neighborhood Council has pledged its support for the Beacon Hill development effort and as such we are encouraging our members to attend Thursday morning's hearing with the City that Beacon Hill is having.  
 
The hearing is Thursday, Jan 6th, 9:30am at the City Council Briefing Room, lower level of City Hall.
 
The hearing has to do with issues with the water access and will very much effect the future of not only the Beacon Hill development, but the development of all of East Hillyard.
 
I encourage you to attend, but furthermore I encourage you to get others from your organizations to attend as well. " Via e-mail from Luke Tolley.