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Bandannas, prizes ready for South Hill bluffs work party volunteers

TRAILS — If you're a hiker, biker, dog walker or neighbor to the trails on the South Hill below High Drive, Saturday (Oct. 13) will be a great time to roll up your sleeves and show a little appreciation.

The Friends of the Bluffs are organizing a Firewise Community Event, 9 a.m.-noon, to haul piles of branches and brush up the slope.  All summer, volunteers have been pruning trees on the Bluff to reduce fire risk and improve forest health.

Hauling the debris up the slope will be good workout for a good cause. The firewise effort, led by specialists, will make the bluffs less prone to major fire that could wipe out the scenery for decades — and possibly torch a neighborhood.

Volunteers will assemble at High Drive and 33rd Ave.

The first 50 volunteers who RSVP and come out to help haul branches this Saturday will receive a cool, collectible bandana that depicts the Bluff’s arrowleaf balsamroot. Prizes will be awarded at noon.

RSVP to Diana Roberts at WSU Spokane County Extension, email robertsd@wsu.edu or phone 477-2167.

Families and kids at least 10 years old are encouraged to participate. Please wear sturdy work clothes and gloves.

Walk and learn: Nisbet, Gifford lead hike on South Hill bluff Wednesday

TRAILS — After a good turnout last week, author Jack Nisbet and forester Guy Gifford will be leading another walk this week on Spokane’s South Hill bluff trails to explain the value of volunteer efforts and a $50,000 grant to improve the health and fire resistance of the forest below High Drive.

More than 23 miles of trails on the bluffs are prized by local walkers and mountain bikers, but much of the beauty could be snuffed out if a fire erupts before the forest is thinned, said Diana Roberts of the Friends of the Bluffs.

Nisbet, a popular educator, naturalist and South Hill resident, will join Gifford for a two-mile educational walk on Wednesday (Aug. 29) starting at 6:30 p.m. at 57th and Hatch Street.

Bring water and a thirst to learn about urban forestry and trails.

Info: 477-2167

Guided walks highlight South Hill bluff features


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TRAILS — Author Jack Nisbet and forester Guy Gifford will be leading walks on Spokane’s South Hill bluff trails this month to explain the value of volunteer efforts and a $50,000 grant to improve the health and fire resistance of the forest below High Drive.

More than 23 miles of trails on the bluffs are prized by local walkers and mountain bikers, but much of the beauty could be snuffed out if a fire erupts before the forest is thinned, said Diana Roberts of the Friends of the Bluffs.

Nisbet, a popular educator, naturalist and South Hill resident, will join Gifford for a two-mile educational walk on Wednesday (Aug. 22). The walk will be repeated Aug. 29.

Both walks will start at 6:30 p.m. at 57th and Hatch Street.

Bring water and a thirst to learn about urban forestry and trails.

Info: Diana Roberts,  robertsd@wsu.edu

Palisades, Beacon Hill also getting TLC

On the heels of a $50,000 grant for a forest health project at High Drive Park, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has granted an additional $70,000 to the City of Spokane Urban Forestry program for similar work at Palisades Park and Camp Sekani/Beacon Hill.

“The money will be used for contract work on thinning and pruning the forest. This will reduce the risk of intense, uncontrollable fires that would threaten adjacent homes and neighborhoods as well as the trees themselves,” said Guy Gifford, a forester with DNR. 

“The thinning and pruning will also improve the forest health as the remaining trees will have more space, light, and moisture so they will be less susceptible to damage from pine bark beetles” he added.

Helpers needed to decommission South Hill Bluff trail

TRAILS — The hiking-biking-running trails blow High Drive on the South Hill Bluff are a wonder of volunteer enterprise, but somebody's going too far.

A steep, unsustainable trail apparently built for a downhill mountain biking course, is eroding at the bottom of the bluff toward Hangman Creek. City Parks officials are coordinating with the Friends of the Bluff group to decommission the ill-advised trail and stop the damage.

"Friends of the Bluff promotes a coordinated approach to trail maintenance that takes into consideration the fragility of the landscape and multi-use needs of the Bluff users," said group coordinator Diana Roberts.

"City of Spokane Parks and Rec has asked us to help them decommission (cover over) this trail. A good group of about 20 people can accomplish this in a couple of hours.

Please come out to help on Thursday (June 21) at 6 p.m.

Please sign up by email, robertsd@wsu.edu , for information about Friends of the Bluff and directions to the meeting place.

South Hill Bluffs to get TLC Saturday

TRAILS — Join the fun as the 'Friends of the Bluff' are having a trash cleanup day Saturday (March 24), 9am - Noon.

Meet at the main trail head just south of the Bernard and High intersection. Be prepared for the weather and to hike to our two focused sites which are 1/4 and 3/4 mile down the slope.

Volunteers are encouraged to:

  • -Wear heavy duty clothing, leather gloves, and hiking footwear
  • Bring wheelbarrows/dollys with ratchet straps and ropes as tie downs
  • Bring several sturdy cloth bags (think reusable grocery bags) for the smaller stuff
  • Bring plenty of water to drink

    Post event cool down at the Rocket Market (0.8 miles east at the corner of High Dr/Hatch).

Jim Schrock of Earthworks Recycling www.earthworksrecycling.com is donating the metals disposal bin.

					Diana Roberts, PhD Area Extension Agronomist WSU Spokane/Lincoln County Extension 222 N Havana St Spokane WA 99202-4799 Phone: 509-477-2167 Fax: 509-477-2087 Email: robertsd@wsu.edu 

South Hill bluff forest thinning started; comments requested

CITY TRAILS — While most people were relaxing or playing on Sunday, two dozen volunteers thinned ponderosa pine trees and trimmed branches on the South Hill bluff in a demonstration project for reducing fire risk.

“The idea is to manage the forest so a fire would be limited to burning grass and brush on the ground rather than blowing up into a crown fire that would destroy lots of trees and put neighborhood homes at risk,” said Erik Sjoquist, WSU-Spokane County Extension forester.

The bluff below High Drive to Hangman Creek has a system of trails prized by hikers and mountain bikers.

The popularity of the trails helped spawn a group called Friends of the Bluffs, which is working on several issues related to the trails, including trail maintenance, weed control and fire safety, not to mention dog-dropping containment.

The group is looking for more volunteers to complete the demo project on Sunday, Oct. 16, starting at 1 p.m.

Comments requested

Before proceeding with more fire safety efforts, the Friends of the Bluffs want High Drive area trail users and neighbors to check out the forest thinning demonstration project below High Drive just west of Manito Boulevard.

Email comments to friendsofthebluff@yahoo.com

For info on becoming involved with Friends of the Bluffs, contact Diana Roberts, robertsd@wsu.edu