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Latest poop on wildfire: cyclist burning TP started blaze

WILDFIRES — A mountain biker who answered the call in the wild is responsible for starting the 73-acre Hull Fire that scorched more than 73 acres in the Boise foothills, according to U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials, who confirmed:

A man was cycling in the foothills when he stopped to defecate in a ravine. Afterwards, the man tried to get rid of the waste by lighting his toilet paper on fire. The man apparently tried to bury the burning waste to extinguish it, but an ember spread to nearby dry grass.

"I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go," BLM spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao told KTVB.com.

"We've had this before, actually - it doesn't happen very often - but when people have to go, um, they will often burn their toilet paper just as kind of an environmental concern, to not litter, basically, but in these fuel types, it's not a good idea," she said.

In other words, burning TP in fire-prone areas stinks.

Bilbao said the man came forward and told the BLM he might be responsible for the blaze. The man's story matched "evidence" found at the scene, according to investigators.

Police have not yet decided whether to charge the man with a crime or hold him financially responsible for fire-fighting costs. He received a citation for starting a fire. The man's name has not been released.

 

Cancelled: Hucklebeary Epic mountain bike event at Mount Spokane

UPDATE 7/22/15 — Event canceled for 2015 because of fire danger and considerations for private timber land involved in the routes, says race organizer Dan DeRuyter. Inland Empire Paper Co. and other private timber companies throughout the region have restricted public access during this dry summer.

 

BICYCLING — A new mountain biking event is bruin on Mount Spokane.

The Mt. Spokane Hucklebeary Epic will debut Aug. 8 with three timed ride options of 20, 40 and 60 miles on routes in Mount Spokane State Park and Inland Empire Paper Co. lands.

Only the most focused mountain bikers will post personal bests in this event, since huckleberries will be ripe around the course.

No bonus points are offered for purple fingers at the finish line.

However, aid stations with food and drink will be on the course, too — and a party is planned for the finish.

The event, which has solo and team options, is a fundraiser for trail building and maintenance in the park, says organizer Dan DeRuyter — $5 of every registration will be donated to the Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park and Spokane Nordic. 

Here's the Aug. 8 schedule staging out of the Selkirk Lodge parking area:

  • 8 a.m. start for The Epic (60-mile ride), $75 entry.
  • 9 a.m. start for The Grinder (40-mile ride), $65 entry.
  • 9:15 a.m. start for The Taste (20-mile ride), $55 entry.

Primitive camping options also are available at the parking area the night before the event.

Silver Mountain says Leadman Triathlon is a go

MULTISPORTS — Although the region's ski resorts have closed for the season, there's still enough snow at Silver Mountain above Kellogg to start the first leg of a popular multisport down-the-mountain spring event.

The 11th annual NASCO LEADMAN Triathlon will be held April 25. The individual or team competition features three legs. Organizers this year plan to start the race with a 1-mile downhill ski followed by a 7-11 mile mountain bike ride and finishing with a 4-mile run ending in the Silver Mountain Resort village.

Post race celebration includes live music and a BBQ.

Participation is limited.

Early registration ends April 14 and registration closes April 21.

Click here for registration information and more details.

Check out the 2014 Leadman Video.

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)! 

BIKE RIDES

Tandem Bike Ride @ 10am
Spokane City Parks
RSVP

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

Ben Burr Park @ 10am
Southgate Neighborhood Council
RSVP

HIKES

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

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

Fish Lake Trail Trailhead @ 10am
Hobnailers Hiking Club
RSVP

Location TBA @ 10am
Spokane Mountaineers
RSVP

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

Audubon Lake Wildlife Area @ 10am
RSVP

McKenzie Conservation Area @ 10am
Ms Adventures - Women Only
RSVP

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

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

Meet for snacks, trail talk and celebration!

Spokane Mountaineers recruit trail volunteers for projects

TRAILS — Two outdoor groups will give a program Monday, March 16, about their plans for organizing volunteers to build and maintain trails in the region this summer.   The public is invited.

The Spokane Mountaineers and Washington Trails Association program will begin at 7 p.m. at the  at Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane Valley

Lynn Smith and Holly Weiler will discuss projects the groups did last year as well as introduce work planned for this year. 

Both organizations have had one event so far this year with many more planned in Washington and Idaho, both single and multi-day.

"For the experienced hands its a chance to connect with past trail buddies, and for the many new people who have expressed an interest, its a good time to see what the programs are all about," Smith said. "Bring a friend and show them what you've done and why its so compelling."

Potential trail volunteers can contact Weiler at hmweiler@yahoo.com or Smith at kslynndeb@Hotmail.com.

Scablands trails bloom for explorers in March

TRAILS — Trails through the sage-steppe scablands of Eastern Washington are among the first to welcome hikers and mountain bikers in March.

Sunday was a perfect day to bike the single-track and double track through along the basalt-rimmed canyon and blooming buttercups of the Odessa-Pacific Lake Trail.  More flowers will be blooming by the end of the month.

The 13-mile route is described in detail in the guidebook Day Hiking Eastern Washington.

Notes:

  • Deep-well irrigation has lowered the water table dramatically in this area. Pacific Lake is just one of the victims. Bobs Lakes, in the basin ahead of the biker, are history. But one big surprise: Bobs Lakes spring is still flowing.
  • Haven't detected any ticks yet, but will hold off on official word since they have a way of showing up on my wife's pillow a day or two later.

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?

Banff Mountain Films lineup listed for Spokane

ADVENTURE — The lineup of films for the three-day run of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Spokane has been decided — just hours before the first films will be shown tonight starting at 7 p.m. at The Bing Crosby Theater.

Shows are sold out for all three nights.

World Tour host — better known as the World Tour road warrior — Holly Elliott met with Phil Bridgers of Mountain Gear met this afternoon at No-Li Brewery to work through the options. They take a lot of care in getting a good mix of 7-9 films of varying lengths and subject matter each night. No repeats through the three-night run.

Elliott already has been on road with screenings in Montana, but Spokane is among the first of hundreds of shows across the globe through September. She says The Bing is one of her favorite venues for sound, intimacy and the atmosphere of the facility and the crowd.

Read on for the lineup in Spokane:

FRIDAY

Vasu Sojitra - Out on a Limb

Tumwater Solitude

Cerro Torre (Best Film: Climbing)

Intermission

Delta Dawn (Best Short Film)

Forgotten Dirt

The Little Things - Meghann O' Brien

Sufferfest 2 - Desert Alpine (People's Choice Award: Radical Reels)

SATURDAY

Danny MacAskill - The Ridge

Caleb

Love in the Tetons

Sculpted in Time - The Wiseman

And Then We Swam (Best Film: Exploration and Adventure)

Intermission

Mending the Line (People's Choice Award at Banff)

Just Keep Running

Valley Uprising - The Golden Age (Grand Prize winner)

Afterglow

SUNDAY

Touch

Happy Winter

Arctic Swell

Tashi and the Monk (Best Film: Mountain Culture)

Intermission

Africa Fusion

14C

Into the Empty Quarter

Wild Women - Faith Dickey

Sun Dog

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.

Panhandle Forests respond to forest plan objections

PUBLIC LANDS — Regional Forest Service officials have responded to formal objections to the Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s Revised Forest Plan released earlier this year.

  • See the response document attached to this blog post.

The document of responses is the final step in the new objection process and provides the final decision for the 22 objections received from various groups.

Based on the responses, Northern Rockies Regional Forester Faye Krueger will be making modifications to the plan before signing the final decision that would conclude a forest planning process that began in 2002.

“This objection response is the outcome of a deliberative and extensive review of concerns raised by objectors involving complex regulatory and management issues,” said acting Associate Deputy Chief Greg Smith.

Forest officials say they should be able to complete the instructions this winter if the additional work indicates the forest does not need to go back out for public review.

The forest will begin implementation of the revised forest plan 30 days after the final Record of Decision is signed.

"The Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle Zone plans are the first two of the 1982 Forest Plans to go through the objection process," Krueger said. "We are still learning how the objection process works and the Forest Service is applying what we have learned here to the other Forest Plans, nation-wide.”

The Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s plan revision process has been ongoing since 2002 and has included numerous public meetings, open houses and more than 100 community based work-group sessions.

A draft forest plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with multiple alternatives was released to the public in January 2012 and was followed by a 90 day public comment period.

After incorporation of public comments and the selection of an alternative the final Revised Forest Plan, final EIS and draft Record of Decision were released to the public in September 2013, which marked the beginning of the objection process.

Completion of the objection process is the final step before the forest finalizes the Record of Decision and begins implementation of the revised plan.

View the Revised Forest Plan and any of the supporting documents on the Idaho Panhandle NF’s Forest Plan Revision webpage, or contact a Forest Service Office.


Documents:

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.

YogaSlackers win 500-mile Expedition Idaho adventure race

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.

Whitefish mountain bike route a ‘model’ flow trail

CYCLING — A year after its completion, Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Kashmir Trail has been named a model “Flow Trail” by the International Mountain Biking Association.  The route is among 30 miles of downhill and cross-country trails at the Whitefish Bike Park.

Once a year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with the IMBA Model Trail awards which encompass Epics, Ride Centers, Flow Trails and Community Bike Parks.

Kashmir is one of four Flow Trails recognized this year. Others included trails in Karnten, Austria, Sun Valley, Idaho and the Czech Republic.

The winners were announced last week and will be recognized at the 2014 IMBA World Summit Aug. 20-21 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Events and Recreation Manager, Josh Knight will attend and accept the award.

“It’s an honor to see Kashmir be recognized by IMBA," said Josh Knight, the resort’s events and recreation manager. "As one of the first resorts in the west to provide lift-served mountain biking starting with the Summit Trail in 1996, it speaks volumes about the direction of the sport and the industry and what riders want.

“Kashmir has received many compliments over the past year from both experienced and intermediate riders progressing to the next level. Everyone involved in building the trail from our trail crew to Terraflow Trails was very proud of its creation. This award will help Whitefish continue to build on its reputation as a bicycling destination.” 

An IMBA media release said, “These are the trails worth traveling to; the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration.”

Riders will have the opportunity to compete on Kashmir in two events set for September:

  • The Double Dip Downhill, Sept. 6-7 and will feature a course on Kashmir for Saturday’s race day.
  • Ender Enduro, Sept. 13, Whitefish Bike Park’s second enduro race of the season.

The Whitefish Bike Park lift-served downhill and cross-country trails are open daily mid-June to Labor Day and Friday-Sunday in September.

Kashmir Trail info:

  • Level - Black Diamond
  • Length - 2.54 Miles
  • Elevation Loss – 1,684 Vertical Feet
  • Description - The area's backbone flow trail running along the west ridge of the mountain toward the lower pod of downhill trails. It intersects with the Summit Trail six times so you can start small and work your way up to more advanced sections of trail.

 

Mountain biking skills classes offered at Beacon Hill

CYCLING — 

Mountain bike skills taught

CYCLING – Mountain bike skills classes with certified coaches are being offered this summer at Camp Sekani by Evergreeneast.org.

Classes cover the fundamentals of balance, body positions, cornering, switch backs, obstacles and more.

  • The first class is for Intermediates, 5 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The Women’s Basic class is 6 p.m. July 9
  • A freeride class, July 21, covers advance wheel lifts, drops and more.

Pre-register: http://www.evergreeneast.org/skillsclasses/

Questions? kyle@evergreeneast.org.

Montana ski area opening technical mountain bike trails

BICYCLING — The trend continues with alpine ski areas developing facilities for mountain bikers to enjoy during the summer season:

Montana ski area goes big on mountain bike features
Discovery Ski Area in Montana will open its opens new technical skills park for experienced mountain bike riders on Sunday, with a variety of wall rides, bridges, jumps and logs along the way down 1,050 vertical feet.

In the Spokane area: 

  • Mount Spokane downhill trails are being planned and construction is underway.  Last weekend, Evergreen East organized The Warm Up Mt. Spokane benefit event, raising nearly $1000, attracted 30 volunteers who put in 170 hours of hard labor on trail construction, and brought together 26 riders for a total of 13 laps on a Mount Spokane course. A new Mountain Biking brochure and map details the existing riding opportunities at Mount Spokane.
  • A downhill and technical biking park has been created at Beacon Hill

State of the Trails program updates a dozen prized areas

TRAILS — The Inland Northwest Trails Coalition has rounded up more than a dozen local leaders in trails-related efforts for the annual “state of the trails” presentations Thursday, June 12,  starting at 5:30 p.m. at Mountain Gear Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave. in Spokane Valley. 

“Every year the coalition invites land managers to give a report on what is happening with our hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, biking, kayaking, canoeing outdoor adventure areas,” said Lunell Haught, INTC coordinator. “We all come together in one big meeting so that you do not need to go to 10 different meetings to find out the latest news.” 

Trail users can hear the status of trail issues and learn where they can get involved in trail projects.

Natural areas will be covered, including updates on Spokane County Conservation Futures areas – a new Antoine Peak trail and access plan is developing – and progress on the proposed Dream Trail corridor heading north from the Dishman Hills.

Popular paved routes and rail-trails, such as the Centennial Trail, the Ben Burr Trail and Fish Lake Trail, will be reviewed, including efforts to connect them.

Two Washington State Parks that provide roughly 200 miles of trail opportunities – Mount Spokane and Riverside – will be represented by park rangers.

The useful Spokane River Water Trail website will be updated and the Washington Trails Association will detail this season’s trails maintenance projects from Spokane County to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.

The Beacon Hill mountain biking trail system and terrain park will be covered.

Geological routes through the region’s Channeled Scablands will be summarized by the Ice Age Floods Instutue and local U.S. Bureau of Land Management managers will highlight plans for new trails in the Fishtrap Lake area.

Haught said the consortium of outdoor recreation and conservation groups has pulled together to encourage city and county governments to engage in regional trail planning.

The group’s vision, she said, “is a system of paths, trails and open space corridors that connect neighborhoods, community and regional parks and conservation land in our region to engage people in muscle-powered recreational and conservation opportunities, promote active transportation and preserve open space to enhance our region’s quality of life.”

Spokane County Parks has plan for Antoine Peak

PUBLIC LANDS — Spokane County Parks Department has created an access and management plan for the 1,066-acre Antoine Peak Conservation Area in Spokane Valley. The plan will be presented in an open house meeting tonight, May 28, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., at Mountain Gear Headquarters, 6012 E. Mansfield. 

Antoine Peak was purchased in three phases, 2007 - 2012, with half of the funding coming from the county Conservation Futures Program and half from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (Urban Wildlife Habitat Category).

So far, a small trailhead has been developed on the east side of the property off of Lincoln Road. Other access points are undeveloped.

Although unauthorized motor vehicles are not allowed on Antoine Peak, about 20 miles of road, trail, and ATV tracks have been built or formed over several decades before the land was secured by the county. This network has created erosion and encouraged illegal motorized access and disturbance to wildlife, said Paul Knowles, county parks planner. 

The proposed access and trail plan strives to balance recreation and wildlife needs as much as possible, Knowles said, noting that it calls for:

  • Creation or preserving several loop trails
  • Creating larger areas of undisturbed habitat
  • Developing adequate off-street parking on the west side of the park
  • Preserving several routes necessary to maintain access for stewardship and emergency response
  • Cosuring roads and trails that are little used by the public, fragment habitat unnecessarily, are steep and facilitate erosion, and/or serve little to no maintenance function.

Next Steps: After receiving public input and finalized, Knowles says Spokane County Parks will pursue grant funding to implement the trail plan. Once finished, Antoine Peak will become a destination for hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and many other passive recreation uses.


Documents:

Mountain bikers conquer 24-Hour course mostly unscathed

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BICYCLING — Riverside State Park was bustling with bicycles over the holiday weekend for the annual 24 Hours Round the Clock Mountain Bike Race. The event attracted 720 riders including 123 teams and 34 solos, plus a big crowd of supporters camped out for the Saturday-Sunday event.

Most of the more than riders survived fairly unscathed.

S-R photographer Jesse Tinsley has this nice, short video that offers a flavor of the event.

But he didn't include one key ingredient:  blood

Frank Johnson bit the dust, literally, on his first lap in the team event.   He wasn't the only one that's sporting some scabs and raspberries today. But like most of them, Johnson kept riding.

"Our six-man team took third in the 10-man team category," he said. "I got a medal, a bottle of wine and a black eye!"

He gets a big high five for courage.  

Say's his daughter, Megan, on Facebook:

"Go dad! Now when people ask how you got that black eye you can simply say 'by being a bad ass.'"

24 Hour bikers good at team name game

BICYCLING — As of today, 716 riders have registered (limit is 900) for the annual 24-Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race and camping extravaganza at the Seven Mile area of Riverside State Park this Memorial Day Weekend.

Take a quick look at the team names and you get the idea that this is a great event and an even greater party. For example:

2 Person Open Teams

  • Four Nuts in a Sack

​4 Person Open Teams

  • Bacon Strippers
  • Bike Masters of the Universe

5 Person All Female

  • Coal Valley Cougars
  • Bombin' Betties
  • Flying Buttress
  • Whiskey MD

5 Person Coed

  • That's Gonna Hurt
  • Ubermenches + Uberwench 

5 Person Open Age Combined Ages of 150-199

  • Ride it Like You Stole it
  • Afghanistan Banana Stand 
  • Midnight Yard Sale

5 Person Open Age Combined Ages of 200-249

  • We're Not Dead Yet
  • Coal Valley Casanova's 
  • Team Crutch
  • The Good, The Sad and the Butt Ugly

5 Person Open Age Combined Ages of 250+

  • Return of the Poo Flinging Monkeys
  • Nine and One-Half Legs
  • The Boy-Toyz of Wendy Z 

Corporate Teams 10 Person

  • Holy Shift
  • Chuck Norris Rode a Single Speed, ONCE!
  • Tender Nads
  • Social Insecurity

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.

South Hill Bluff trails cleanup nets tons of trash

PUBLIC LANDS — While volunteers are signing up for major efforts to spiff up trails during the upcoming  national trails week, groups already have been sprucing up the South Hill slopes and trails below High Drive.

John Schram of the Friends of the Bluff sums up the most recent effort:

 A hearty and humble 'Thank You!' goes out to all who were involved in the bluff cleanup on Saturday May 3rd. It was a perfect overcast day for the nearly 50 volunteers to help pull up the piles of metal and trash to our staging area at 57th and Hatch.

A special thank you goes out to the 29th and Pittsburg LDS church members for providing a very large contingent of volunteers. The main effort focused on the bluff slope extending down to the Rocket Market and a smaller section near the river below High Drive between 33rd and 37th.

Pacific Recycling, our platinum sponsor, donated a 30 yard metal bin which we filled to the top. 2.63 tons of metal was hauled away which will net the Friends of the Bluff just over $420! Another half ton of garbage (including 27 tires) was carted off to the dump. All of this was accomplished two minutes shy of our 9am-12pm goal time frame.

After surveying the group's accomplishments, Schram seemed to think the sky's the limit for what volunteers can do:

Our next clean up effort will be focused on removal of the three vehicles at the bottom of the hill down from 37th/High. Does anyone have access to a helicopter?

Frigid fat tire race extends to 10-hour epic

WINTER SPORTS — Spokane wide-tire mountain biker Dan DeRuyter traveled to Island Park, Idaho, for the annual ultramarathon race called Jay's Backyard Fat Pursuit. Riders chose from 60K and 200K snow-covered routes.

Hours after this starting photo was shot at minus-zero temperatures, DeRuyter logged another photo of himself on the 60K route with this caption:

Here's a 'selfie' at around 11 AM. GPS, Water Bottle, Camel-pack and Bike-chiladas, already long since frozen solid. Never would have guessed I'd have another eight hours to go.

Then, when his body had sufficiently thawed, he filed this report after the race:


 Finished, Crashed twice, and wasn't last (but, in truth, last wasn't far away), in what became a very tough, ten hour/60 k effort. Here are shots before (thinking I'd finish around 3 PM), and at the Finish (at 7 PM) . A brutally long, cold (-5 F to 15 F), and windy day. All my water, and most of my food, were frozen solid long before the first check point. My finger tips are all still numb today. My Race diary's entry for yesterday will be filled with the many, many things I'll do better next time. This Race deeply rewards those who properly prepare.

 The highlights of my day were having the one and only Jay Petervary periodically checking my (all Racers') progress on his show machine, and my Exposure Maxx D that strobed for nine hours and then had enough juice left to light me to the Finish.

 Lastly, 'awe' is the only word I can think of that comes close to describing the 19 who opted to Race the 200 k, and what will be a 24 + hour effort for them - completely unsupported. Truly the very best & gifted endurance athletes there could be.

Roskelley keynotes Riverside Park Foundation meeting

PUBLIC LANDS — John Roskelley, a Spokane mountaineer and former county commissioner, will be the keynote speaker at the first annual meeting of the Riverside State Park Foundation.

The public is invited to the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29,  at the Mountain Gear retail store, 2002 N. Division.

The foundation,  a nonprofit group that supports Riverside State Park, also will feature Chris Guidotti, park manager, and Lucinda Whaley, Washington State Parks and Recreation commissioner from Spokane, speaking about the status and future of Riverside and the state's century-old parks system.

 Riverside, which borders the city of Spokane, is Washington's largest state park with two rivers, several campgrounds, an equestrian area, ORV area, cultural sites, boating and paddling access, miles and miles of mixed use trails, plus wildlife and stunning scenery. Riverside rangers also manage the Little Spokane River Natural Area, Columbia Plateau Trail and the Centennial Trail, among other duties.

 

Now is a great time to join the Riverside State Park Foundation as it introduces its newly created membership packages. The Foundation is instrumental with the fundraising for Riverside State Park through project support, education, volunteerism and events. For more information about the Riverside State Park Foundation, visit .

Regional trails plan unveiled Tuesday at REI

TRAILS — An update to the 2008 Spokane County Regional Trails Plan will help integrate routes for walkers, runners, skaters, cyclists and equestrians into planning and development as the population grows, officials say.

The draft plan, up for county approval this month, identifies 677 miles of routes ranging from single tracks to the 12-foot-wide Centennial Trail, said Parks Department planner Paul Knowles.

The plan will help the county preserve and maintain existing trails while identifying links for an interconnected network of user-friendly trails, he said.

But don't take our word for it: check it out for yourself:

  • See maps, ask questions and comment on updates to the Spokane County Regional Trail Plan at an open house meeting Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at REI, 1125 N. Monroe St.
  • See the Regional Trail Plan documents on the County Parks website.

The county Planning Commission is set to review the draft plan on Jan. 16.

Outdoor groups in the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition helped fund the trail planning, map trails and propose possible links and expansion throughout the region.

The new Centennial Trail segment through Kendall Yards is indicates the benefits that can be achieved through trail planning Knowles said. The proposed Dream Trail running north-south completely through the Dishman Hills is another goal.

The plan could facilitate public access from Five Mile Prairie to the Little Spokane River.

Read on for more information about the plan.

Bend to host 2015 x-c mountain bike championships

MOUNTAIN BIKING — USA Cycling has announced the locations for several of championships for 2015 and 2016, which includes taking the cross country mountain bike nationals to Bend, Ore. 

Dates have not been announced, but the mountain bike nationals will likely have an impact on the selection of the U.S. team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

Along with the cross country nationals, Bend will host the Enduro National Championships on Mount Bachelor. Enduro events will be replacing the Super D competition. 

  • The professional criterium nationals are in Greenville, S.C.;
  • Amateur and para-cycling road nationals are in North Lake Tahoe, Calif.;
  • Marathon mountain bike nationals are in Columbia County, Ga.;
  • Gravity mountain bike nationals will be at Mammoth Mountain in California;
  • Collegiate mountain bike nationals are at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia

Chart simplifies Mount Spokane’s winter access pass requirements

WINTER SPORTS — My recent blog post on the transitions at Mount Spokane State Park indicated the biggest change this seasons is the elimination of the Discover Pass for WINTER vehicle access to the park through March 31.

The handy chart above, courtesy of the Spokane REI store, helps illustrate the change.

Read the story for details.

Film lineup announced for Banff Film Fest World Tour in Spokane

ADVENTURE — The lineup of films for the three-day run of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Spokane has been decided — just hours before the first films will be shown tonight starting at 7 p.m. at The Bing Crosby Theater.

Friday and Saturday night snows are sold out.  Only a few tickets remained for Sunday at last check.

See the always exciting World Tour trailer above.

Note: The new owners of The Bing introduced a bar for beer and wine just before last year's festival showing, and this year they're offering a wine bar up a spiral staircase near the balcony level.  Also, this year's film screenings will be presented with the new state of the art projector and larger screen that debuted last year, plus the enhanced sound system that was installed since then. 

World Tour host — better known as the World Tour road warrior — Michelle de Camp met with Phil Bridgers of Mountain Gear met this afternoon at Soulful Soups to work through the options.  Several films Bridgers wanted to show after attening the festival in Bann two weeks ago still were not licensed.

But they came up with a good lineup of shows for each night with everything from High Tension and the Grand Prize winning North of the Sun to NAKED SKIING in the Valhalla's of British Columbia! 

De Camp will log 60 hours of driving and 4,000 kilometers of travel from from today through mid December to show the World tour around the region. Then the tour will continue around the world in 2014.

Read on for the lineup in Spokane:

Wilderness advocates wary of bikes in study area

PUBLIC LANDS — Are mountain bikers trying to rewrite the Wilderness Act?

Bicycle routes in Wyoming wilderness study area questioned
Bridger-Teton National Forest officials said the management plan for the Wyoming forest specifically allows mountain bike routes in the Palisades Wilderness Study Area, but conservationists are questioning that decision, and said that if the area should be designated wilderness by Congress, then the mountain bike routes would have to be closed.
—Jackson Hole News & Guide

City projects could affect access to South Hill bluffs

TRAILS — The City of Spokane's plans to "remodel" High Drive in 2014 while updating sewer lines could change bike lanes and reduce parking options for the popular South Hill bluff trails.

Traffic flow, pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes will also be affected, according to the Friends of the Bluff.

A neighborhood meeting on set for 7 p.m.-9 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 8) at he new Jefferson Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room, 123 E. 37th Ave.
 
This might be the public's best chance to see the initial plans and provide constructive input, the Friends group says.