Latest from The Spokesman-Review
PADDLING — The Ins and Outs of the Pend Oreille River Water Trail will be detailed in a program for the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 24, at the Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane.
Pend Oreille County Community Development Director Mike Lithgow will team with Ray Entz, the Wildlife and Terrestrial Resources director for the Kalispel Tribe, to present a travelogue on the newly established water trail.
The 70-mile route includes historical, cultural and geological features in addition to access points and recreational opportunities between Newport and Boundary Dam.
- See a gallery of photos from a SCKC paddling trip along the Pend Oreille River.
WATERSPORTS — Fall is a fine time for sea kayaking around the region's waters, from Fishtrap Lake to the San Juan Islands.
Even if you're an experience paddler, it's always wise to review the the basics of paddling safety Here are seven reminders from Boat US.
Know how to re-board: All paddlecraft are different, so before you hit a lonely, remote stretch of river or bay, learn (in a safe place) how to get back in the boat quickly and efficiently as hyperthermia is a threat that increases by the minute. Some paddlers add extra floatation inside the boat as it can help reboarding. (Tip: this can be accomplished simply by inflating a beach ball or purchasing aftermarket float bags). If you do ever fall out and can’t get back in, stay with the kayak or canoe – it’s a bigger target for rescuers to see.
Don’t keep it a secret: Tell people where you’re going by filing a float plan. It could be as simple as telling your spouse, in writing, where you are going and what time you plan to return. Writing it down makes it become habit. Be as specific as you can – this isn’t the time to forget to mention you’re heading to your hidden fishing hole two miles off the beaten channel.
Understand the basic rules of navigation: You may not be out there with icebreakers just yet, but there may still be some recreational boating traffic and potential ship traffic. The simple challenge is the smallest boats are hardest to see. One simple tip to help visibility is to spray the tips of your paddles a bright color. Paddlers also can help themselves by understanding some basic rules of navigation.
Don’t leave without a bailer: With low freeboard — or the distance from the water to the gunwale — paddlecraft are prone to getting water aboard. Once it starts, it’s only a matter of time before your canoe or kayak becomes ever lower to oncoming waves. Keep water out and buoyancy up by having a bailer ready (Tip: tie one to each seat).
Thermal up or down: Neoprene gloves, a drysuit or wetsuit tops and hats are the ultimate protection in retaining body heat this time of year. However, have outdoor gear that offers versatility by being able to cool down or warm up when appropriate. Even if it may feel like summer, never leave shore in just a t-shirt and shorts. It only takes just a short change of weather or a dunking to drench you and the hypothermia clock starts ticking. A bright colored rain parka can also be seen at great distances.
Going remote? Go Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Advances in GPS technology have brought down the cost of personal locator beacons, but if your budget is tight you can still rent a PLB from the BoatUS Foundation for $45 weekly, plus shipping. There are no additional subscriber fees and paddlers going to remote locations can order online at BoatUS.org/epirb or call 888-663-7472 (Tip: mention code “DISC10” for a 10% discount on the weekly PLB rental rate through December 1, 2014).
Keep it secure up top: If you need to get your favorite kayak or stand-up paddleboard to the lake on your car or truck’s roof this fall, check out the three basic types of roof rack systems and ways to safely tie down the load. Your kayak has no desire to meet the road or become a hazard for oncoming vehicles.
WATERSPORTS — John Roskelley, best know for his mountaineering achievements, is giving a free program on his new guidebook to Paddling the Columbia River at 7 p.m. on Sept.30 at the Spokane REI store.
- Seating is limited. Reserve a spot in advance.
- See my July story Roskelley's efforts in researching the guidebook.
Here's more info:
The Columbia River is a water trail to adventure. Thousands of miles of rugged shoreline, countless sandy bays, and long stretches of remote wilderness make this great river an explorer's dream, whether just for an afternoon on a reservoir behind one of its 13 main stem dams or being swept along by over 100,000 cfs of swift current on one of the Columbia's free-flowing sections. Paddling the Columbia from source to mouth is the extreme edge, a challenge not unlike climbing Everest or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Fortunately, the river is a resource that can be enjoyed in short sections on a weekend or holiday for a few hours to a long day throughout its 1200 mile length. The new “Paddling the Columbia: A Guide to all 1200 Miles of our Scenic & Historical River” by Spokane's John Roskelley provides the paddler with knowledge - the fundamental element needed to take action and enjoy an adventure.
PADDLING — Walking the dog, Priest Lake style.
Thanks to Pecky Cox and her “As the Lake Churns“ posts.
WATERSPORTS — Whitewater enthusiasts are expecting a warm welcome from Washington's Tieton River along US 12 west of Yakima this weekend.
A large gathering of rafters and kayakers — private and commercial — is gearing up from across the region to take advantage of the annual “flip-flop.”
The annual September release of water that's been warming all summer in Rimrock Lake has begun in order to feed water to downstream crop irrigation needs as well as to boost salmon spawning.
The “flip-flop” term comes from the fact that the increased water down the Tieton helps make up for the reduction of flows in the Yakima River.
The result is an opportunity for great whitewater boating in the month of September.
- By the way, if you're an angler, the flip-flop spells the beginning of good fall trout fishing in the Yakima.
Boaters will come in droves to go with the flow from launch sites below Tieton Dam. The river runs down the generally sunny east slope of the Cascades.
Flows of 1,000 cfs to 3,000 cfs are considered ideal in the Tieton, which hit the 1,000 cfs mark on Aug. 28 and exceeded 2,000 cfs today.
Runs of 11 to 15 miles that have been too rocky and bumpy to boat all summer will fill with rushing water, ushering rafts and kayaks through almost continuous Class II to III rapids before the Tieton flows into the Naches River.
Since summer heat has dried up most of the region's whitewater for the season, many river runners consider theTieton River the last summer run.
The river has a steep gradient, dropping 58 feet per mile. The Tieton is not considered to be great for novice boaters because of its steady rush of whitewater.
Campers note: Fire restrictions could be in effect.
WATERSPORTS — The older Bauer boys know how to make a canoe go fast, and the younger nephews are clearly into the game even at the end of the Spokane River Classic endurance event on Saturday.
Sponsored by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, the event was for all abilities of paddlers with canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
But this boat stood out in the crowd, as you can see by their faces.
Have you ever paddled a canoe this hard — for the fun of it?
PADDLING — Some very fast paddlers streaked across the Spokane River today in the debut of the Spokane River Classic, and they were followed by some not-so fast canoeists, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and one rowboat.
But it appeared as though everyone had a blast, as you can see in my photo gallery from today's event.
ADVENTURE RACING — A team of three men and a woman covered 500-miles of rugged Panhandle mountain terrain on their feet, bikes and rafts, spiced with rock climbing and other challenges, to win the 2014 Expedition Idaho adventure race last week.
Five teams started the event from the Silver Springs Resort on Aug. 10 and finished Saturday before the cheering Brewsfest crowd on Silver Mountain.
Bruises, stitches, a broken nose, heat exhaustion, navigation errors and sleep deprivation were suffered during the event and water rescues were required to keep all the teams going during the race, officials said.
Winning the event were the YogaSlackers team of yoga instructors Jason Magness and Chelsey Gribbon-Magness, along with software engineer Dan Staudigel – all from Bend, Oregon – plus sea kayaking guide Paul Cassedy from San Diego.
While all five teams finished the event, only the top two teams completed the full course. YogaSlackers qualified for a similar event next year in Alaska.
Expedition Idaho was organized by Perpetual Motion Events from Coeur d’Alene, headed by David Adlard of Athol.
”We have had more rain this one week in August than in any month of August since I have lived in Idaho,” said Adlard. ”And of course, there is no rain scheduled for the rest of the month. We brought it along just to give that little extra test to the racers, it seems.”
The second half of the course included a 100-mile mountain bike leg that had racers pedaling through Thursday night. Severe thunderstorms during the week washed out some routes and forced the teams onto alternate routes through the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area. The route went over Lookout Mountain and Breezy Point, down Gold Creek Canyon.
On Friday they launched for 38 miles of whitewater rafting on the St. Joe River through sections including Tumble Down Falls.
Several of the ultralight one-person rafts punctured in the rapids, where occupants were beat up in the rocks before they could get out.
The racers had to rope up and ascend 300 feet on a rock climbing route carrying their rafts before rappelling back to the river to finish the float.
This final bike leg was a challenging 27 miles that took eight hours even for the winning team as they ascended Prospect Peak, Mastadon toward to the Elsie Lake area.
The last leg was a trek to Silver Mountain, where they were rewarded with cheers from a Brewsfest crowd of 1,500, high fives and much free beer.
Expedition racing was born in the early 1970’s when a group of friends in Alaska challenged each other to race to a point over 600 miles distant without using any mechanized transport or roadways.
The World Championships of expedition racing are held in a different country every year, including Costa Rica this year.
WATERSPORTS — More than 100 canoeists, kayakers and stand up paddleboarders of all skill levels are registered so far for the Spokane River Classic set for Saturday, Aug. 23.
The event will start at McKinstry near Gonzaga University with participants heading out on a 1.3-mile citizens course or a 5.4-mile endurance course.
The Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club revived the classic this year to emphasize boating participation on the river and the need for public access to the river for boaters.
In addition to paddling, the lawn area around McKinstry is being transformed into a Spokane River party. Fueling the festivities for adults will be a beer garden courtesy of River City Brewery, barbeque from Big Daddy’s, Camargo’s taco truck, and prizes for participants.
Kids will be fueled with a root beer stand, popcorn and an interactive play area that includes making authentic fish prints.
WATERSPORTS — For every awesome video we've seen of kayakers skillfully negotiating whitewater rapids and waterfalls there are countless calamities, injuries and near-death experiences.
Here's a sampling.
P.S. Think twice about trying to replicate this stuff.
WATERSPORTS — A launch site for drift boats, paddling craft and rafts has been remodeled and reopened at the stateline just downstream from the I-90 Bridge.
The Stateline access site includes parking and native landscaping planted by the Spokane Conservation District and volunteer groups on 800 feet of shoreline, said Andy Dunau of Spokane River Forum.
The forum has details about this access site and others on the Spokane River Water Trail website.
WATERSPORTS — The benefits of living near an Air Force Base with skilled rescue helicopter pilots have paid off for recreationists, most recently in a one-weekend blitz to help a Pacific Crest Trail hiker as well as a Spokane Valley rafter on a tributary to the St. Joe River.
Airmen from the 36th Rescue Flight answered the call to save not only one, but two lives in one weekend. We're just getting the details.
On June 13 at 5:30 p.m., the crew received a call that a kayaker was stranded 70 miles southeast of Fairchild Air Force Base, according to a report by Airman 1st Class Janelle Patiño of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs.
Within a few hours, the crew launched the UH-1N Huey and was enroute to the man's location.
Bart Rayniak, a retired Spokesman-Review photograher, had been kayaking near where Marble Creek flows into the St. Joe's River when his cataraft flipped, ejecting him into the cold water.
“There were some challenges that occurred during the rescue due to the weather, but the crew of Rescue 48 never gave up,” said Maj. Jennings Marshall, the 36th RQF commander. “At 8:30 p.m., Capt. Nate Jolls, a 36th RQF pilot, with the survivor on board, began an approach back toward the ambulance where Maj. Montsho Corppetts, a 336th Training Support Squadron medic, was waiting.”
“I was never able to truly thank my rescuers,” Rayniak told the base reporter. “They were so wonderful! They put their lives on the line to save mine. They were amazing flyers and crew. They were professional and caring. Damn good at what they do. I will always be grateful.”
A logging operation this year apparently has caused logs to slide into the river and increase the hazard for floaters during high water, the only time Marble Creek is navigable for rafts and kayaks.
- Rayniak has not been available for further comment to the S-R.
Friends recovered his cataraft the next day. The video in the post below indicates the velocity of the water and the hazards in the Marble Creek posed by a logging operation. A look at this brief video explains why Rayniak couldn't just swim to safety even though he was fully decked out with dry suit and life vest.
Two days later, on June 15, the crew received a call at approximately 11:30 a.m. that there was an injured hiker along the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern Washington needing quick extraction.
“He had been walking along a steep and snowy section of the trail when he slipped and tumbled down the mountainside, hitting a tree and breaking several ribs,” Marshall said. “Fortunately, his hiking buddy was able to call for help.”
Capt. Erik Greendyke, the 36th RQF operations supervisor, worked with Marshall to assemble a crew. The crew then launched at 1 p.m. and followed the Methow River past Mazama, Wash., to the hiker's location.
“Other hikers prepared a bright orange tent along the ridgeline that helped us immediately identify the area with minimal searching,” Marshall said. “As soon as we rescued the injured hiker and his hiker buddy, the survivor was then loaded onto an ambulance with the help of Capt. Josiah Hart, the 36th RQF standardization and evaluation liaison officer, and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, a 36th RQF special missions aviator, and departed for the hospital.”
Helicopter rescue operations can be dangerous, but the 36th RQF crews constantly train to maintain proficiency in rescue operations as part of the mission to support the Air Force's only Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school.
“We take great effort to ensure rescues are executed safely and with as little risk as possible,” Marshall said. “Our normal training missions take place at Fairchild and in the Colville National Forest and we have been tasked to perform civilian rescues throughout the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.”
WATERSPORTS — No more worrying about getting a lift back to your car at the put-in on Saturdays in July and August.
WATERSPORTS —The 2014 Open Canoe Slalom National Championship starts today and runs through Sunday (June 29) near Missoula on the Blackfoot River upstream of the Roundup Fishing Access Site off Montana Highway 200.
Spectators can view the American Canoe Association event for free in the designated area upstream of the Roundup Bridge.
For information about open canoe whitewater racing in general, see aca.whitewater-slalom.us.
Saturday features four “Citizen-class” races in which noncompetitive or inexperienced paddlers can run the course in a tandem canoe with an experienced racer.
WATERSPORTS — The Spokane River's flows have subsided enough for the spill gates at Post Falls Dam to be closed, Avista Utilities reports. That has allowed river recreation to open for the season starting today in the area between the Spokane Street Bridge and the boater safety cables that are just upstream of the Post Falls Dam.
The City of Post Falls boat launch at Q’emiln Park is opening to the public today. The swim beach will open later this week after the parks department removes fencing, installs swim safety bouys and lifeguards are scheduled. Typically this occurs sometime between Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and on average about June 22.
Upgrades underway this summer at the South Channel Dam adjacent to Q’emiln Park will require visitors to stay out of some areas near the construction.
WATERSPORTS — Whitewater rafters and kayakers were greeted by hazards in Marble Creek last weekend.
Logs from a logging operation apparently slid down a steep slope and into the tributary of the St. Joe River.
This is prime time for river runners before flows become too low in Marble Creek, but the stream flows fast with tight turns and hazards that make it for experts only.
RIVERS — Whitewater river rafter Tanner Grant floated the Moyie River in North Idaho over the weekend and made this video documentary of the run from Meadow Creek to Moyie Dam at 2,300 cfs — that's 4 feet at the dam.
The 8-minute video is instructional for rafters who want to follow in his wake.
But don't procrastinate. Here's Grant's field report:
I wanted to share my run down the Moyie River in North Idaho from this last weekend. The river is on the drop and time is running out, there was no wood in Eileen Dam or Hole in the Wall rapids, feel free to share on your blog if you want to, what an awesome run!
See Grant's descriptive videos of other rivers:
OUTDOOR RECREATION — The St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute's recreational therapy team is gearing up for a busy summer season of outdoor recreation fun for physically challenged adventurers of all ages.
Outdoor Recreation Experience, June 21, features adaptive and regular fishing, handcycling, archery, kayaking and canoeing, plus a barbecue for participants and family members.
- Register by June 13. Email Candice Belcourt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SkiFest, July 19-20, features adaptive water skiing, boating and swimming at Clear Lake.
- Pre-register by July 9 for lower fee. Contact: Candice Belcourt, email@example.com.
RIVER RUNNING — Rafters and paddlers soon will be riding the rails to a popular floating and whitewater stretch of Idaho's North Fork Payette River.
On Saturday, May 31, the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad, also known as the Thunder Mountain Line, will debut the Payette River Flyer with runs between Smiths Ferry and Cascade on Saturdays and Sundays this summer.
Riders are able to bring their own rafts and kayaks onboard or opt for a guided raft trip provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company.
The train ride is not only convenient, it's also scenic. Park in one spot and let the railroad do the 17-mile shuttle to the top of the seven-mile river run.
The train travels along the North Fork of the Payette River, also known as the North Fork Carbarton, and features Class II-III rapids. The following rapids are part of the float:
- Trestle Rapids-Class III
- Smoothie Rapids-Class II-III
- Wet Spot Rapids-Class III
- Francois Rapids-Class III
- Howard's Plunge Rapids-Class III
The Smiths Ferry loading location is across the river from the Cougar Mountain Lodge on Highway 55, with free parking available on-site. The Smiths Ferry site will be the only location where rafts and kayaks can be loaded.
The Cascade loading site is behind the Ashley Inn, 500 N. Main St. Parking is free.
Rail enthusiasts can stay off the water and enjoy a scenic roundtrip train ride from either loading sites.
The Payette River Flyer will run May 31 - Aug. 31, with Smiths Ferry departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, and Cascade departures at 12:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.payetteriverflyer.com or by calling the ticket office at (208) 331-1184. One-way tickets for river drop-off are $20 for all age groups, while round-trip train rides start at $25/person. All guided raft trips will be provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company and start at $60/person. One-way trips are approximately 45 minutes to one hour in length, with the round trip train ride taking three hours. Food will be available for purchase on the train.
The classes are taught by qualified instructors as follows:
May 18 – Flatwater solo and tandem canoeing.
June 21-22 – Beginning whitewater kayaking.
June 28-29 – Moving water canoeing.
July 16, 19, 20 – Sea kayaking.
Cost for each class is $55 per paddler and participants must become club members.
Sign up: 448-9214, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATERSPORTS – A chiller and a thriller will be shown at a double-feature program at 7 p.m. tonight, April 28, at Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane Valley.
Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club members will give a program about kayaking in Costa Rica, with head-cam video that captures more excitement than they’d planned.
Also featured is a screening of Cold Water Boot Camp, a must-see video for anyone who recreates around water.
Brave volunteers who jump into frigid water graphically demonstrate the risks of cold water immersion and what boaters and anglers can do to improve their odds of survival if in a similar situation.
PUBLIC LANDS — I've made a few classic canoe and kayak trips in Yellowstone National Park over the years, including the Lewis River to Shoshone Lake (see photo) and on Yellowstone Lake.
But even though I'm a long-time paddler and co-author of the guidebook, Paddling Washington, I can still clearly see a reason to restrict paddling in national parks, where the priority is on preserving natural ecosystems.
It's shocking to see that a Wyoming Congreswoman has introduced a bill that would REQUIRE Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park officials to allow more paddling in the parks.
Here's the scoop from High Country News and a person who knows and write's eloquently on the potential ramifications of the legislation. Check it out.
Called the “River Paddling Protection Act,” the bill has already passed the House of Representatives. It gives the National Park Service three years to change its regulations barring non-motorized boating on rivers and streams. If the agency fails to act in that time, then boating in the two parks will be considered unregulated.
PADDLING — A free program on a British Columbia sea kayaking journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, for the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club at Mountain Gear's corporate office, 6021 E. Mansfield.
The two week adventure of paddling along the exposed coast of Queen Charlotte Sound will be detailed by Roy Massena, who has kayaked extensively in Pacific Northwest waters and has encountered more than his share of challenging conditions.
NOTE DATE: The date for this program was incorrect in today's print version of the announcement.
PADDLING – Four Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club members who survived a close call with a freak flash flood event while kayaking the Green River of Utah will present a free slide and video program on the trip Monday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave. in Spokane Valley (go north on Fancher Road from Trent and turn right just before the tracks).
Debbie Pierce, Lisa Helmbrecht, Marlene Landis and Susan Luchesi were trapped on a quickly disappearing sand bar out of reach of rescue-attempting park rangers until the flood formed a temporary dam that gave them a short window for escape.
PADDLING — For the 19th year, paddlers from the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club bring in the New Year with an outing on the Little Spokane River. Wednesday was no different, although the temperatures were more on the mild side compared with other years.
Eric Erickson, above, is pictured by canoe partner Juile Titone during the float in 2000. As Titone said, he was “looking determined to reach the potluck-and-wood stove part of the day.”
PADDLING — A kayaker's body was recovered this morning from the Palouse River, according to the following statement released this afternoon by the Whitman County Sheriff.
Alison Webb, 54, who was on the Palouse city council, was found dead early Friday morning, her life apparently claimed by hypothermia after capsizing in the freezing cold.
COLFAX, WA- Authorities have recovered the body of a kayaker who was reported missing late Thursday evening.
At approximately 8pm on Thursday evening, Deputies from the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office were notified of an overdue kayaker near the town of Palouse, WA. The kayaker, Allison E Webb, 54yoa of Palouse, WA, reportedly set out on a late afternoon kayak trip on the Palouse River. When she failed to arrive at her destination, family members became concerned, conducted a brief search and later notified 911.
After Deputies determined that Webb started her float trip near Wellesley Road in Latah County, officials from Idaho were also notified. Due to the extremely cold temperatures search crews from both sides of the border immediately began a ground and aerial search of the river and terrain. Officials from Latah and Whitman Counties searched through the night and into Friday Morning.
At approximately 8:30 Friday morning, search crews from Fairchild Air Force Base (36 Rescue Helicopter) assisting in the effort located the body of a deceased female, later identified as Allison E. Webb. It is believed Webb died after capsizing her kayak and being exposed to the extremely cold overnight temperatures. The exact cause and manner of death will be determined by the Whitman County Coroner’s Office.
Crews from The Latah County Sheriff’s Office, Latah County Search and Rescue, Whitman County Emergency Management, MedStar, Fairchild Air Force Base, Whitman County Sheriff’s Office, Palouse Fire and EMS, Border Patrol, Whitman County Coroner and the American Red Cross all assisted in the search effort.
The edited package of 11 new action-packed films featuring free-skiers, longboarders, snowboarders, mountain bikers, kayakers and rock climbers will be shown:
- Friday, Oct., 11, 7 p.m., at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint. Advance tickets at Outdoor Experience.
- Saturday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m., at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane. Advance tickets at Mountain Gear, 2002 N. Division, 325-9000.
Films include “Being There,” about fun loving free-skiers taking their sport into the stratosphere. “Endless Roads” follows seven female longboarders winding down in Spain. “La Dura Dura” features rock climbing superstars Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra vying for a first ascent the world’s first 5.15c grade climb.
PADDLING — Sea kayak outfitters are leading paddlers out of the San Juan Islands as well as Bellingham Bay on night-time excursions to see one of the bright little wonders of the sea.
When conditions are right, the stroke of a paddle paints a swath of bioluminescent light that resembles a swish of Tinkerbell's wand.
“When we accidentally paddled over a school of startled juvenile herring, they jumped out of the water looking like kamikaze lightning bugs,” writes Tan Vinh in a story for The Seattle Times.
The natural spectacle of bioluminescence is caused by single-celled planktons that emit light.
Outfitters offering bioluminescent night tours include:
• Community Boating Center in Bellingham will hold its next tours on Sept 5 and 6. $50 per person. 360-714-8891 orboatingcenter.org.
• Discovery Sea Kayaks in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, does tours around Griffin Bay. $99 per person. 866-461-2559 or discoveryseakayak.com.
Read on for Vinh's first-person experience.
BOATING — The Spokane Parks and Recreation Board apparently has reached an agreement with the Spokane Public Facilities District that may assure maintaining a viable boat take-out point under the Division Street Bridge after the voter-approved $55 million Convention Center expansion project is finished.
But here's a message received tonight from Parks Board member Andy Dunau of the Spokane River Forum:
I’m pleased to be able to share what I believe is good news. Today, the Spokane Parks and Recreation Board passed a resolution that the PFD has agreed to. The resolution addresses items needed to move forward this fall with development activities on Centennial Trail and Spokane River shoreline that are part of the convention center expansion. The section of the resolution that is essential to a put-in/take-out for the water trail reads as follows:
“The Park Board approves the Access in principle and subject to further review and approval design of the Park Board, and further authorizes the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to be the lead agency in getting the Access permitted, conditioned on the District’s acknowledgement that it will bear all costs and expenses associated with permitting and construction of the Access, including any expenses ordinarily assigned to the City as lead agency for any permitting and/or construction of the Access, up to an amount not exceeding $47,000.”
The PFD verbally agreed to the resolution at the Park Board meeting, and will memorialize their agreement to it in a letter being sent to the Park Board.
We now have in writing a commitment of funds from the PFD, a design that has received broad support (also funded over the summer by the PFD), and Parks and Recreation agreeing to be the lead agency to develop the access. We can now get to the fun part: creating the Spokane River Water Trail Division Street Bridge Access.
Over the past week, intensive hours were committed by both PFD and Parks and Recreation staff and Boards to take this critical step forward. We are very appreciative of their time, effort and support. The Forum would also like to thank Spokane City Council for amending the municipal code last spring to allow this site location to move forward; Avista for their support in developing the design; Spokane Riverkeeper for providing important policy and regulatory guidance; and the many individuals and user groups who are the lifeblood of helping make good things happen.
UPDATE: Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.: Tentative agreement reached on Spokane River boat access at Division Street.
RIVERS — Plans for the voter funded $55-$65 million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center are advancing to the construction stage, but Public Facilities District officials continue to suggest that maintaining viable public river access at Division Street Bridge for rafts, kayaks, paddle boards and outfitters is not their priority.
I wrote about this in April when the designs were being approved.
I wrote about it again today as the PFD readies to begin digging without giving a commitment to a viable boat access when the construction is complete.