Latest from The Spokesman-Review
TRAILS — Numbers stood out to me in several cases as I researched today's Outdoors column on the Spokane River Centennial Trail, a 37-mile ribbon of park that's the envy of cities across the country.
Four years ago, Riverside State Park had two full-time Centennial Trail rangers and a seasonal maintenance crew. State budgets cuts have slashed the staffing to one seasonal ranger. Period.
The trail is used about 2 million times a year, yet only 350 people are signed up as members of the Friends of the Centennial Trail, a group that's critical to the sustainability and development of the trail.
Even if you never set foot, bike or skate on the trail, it's worth supporting just to have it there for our citizens and our visitors and to keep the river shores open to the public going into a future that will see even more pressure for riverside development.
Check out the Friends of the Spokane River Centennial Trail website and consider becoming a member or making an additional contribution to the Trail Builders Fund.
Popular recreation sites around Spokane will be getting a major spring facelift this weekend from volunteer efforts supported by grants totaling $20,000 from Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Projects the Spokane outdoor equipment store is supporting in partnership with local groups include:
Centennial Trail, Saturday 9 a.m. – The 20th annual Unveil the Trail event, supported by a $5,000 REI grant to the Friends of the Centennial Trail, taps volunteer groups to spruce up sections of the 39-mile paved trail along the Spokane River. Preregister to join a group and get a free lunch, 624-7188.
Mirabeau Point boat access, Saturday, 9 a.m. – A $10,000 REI grant to the Spokane River Forum funded an overhaul of the Spokane River access for rafts, canoes and kayaks fall. Volunters plan to finish the work and prepare the area for hydroseeding, which is being funded by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club.
Dishman Hills Natural Area, Sunday, 1 p.m. – Hundreds of volunteers already are signed up for the Earth Day work project to pick up litter, restore habitat, improve trails and other projects based out of Camp Caro in Spokane Valley. The project is backed by a $5,000 grant to the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association. Preregister for t-shirt and food at www.rei.com/Spokane.
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.
TRAILS — The 4th annual Friends of the Centennial Trail Adventure Auction is set for March 9 at Northern Quest Resort and Casino.
Silent auction starts at 6 p.m.; dinner's at 7 p.m.; live auction at 8 p.m.
People who support the fabulous 39-mile trail from Nine Mile to the Idaho State Line (and beyond) already are getting tickets and gathering friends to join them at tables for a feast.
“Eighty percent of the proceeds go directly into our Trail Builders fund for projects on the Trail,” said Kaye Turner, the friends group's executive director. “Remember the bumps at Barker Road - our Trail Builders fund fixed those.”
Kris Crocker, KXLY's star weather reporter, will once again be the MC — and she's gathering a table of friends, too.
Tickets: 624-7188 or e-mail email@example.com.
CONSERVATION — Spokane’s REI store, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has recently awarded grants totaling $20,000 to non-profit groups that will leverage the money with volunteer work at several key area outdoors features in the Spokane area:
Spokane River Forum,$10,000 – for improving the river access at Mirabeau Point for paddlers and rafters and advancing the concept of a Spokane River Water Trail.
Friends of the Centennial Trail, $5,000 – to support the spring Unveil the Trail event that organizes community volunteers to clean and maintain 37 miles of the trail from the stateline to Nine Mile Falls.
Dishman Hills Natural Area Association, $5,000 – to support volunteer projects for stewardship, including the annual service day, trail maintenance, brochure creation and habitat restoration.
TRAILHEADS — Vandalism to cars parked at Centennial Trail parking lots and boating access sites continues to be a problem.
Paddlers report a smash (a window) and grab incident at Mirabeau Park over the weekend, although they said nothing of value was taken.
Dealing with these opportunistic low-life theives is much like preventing damage by raccoons and other vermin: Don't leave and “food” out.
In otherwords, it's not enough to make sure nothing “valuable” is left in your vehicle at a trailhead.
Make sure that nothing at all tempting is visible through the windows to entice a creep into a smash and grab incident.
TRAIL REROUTED: Upriver Drive from Freya to Frederick:
A sewer construction project will create an Upriver Drive detour for Centennial Trail users for almost a year, the Friends of the Centennial Trail report.
The trail will be closed from Freya to Frederick Avenue on Upriver Drive. There will be a detour in place and signage to guide users.
The Friends group has maps and details on its website.
Directions: Coming from downtown going east take Ralph to Carlisle to Havana to Fredrick and back out on Upriver Drive. It may be possible at times to let Trail users back onto the east section of Upriver Dr. at times during this project. If you have a street bike avoid signed detour onto gravel road sections.
TRAILS — A new 12-vehicle parking lot and trailhead for the Spokane River Centennial Trail officially opens today east of Argonne Road at the end of Maringo Drive.
The new facilities were built by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, with the support of the Friends of the Centennial Trail, Washington State Park Foundation and Inland Empire Paper Co.
This much-needed parking lot will enable trail users to avoid parking in a residential area. The Maringo Trailhead already included restroom facilities and a drinking fountain.