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Riding a bike to work pt. 5 - The question

You see that flannel-wearing fat guy on a bike trying to get to work on time, just the same as every commuter on the road in the morning? That's me.

The only difference between me and most of the other daily commuters is that every now and then I hop onto my bicycle instead of pulling the keys out of my pocket and hopping into my car. I always wear my helmet, I stay as far right as I can, I obey all the traffic signals and I have bicycle lights front and back.

Yet, even though I've only been riding for a few weeks, I've already been yelled at, flipped off, called an a**hole and almost run off the road by some psychotic redneck in a pedo-van.

Why are people so angry?

It's not like I'm wearing a skull helmet and a ridiculously tassled leather jacket as I roar down the avenue in my barely legal Harley-Davidson. I don't think I'm comparable to that anime nerd who is street racing a hopped-up Subaru Impreza with a silly whistling turbo and purple running lights.

I mean, it's just a bicycle. A steel frame with two slightly wobbly wheels adorned with the cheapest rubber I could afford and the same stock Japanese SunTour hardware that came with it back in the early 1980s.

I don't have the answer to why people get so ornery when it comes to bicycles sharing the road with automobiles, although I suspect diets high in insoluble fiber might be to blame.

Nick Deshais has blogged about various different initiatives being proposed by the city including some sort of bridge thing over the train tracks, proposed bike paths/trails, and people leave nasty comments. On Facebook and here in our comment threads, people say some really meanbad things.

I don't get it, so I ask you, dear reader, to help me understand it.

Why do people in Spokane — not all people mind you, just some of them — REALLY hate bicyclists?

Trails Day volunteers dig into Riverside State Park

TRAILS — About 100 volunteers turned out Sunday to brave the heat and dust as they put their muscle into upgrading Trail 100 in Riveside State Park, said Carol Christensen, Outreach coordinator for REI Spokane.

Partner organizations included Washington Trails Association, Backcountry Horsemen, Spokane Mountaineers, Evergreen East, West Central Community Center, Friends of the Centennial Trail, Riverside State Park Foundation and Riverside State Park.

The National Trails Day local service event was sponsored by REI, which also announced a 2015 grant of $20,000 to support the park's volunteer coordinator, who plans other part projects through the year.

Temporary trail etiquette signs have been installed at either end of the rehabbed section near the Fort Wright Cemetery. Permanent signs are ordered.

"The tread has been widened to 3-4 feet and many of the problematic rocks were removed," Christensen said. "Volunteers also brushed back a fair bit of poison ivy and other undergrowth.

"As we were packing up Sunday afternoon, we saw hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders headed out, from either end, to enjoy the new section.

Trail 100 is a nifty river-hugging route accessed from state park and Centennial Trail parking areas in the Fort Wright area.  For details, see Trip 79 in Day Hiking Eastern Washington.

Hike or bike with a group in Saturday’s trail day events

TRAILS — Three bike rides and eight hikes coordinated by the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition are being led on Saturday in the Spokane area — one near Reardan — by local trails-related groups and they're inviting you to join them.

Check out details about the Opening Day for Trails celebration:

RSVP for a bike ride or hike below. Share the Facebook event with friends.
You're not required to attend an organized hike to attend the celebration (bottom)! 


Tandem Bike Ride @ 10am
Spokane City Parks

Mountain Bike Ride: 7 Mile Trailhead (7903 W Missoula Rd) @ 10am
Riverside State Park Foundation

Ben Burr Park @ 10am
Southgate Neighborhood Council


Glenrose Conservation Area (Ferris HS parking lot at 37th & Ray) @ 10 am
Dishman Hills Conservancy

Dishman Hills Natural Area (625 S Sargent Rd) @ 12pm
Dishman Hills Conservancy

Fish Lake Trail Trailhead @ 10am
Hobnailers Hiking Club

Location TBA @ 10am
Spokane Mountaineers

Deep Creek (Meet at Riverside State Park’s Ranger Station) @ 10am
Riverside State Park Foundation

Audubon Lake Wildlife Area @ 10am

McKenzie Conservation Area @ 10am
Ms Adventures - Women Only

18 Downtown Bridges: (Leaving from Kendall Yards) @ 4 p.m.
Rich Landers, guidebook author

Opening Day Celebration at Kendall Yards (1335 W Summit Pkwy) @ 2pm

Meet for snacks, trail talk and celebration!

Live tree hacked down along South Hill Bluff trails

TRAILS — Trails users on the South Hill Bluff today found a live ponderosa pine crudely hacked down by someone using an ax.

The apparent vandalism is below 37th and High Drive.

A lot of people have chipped in to create the trail system and the Friends of the Bluff have organized clean ups as well applying forestry techniques and hundreds of hours of volunteer effort to make the bluff more fire safe.

But this tree was in the open, providing nothing but healthy shade and habitat.

What the hell?

Mountain biking skills classes set at Sekani

CYCLING — A basic mountain biking skills class, taught by Evergreen East, is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 27 at Camp Sekani.

An intermediate skills class will follow on Oct. 25.

Details:  Evergreen East.

South Hill bluff trails access to be closed

TRAILS – An access to South Hill bluff trails at 57th Avenue and Hatch Road is set to be closed this week.

The area is large enough for a dozen vehicles and is popular with hikers and bikers as well as people looking for unobscured views of full-moon rises and blaze-orange sunsets.

“The decision to close the spot was made by the developer of the Tuscan Ridge development project,” said Pradeep Hatcher, City of Spokane information assistant.

The private land, owned by developer Yong Lewis, adjoins public land owned by the city. Approved in 2007, the proposed development is controversial with neighbors.

“The developer has safety concerns as the project moves forward,” Hatcher said. “A report on the integrity of the hillside is pending, so the developer wants the area closed off to be safe.”

The area is set to be closed this week, she said. “The closure could last for the duration of the Tuscan Ridge project, or at least for a significant portion of work.”

The Friends of the Bluff conservation group has applied to the  Spokane County Conservation Futures Program to consider acquiring the Tuscan Ridge property for an addition to the popular South Hill bluff trails that stretch from the Hatch Road area north to Polly Judd Park near 14th Avenue. 

No decision has been made on acquiring the access site for public use.

Groups highlight trail projects past and future

PUBLIC LANDS – Volunteer trail projects past and future will be highlighted in a program by the Spokane Mountaineers and Washington Trails Association on Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m., at the Mountain Gear Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield.

“The Mountaineers have a long history of giving back to our local trails,” said Lynn Smith, the club’s trail-maintenance program coordinator. “Whether working on our own or in conjunction with other organizations, we understand that stewardship goes hand-in-hand with recreation, and volunteers are a crucial part of the process – especially in this era of shrinking budgets.”

More projects are planned this year in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, he said.

Route of the Hiawatha opens to bikes on Saturday

BICYCLING — The Route of The Hiawatha rail-trail near Lookout Pass is set to open for the 2014 summer season on Friday, May 24.

The 15-mile route for mountain biking or hiking follows a portion of the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad on a mostly downhill grade between the old town site of Taft, Mont., (off Interstate 90) and the North Fork of the St. Joe River near Avery, Idaho.

Top attractions include seven trestles towering up to 230 feet over the creeks and forest and 10 tunnels, including the 1.7-mile St. Paul Pass Tunnel  (Taft Tunnel) at the Montana-Idaho border.  

Pedal the route down and back on your own for a 30-miler or ride the downhill route and board a shuttle bus for a lift back to the start.

Trail passes ($6-$10), shuttle bus tickets ($6-$9) and mountain bike rentals ($20-$30) are available at Lookout Pass Ski Area 12 miles east of Wallace.

  • By the way, the bike rentals they provide are GREAT smooth-riding fat-tire bikes, complete with helmets and EXTRA-BRIGHT headlights.  You will be very glad you had the sense to have a VERY BRIGHT headlight for going through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel.  Trust me.

The trail will be open daily, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through Sept. 28.

KPBX leader can toot his horn in Bike to Work Week

BICYCLING — As a boy, KPBX program director Verne Windham may have had longings to play tuba, but he instinctively knew a French horn would be a more toteable package during Spokane's annual Bike to Work Week.

Good choice, Verne!

The annual event to promote non-polluter two-wheel commuter transportation kicked off this morning with a free pancake breakfast in Riverfront Park provided by Mountain Gear

How many miles will you rack up on a bike instead of a car this week?

  • By the way, the background music for the breakfast provided by Madeline McNeill and her guitar was sensational. If you're looking for an entertainer for a gathering from the South Hill to the concert hall, check this lady out. 


Spokane Bike Swap offers prizes, helmets for kids

BICYCLING — The Spokane Bike Swap isn't just the region's best place to buy or sell a bicycle.

The April 12-13 event at Spokane County Fair and Expo center  also offers free helmets to kids who get bike,free prizes to the fist 2,500 people through the door, and more.

  • Bike Consignment Check-In: Friday, April 11, 3-8 p.m.
  • Donate, sell, shop on April 12-13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
From kids bikes and road bikes to tandems and tri-bikes, great deals await and more than 600 used bikes are expected in the Bike Corral.  
Bikes for sale can be registered early online. Details: www.SpokaneBikeSwap.com.
Kids bikes are in special demand. Registration fees will be waived on kid’s bikes with 20” rims or smaller and priced $50 or less.
The event benefits the non-profit Friends of the Centennial Trail.
In addition to bikes, the event will include more than 50 exhibitors and 10 local bike shops. 

Cyclists rule, briefly, on 49 miles of Yellowstone roads

BICYCLING — This is a premier annual opportunity for cyclists to savor Yellowstone National Park before the RVs hit the road.

Yellowstone Park opens 49 miles of road to bicycles today
Bicyclists can enter Yellowstone National Park's West Entrance and ride 49 miles of highway to Mammoth Hot Springs as road crews continue clearing other park roads for the general opening in late April.

Cyclists can call (307) 344-2107 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information.

Weather info: (307) 344-2113.

Get more details on spring biking in the park here

Regional Trails Plan is foundation for growth

TRAILS — The big effort recently invested in updating Spokane County's 2008 Regional Trails Plan has resulted in maps and details important to everyone from hikers to developers.

The Spokane County Commissioners approved the updated plan on Tuesday.

The goal of the plan has always been to develop an interconnected system of trails, whether they're simple single tracks or major rail-trail projects such as the Fish Lake Trail.  The plan also seeks to assure adequate maintenance and high standards while promoting the growing trail system as an economic development tool.

The updated plan, with input from Spokane County Parks and Recreation staff and the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition, includes a mapped inventory of 677 miles of trails, new trail strategies, an analysis of demand and needs and much more detail throughout.

Centennial Trail section to close for repairs

TRAILS — Repairs to the asphalt will require the Spokane River Centennial Trail to be closed on Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 25-26) from Miles 26.5 to Mile 28 from the south side T.J. Meenach Bridge to the Equestrian Area in Riverside State Park, says Loreen McFaul, executive director of the Friends of the Centennial Trail.

GAO report: 3 of 4 Forest Service trails below standards

HIKING — A new federal report says only one-quarter of U.S. Forest Service trails meet the agency’s own standards as it attempts to catch up with a $524 million maintenance deficit.

The is the latest news, coming out after my recent localized story: Budget cuts leave recreation areas looking for outside help.

The Missoulian this week looked into the Government Accountability Office's nation-wide report on trail conditions.

Two groups petitioned members of Congress to look into the matter, since the last similar study was done in 1989. U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Jim Moran, D-Va., officially requested the study.

“With the important exception of maintaining forest health to combat wildfires and insect kill, there is no other activity in the Forest Service’s portfolio that is more important than ensuring the public’s access to our forests and wilderness areas,” Lummis said in a statement, where she also described the trails maintenance program as “held together by Band-Aids and bailing wire.”

The Government Accountability Office report released on June 27 found the Forest Service did some maintenance on 37 percent of its 158,000 miles of trail in fiscal 2012. But it estimated another $314 million in deferred maintenance remained on the to-do list, along with $210 million in unfinished annual maintenance, capital improvements and operations. In its recommendations, the GAO called for closer work with volunteers to get projects done.

That’s already a working assumption for groups like the Backcountry Horsemen, according to Montana state chairman Mark Himmel.

“We asked the Forest Service for a punch list of places that needed work,” Himmel said after returning from a brush-clearing trip on the Continental Divide Trail near Rogers Pass. “The guy said throw a dart at the map. Wherever it hits needs work. We’re a maintenance organization. We pick up the slack and make it work. We know there’s budget cutbacks. I don’t know where it’s going to go, except to just keep at it.”

Treat dad to an outdoor adventure this weekend

FATHERS DAY— Give dad what he really wants for Father's Day — some good, healthy outdoor time with the family.

Here are four suggestions:

FISHING — Most of the region's lakes and streams are in great fishing condition for the weekend, and some Spokane-area are getting a Fathers Day bonus with additional plants of triploid rainbows. Montana is sweetening the holiday attraction by offering Free Fishing Days on June 15-16.  Nobody needs a license to fish in Montana over the weekend, but you must follow all of Montana's other fishing regulations.

BIKING — The Spokane River Centennial Trail and the Fish Lake Trail offer excellent and safe family biking opportunities in Spokane. The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a prized rail trail between Mullan and Plummer, Idaho. Or go for big adventure near Lookout Pass on the Route of the Hiawatha rail trail, featuring tunnels and towering trestles.  Shuttles, bike rentals and even lunches are available.

BOATING — It's hard to beat a family tradition of being on the water with Dad. I prefer paddling the Spokane River or, say, Horseshoe Lake in a canoe or kayak.  Maybe a whitewater rafting trip on the Spokane or Clark Fork rivers with Wiley E. Waters or ROW Adventures. Sailing or motorboating is has been bringing families together for generations, as you can vividly see in this heartwarming short video, Good Run, by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. The film tells the story of one man’s experience on the water and shows why life is better with a boat. 

HIKING — Taking a walk to a nifty spot is a simple and rewarding family outing, whether it's close to home in Riverside State Park or off in the mountains of a nearby national forest.  Need some tips?   Check out my new guidebook, Day Hiking Eastern Washington, which details 125 trips, including a bunch of hikes within a short drive of Spokane. (The book is available at REI, Mountain Gear and local book stores.)

My suggestion:  If you're up for stretching your legs, give Dad the book with a note that says, "We want to make this your best Father's Day ever by taking you on one of the hikes described in this book.  We'll pack the picnic lunch!"

I heard from several families who reported that offer was a big hit on Mothers Day.

Check road, trail conditions before you go

FORESTS — A trail closure notice just issued by the Colville National Forest is a reminder that roads, trails and campgrounds are subject to the whims of nature, even on a holiday weekend.  

Call ahead to forest offices to check on any last-minute closures that could foil your plans.


Upper North Fork Trail #507 will be closed to public use until a washed out bridge can be replaced, Colville Forest officials announced this morning. 

The #507 trail is a connector trail that connects the upper portion of the North Fork of Sullivan Creek to the #515 Crowell Ridge Trail in the Salmo Priest Wilderness.

Info: Sullivan Lake Ranger Station at (509) 446-7500.

Helena has attractions for mountain bikers

CYCLING — Montana's capital city is cashing in on it's surrounding wildness to create attractions for mountain bikers.

The Helena National Forest and South Hills Trail System reaches into Helena with a trailhead in the city limits.

The South Hills Trail System is an extensive mountain biking trail system known for its single track and long descents. Specialty bike shops provide advice on trails, equipment and rentals to ensure riders get the most out of the area.

Soon biking enthusiasts will have another reason to love Helena, the Vigilante Bike Park, which is being built near the town's center to offer terrain features in a safe riding environment. Construction of the park begins this summer on two acres of reclaimed land and will integrate pieces of old Helena buildings from the Urban Renewal Project. Park features for pros and beginners will include pump tracks, dirt jumps for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders as well as a skills trail and dual slalom course.

Meantime, Helena has more than 500 miles of world class mountain biking trails in its area.

These trail systems have groomed the way for several events on the spring-fall cycling schedule:


Start hiking season Tuesday with WTA’s Toast to Trails

OUTGOING – Meet Washington Trails Association members for updates on on the region’s trails and trail projects Tuesday (April 23), 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at Northern Lights Brewhouse, 1003 E. Trent Ave.

RSVP here.

Celebrities sign skateboard to boost Ferry County rail trail

TRAILS — Development of the 28.5-mile Ferry County Rail Trail from Republic along the Kettle River to the U.S. Canada border is getting a boost with an auction item signed by celebrities.

A Longboard Skate - donated to Ferry County Rail Trail Partners by Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder - is being signed by celebrities as a one-of-a-kind auction item. The effort is spearheaded by FCRTP organizer Bob Whittaker, who's also a professional rock band manager currently on a world tour with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Celebs signing the board so far include Nick Zinner, Karen O and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as Eddie Vedder, Neko Case, Nick Cave and pro-skating champ Tony Hawk.

2013 FCRTP Annual Meeting 
The annual meeting of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners will be held at the Carousel Building at the Ferry County Fairgrounds, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday (April 21). Expect to find good people and refreshments, plus a Ferry County Historical Society presentation on area railroad history.

Discover Riverside State Park during Sunday open house

STATE PARKS — Special activities at five venues are scheduled Sunday, (June 24),  10 a.m.-3 p.m., to introduce the public to features and recreation available in Riverside State Park on the west side of Spokane. 

The required Discover Pass will be available for purchase from staff and volunteers. Venues include:

Bowl and Pitcher Area, 4427 North Aubrey L. White Parkway – Hiking and biking information; a free beginner orienteering course; displays, wildlife presentations and children’s activities.

Nine Mile Recreation Area, 11226 West Charles Rd – Canoeing and kayaking activities with boats for loan, boating safety expert, bass and fly fishing info, Lake Spokane presentations.

Equestrian Area, Aubrey L. White Parkway off Government Way – Tour riding trails and new campground facilities; free pony rides for kids under 75 pounds.

Spokane House Interpretive Center, off Highway 291 just west of Nine Mile Dam – Indoor and outdoor museum exhibits and demonstrations about the early fur trade.

Off-Road Vehicle Area, 9412 N. Inland Road – All-terrain vehicle test drives, ride-alongs with expert ORV drivers and displays featuring ORV gear.

More information: riversidestatepark.org.

Summer Parkways takes over Comstock-Manito neighborhood streets

OUTDOOR NEIGHBORHOODS — Celebrate Summer Solstice where motor vehicles will be out and kids and their families will rule the streets in the Comsock-Manito Neighborhoods Wednesday (June 20) 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

The second of two Summer Parkways events will bring a celebration to the streets as traffic is closed off to allow families to bike, hike, dance, skate and enjoy the streets for three hours.

See a map of the traffic-free route in the Comstock/Manito Neighborhood

Silver Mountain gondola reopens; dads ride free

RESORTS — The snow has finally melted and the Silver Mountain gondola is scheduled to reopen Saturday (June 16) to transport hikers, bikers and other visitors who want to enjoy the mountain trails and scenery.

“Summer is a fantastic time to visit Silver Mountain Resort,” said John Williams, director of marketing. “This summer we’re anticipating the 2 millionth rider on North America’s longest gondola since it opened in 1990.”

The gondola will be operating weekends only until July at which time it will be running four days a week (Friday through Monday) until Labor Day.

Father's Day incentive: Dads ride the gondola free this Sunday when accompanied by one or more of their children.

Other incentives: “BARK n’ BREW“ festival in the gondola village Sunday, noon-7 p.m.

Mountain bikers will find more than 30 miles of biking trails that meander down the mountain to the town of Kellogg. New beginner and intermediate trails have been developed.

Travel gives us a better view of home

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

After three weeks on the road, traveling through different countries and cultures, I was still waking up in the middle of the night, addled by dreams, confused by my surroundings, having forgotten I was home again. I would blink in the darkness, staring into shadowy corners until my eyes adjusted and I recognized my own bedroom. For days I struggled to adjust, my mind and imagination still filled with the people and places I’d seen, my body on a different schedule.

Finally, lured by a spectacular sunset, I got on my bicycle. I needed the exercise and the distraction. I rode through the park and formal gardens near my house, maneuvering around the people who were out for an evening stroll, who were admiring the spring growth, stopping to look closely at plants, reading the name on the placards identifying them before moving on.

I navigated neighborhood streets, crossed a bridge over a busy arterial and then pulled up at a popular overlook to take a photo of the city below me. It was just beginning to glow in the twilight and traffic lights looked like a necklace of red and green stones stretching north toward the mountains.

As I made my back home I passed a house that seemed to be filled with music, the vibrant sounds of Beethoven pouring out into the spring evening through open windows. Around another corner I caught the smell of wet paint and through a window I could see a man rolling onto the wall a fresh coat of clean white paint. I passed a pair of teenagers sitting on the hood of a car parked on the street, their heads close together as they talked to one another. Farther down the street a big tabby cat stared out a window, his eyes following me as I rode past.

When I finally pedaled up my driveway and pulled into my garage, I felt calmer and realized the ride had soothed whatever it was inside me that had been so jangled. I was finally home.

No matter what takes me to some place far away—the bargain-basement airfare, the invitation, the assignment—I make an effort treat each trip to each new place like it will be the last. Like I will never return. I want to see it all while I can. I want to hear what people are saying, taste the food, drink the wine, sniff the air and find the pulse. Open your eyes, open your ears, I tell myself. Don’t miss a thing.

But so often at home, I move through my day like an automaton, oblivious to the place that owns me, driving with blind eyes down familiar streets, through familiar neighborhoods, past familiar landmarks. I put my feet on the floor in the morning and, leading with my chin, push through the day.

That’s my loss. What makes any city exciting or interesting is its people; the countless ordinary lives lived each ordinary day. I had to travel around the world, and then around the block, to remember that.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Spokesman-Review Home Planet and Treasure Hunting columns and blogs and her CAMera: Travel and Photo blog, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

South Hill Bluff trail maintenance dates set

TRAILS — Last Saturday a hard-working group of 20 turned out to work on Bluff trails.

The many, many more people who use the trails owe them a tip of the hat.

They did trail maintenance and prepared to re-align a trail that is steep and highly erosive. The new route will be more stable and user-friendly for hikers and mt bikers.

To complete the task, the Friends of the Bluffs are encouraging more people to join some evening work parties.

The first two will be Tuesday April 24 and Wednesday May 2.

Join the group from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to work off the stress of the day (and perhaps adjourn to the Rocket Market afterwards).

Meet at the Bernard/High Dr trail head and bring/wear hiking boots, work clothes, work gloves, and bring water.

Info: robertsd@wsu.edu

Centennial Trail cleanup set for Saturday

TRAILS – Volunteers will be gathering all along the Spokane River Centennial Trail on Saturday to wail on weeds, pick up litter and sweep it clean.

To join the group, and enjoy the free lunch, preregister by Friday for the 20th annual Friends of the Centennial Trail "Unveil the Trail" event.

REI has contributed $5,000 to cover the cost of park rental, giveaways, prizes, food and other event costs.

Info: 624-7188.

Idaho devotes week to getting kids outside and active

OUTDOORS — Citing surveys that indicate kids are spending  up to 30 hours a week dialed in to video games, computers other technology, a several business, agencies and volunteer groups have organized a nifty schedule of free or low-cost outdoor activites and clinics April 21-28 based out of Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls.

Unplug and Be Outside” is promoted by a statewide coalition of agencies and businesses founded in 2008 to "connect children with nature in Idaho, from backyards to mountaintops.”

Activities include archery,fishing, fly tying, frisbee golf, art classes, tennis and golf lessons, preschool storytimes, bike rides, and many, many more programs designed to get kids and adults moving! 

Children will receive passport cards. Those who participate in 3 or more activities will be entered into a drawing to win great prizes, including fishing rods, backpacks, Idaho State Parks pass, water bottles and more!

Click here for details and a schedule of events.

Hikers, bikers have free access to Glacier Park roads

PUBLIC LANDS — Glacier Nationa Park has a special incentive for walkers and cyclists for the next month or so, but especially next week when ntrance fees to Glacier National Park and the nearly 400 National Park Sites across the country will be waived during National Park Week, April 21-29.  

At the same time, plows have begun clearing the roads toward Logan Pass. While motor vehicles are still prohibited, bicyclers and walkers can go progressively farther behind the locked gates as plowing advances.

Currently, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to motorized traffic from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun.  Hiker/biker access is available for 5.5 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate to Avalanche while the road plow is working.  

This weekend, April 21-22, no restrictions are anticipated for hiker/biker access on the west side or east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  The Camas Road is open and the Two Medicine Road on the east side is currently open to Running Eagle Falls.  

Weather conditions in the park can vary greatly from local valley locations, and road status can change depending on weather conditions and snow plowing activities.

Click here to check park conditions and the progess of the plows, or call  (406) 888-7800.

Additional entrance fee-free dates during the year will be June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).

Bicycle ‘Ride Around Washington’ coming to Palouse

BICYCLING — RAW — the popular Ride Around Washington organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club — is focusing its 2012 on the region from Chewelah south through Spokane and around the Palouse. 

The seven-day, 400-mile supported bike tour isn't until Aug. 4-10, but it's already 92 percent SOLD OUT.

Download the 2012 RAW Ride Guide for a detailed description.

  • The guide is a masterpiece of organization, with checklists worth reading for any bicycle tours.

Online-only registration for RAW opened on January 10, 2012.  It was 92 percent sold out on March 27. 

Cyclists may join the Cascade Bicycle Club when registering for the event or in advance by visiting the membership page.

South Hill Bluffs look spiffier tonight, thanks to volunteers

TRAILS — In the photo above, volunteers pose with the metal-recyclable garbage they picked up today from the South Hill Bluff below High Drive.

Bravo, and a special tip of the hat to the teenagers.
If this looks like a crew you'd like to join for the "firewise efforts" to protect the network of trails and the adjacent neighborhoods and for other worthu projects on the bluff, contact Diana Roberts, robertsd@wsu.edu.
Or check them out on their High Drive Bluffs Facebook Page.

Cyclists rule in Yellowstone Park this week

BICYCLING —  Here’s another sign of springtime in Yellowstone National Park: Portions of the park have opened to bicycling.

The park has closed to snowmobiles for the winter but has yet to open to motorized vehicles for the summer.

In the meantime, bicyclists can travel between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs, although not to Old Faithful or Canyon.

Park officials say bicyclists should be well prepared for weather that can quickly change to severe snow, ice and cold. Potentially dangerous animals including bison and grizzly bears are out and about and no services are available.

Yellowstone officials say anybody bicycling in Yellowstone this time of year should be ready to endure winter conditions for an extended period and be able to rescue themselves if necessary.