Latest from The Spokesman-Review
SPOKANE RIVER — With a $3,500 boost from the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club's “access fund,” the City of Spokane Valley has made improvements to the boater access area on the north side of the new Barker Road Bridge, as our S-R staffer Nina Culver reported last week.
Club members have left a few buckets at the site and they encourage river visitors to scoop water from the river occasionally and irrigate the trees and shrubs planted at the site. The new plantings will need some nursing to help them get started and keep growing when the summer weather heats up.
STATE PARKS - Although Riverside State Park is a stunning gem of recreational opportunity along the Spokane River on the west side of Spokane, most people don't know half of what if offers.
That's why the Riverside State Park Foundation and park staff are inviting the public to sample more than a dozen organized activities at seven park venues during an ambitious free Experience Riverside State Park event Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The list of activities includes horse and pony rides, orienteering, fun run, guided bike rides and hikes, kayak and canoe rides, ATV rides, kids activities and fur-trader encampment tours.
Venues are the equestrian area, Bowl & Pitcher, military runway, ORV park, Spokane House, park headquarters and the Nine Mile Recreation Site.
Check out a map and complete list of activities.
If you're game for it all, you can get a punch card stamped at each site and be eligible for prizes.
The sites also will have educational opportunities, such as water safety tips, Centennial Tail information, and a look at proposed park renovation plans.
RIVER RUNNING — The annual Spokane River Kickoff event for paddlers and rafters set for April 16 on the Spokane River has been canceled for lack of sponsorship and liability coverage, organizers say.
Many of the participants say they’ll just have an informal gathering to play in the river at Dead Dog Hole at Stateline.
Read on for the announcement and detals by organizers.
RIVER RUNNING — Seven canoeists wearing dry suits had a wet and wonderful trip Sunday on Hangman Creek.
We all agreed that a flow of 1,200 cfs was about as good as this trip would get,” reported Dan Hansen. “I’m really glad I didn’t try running it that day it was flowing at 3,400.”
“Chris Haralam and I did some more scouting Saturday and felt humbled by a big series of waves about 1.5 miles below the (Qualchan) historic marker. So we moved Sunday’s put-in to the Keevy Road bridge, which is the tail end of those rapids. Still, there was plenty of whitewater.
“It took us almost two hours to go the first two miles because we were doing so much scouting of routes. After that, it was smooth sailing, with quick water and rapids that quickened the pulse without being a real threat. And the canyon is beautiful.
“No one swam, but we all had to make frequent bailers.”
PADDLING — Typically the Grand Canyon is floated by raft because of the length of time it takes to boat the roadless stretch of the Colorado River.
Most trips take 12-21 days to negotiate big whitewater and long stretches of flatwater.
All the skills requirements are amplified for the few self-supported kayakers who attempt to carry all their gear – including the required “groover” and fire pan.
But Scott Sills and Mike Copeland proved it could be done in a 16-day December adventure they launched in creek boats stuffed with 250 pounds of gear.
They’ll present a program on the trip (and tell whether they could Eskimo roll a kayak that heavy in the canyon’s huge water) Monday, 7 p.m., at the Corbin Community Center, 827 W. Cleveland, sponsored by Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club.
RIVERS — Members of the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club, pictured above unloading their boats at the popular Spokane River Centennial Trail access at Mission and Flora on Sunday, are working to assure that the access won't be gobbled up by development plans.
The access is important for Spokane River paddlers using the Sullivan Rapids area as well as for all Valley users of the Centennial Trail.
Club members have received assurances from city officials have said the access will remain open this summer during the construction of the planned extension of Indiana Ave., where a roundabout will be built.
The club also is optimistic that plans can be drawn up to assure the access will be improved rather than degraded by future development.
PADDLING — Supporters of the proposed Spokane River Whitewater Park in Peaceful Valley are still plugging along at getting approval for all the various permits.
Spokane Parks and Recreation Department had organized an e-mail list to help people stay up to date on progress.
Click here to sign up.
Incidentally, the Friends of the Falls website hasn't been updated in a long time.
RIVERS — Andy Dunau, Executive Director of the Spokane River Forum, will discuss the effort to develop the recreation potential of the Spokane River Water Trail in a meeting with the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club Monday, 7 p.m., at the Corbin Community Center, 827 W. Cleveland.
According to Dunau, the proposed trail incorporates the following principles:
- Environmental river stewardship.
- Honoring historic and cultural resources.
- Supporting community development and healthy living.
PADDLING — Spokane paddler and guidebook author Dan Hansen couldn't find a scouting report for a stretch of Hangman Creek at high water, so he set out by foot on Sunday to find out for himself.
Hansen hiked the 10-mile stretch from the Qualchan Historical Monument site downstream to Valley Chapel Road and found excellent paddling water — with a few big rapids to be aware of — at a flow of 3,500 cubic feet per second. Hansen figures skilled paddlers could negotiate that stretch of Hangman Creek down to about half of that flow.
See Dan Hansen's Facebook page video report of Hangman Creek at 3,500 cfs.
PADDLING — The rain-on-snow event that's making Inland Northwest roads and landscapes a mess is an opportunity to behold for paddlers and rafters.
E-mails were buzzing today with the possibility of a rare opportunity this weekend to run boatable flows down Hangman Creek and the Palouse River.
If the forecast hold true, the rivers will be running big, brown and ugly with runoff, perfect for skilled paddlers properly dressed in dry suits and PFDs.
SPOKANE RIVER — The City of Spokane Valley and the entire region apparently got short-changed in the $11 million Barker Road Bridge construction project.
City officials turned their backs on citizens and agencies that tried to work from the beginning of the project to improve public access to the river. As these photos show, the post-construction site is eroded and the river access is even worse that it was BEFORE the city spent $11 million.
Anglers can forget launching a drift boat here. Now that the City of Spokane Valley is walking away from the project, you need courage just to launch a canoe at Barker Bridge.
Currently there’s room to park on the sides of the bridge, but as the population grows and traffic increases, it’s likely that those parking areas could be eliminated and access rendered virtually impossible.
Is this a way to take advantage of the potential the Spokane River has for improving quality of life and promoting this area as a place to live, work and visit?
I covered this more thoroughly today in my column, Valley’s new Barker Bridge erodes soil, high hopes.
However, there’s much more to this and the chronic way the city and state agencies – and maybe Avista? — fail to improve the river and access and the way they fail to even protect what it gives us naturally.
Read on for more details.
Read on for more details.