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Ski area expansion prompts Mount Spokane land classification proposals

PUBLIC LANDS — Land classification proposals that could make or break a plan to expand the Mount Spokane alpine ski area will be presented at the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Thursday, July 24, in Bellingham.

In 2010, Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park proposed expanding its ski area within the state park to provide more intermediate terrain needed to remain competitive. Conservation and wildlife groups have contested the expansion.

The ski area concession encompasses 1,425 acres of the 14,000-acre state park.

In 1999, land classifications were adopted for the park, but 850 acres was left unclassified in an area designated for potential alpine ski expansion.

The ski area has proposed installing a lift, which already has been purchased, and expanding skiing with seven new runs over nearly 280 acres of that area.

State Parks staff is releasing a report this week that proposes four land classification options. One of the options would designate the land a “natural forest area,” which would preclude any development and most recreation.

An environmental impact statement on the land classifications is to be released this week. Public comment will be taken through mid-August. The commission is scheduled to choose an option on Nov. 20.

The Lands Council based in Spokane plans to argue that the report has flaws, including the stance that the area does not include old growth forest.

“I guess we’re still in a little bit of a battle,” said Mike Peterson, executive director.


Documents:

Volunteer for Palisades Park cleanup Saturday

TRAILS – Volunteers are needed for the annual Palisades Park Cleanup starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Meet at the intersection of Greenwood, Rimrock and Basalt roads.

A tailgate party lunch for volunteers is set for noon.

The city park, which is near Indian Canyon, features Rimrock Drive, now a non-motorized route overlooking Spokane, plus hiking trails in a natural conservation area.

RSVP: membership@palisadesnw.com.

Sierra Clubbers lead strolls in local natural areas

OUTDO – Sierra Clubbers are leading a series of evening walks with an environmental emphasis through Spokane-area natural areas that runs through September.

Hikes so far have been in Riverside State Park and on Mount Spokane.

Read on for the remaining list with details on each hike and the contacts.

Sign up: REI project boosts Little Spokane trail

TRAILS — The Spokane REI store is trying to round up a crew of several hundred volunteers for a brief but massive effort to reroute a portion of a popular Little Spokane River trail off private land.

Join the group!  These service projects are fun and satisfying.

In cooperation with Riverside State Park, the store’s annual family-friendly Service Day project is set for 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday (June 1), National Trails Day.

Helpers will redirect the Valley Trail downstream from Indian Painted Rocks onto state park land.

Individuals should preregister at the REI website.

Larger groups contact Carol Christensen at the store, 328-9900.

Volunteers to give key outdoor sites TLC this weekend

PUBLIC LANDS — Volunteers are planning to pick up and spruce up a couple of prized outdoors recreation features in the Spokane area this weekend.

Unveil the (Centennial) Trail, Saturday (April 20), 9 a.m.-noon

About 350 volunteers have pre-registered for the annual clean-up, working in sections to cover the entire 37.5-mile Centennial Trail from the stateline to Nine Mile Falls. The trail attracts two million visits a year.

Dishman Hills Service Day, Sunday (April 21), 9 a.m.-noon

Volunteers are signing up for the annual Earth Day cleanup and trail work in the Dishman Hills Natural Resource Conservation Area in Spokane Valley based out of Camp Caro. Organized by the Dishman Hills Conservancy, new signs and kiosks are set to be installed and trail projects are being planned.

Conservation Futures could add two choice spots

PUBLIC LANDS — The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program is asking county commissioners to preserve 920 acres on the west flank of Mica Peak and15 acres at a geological site between Badger and Williams lakes south of Cheney.

If approved, the acquisitions would bring Conservation Futures Program holdings to more than 7,000 acres through 29 acquisitions.

To date through the program, Spokane County Parks and Recreation manages 14 properties and the City of Spokane Parks Department manages an additional 11 properties within city limits.

Big turnout Sunday to spiff up Dishman Hills

PUBLIC LANDS — ‎547 volunteers, with a boost from the Washington Trails Association, turned out Sunday to pick up, plant and route trails in the Dishman Hills Natural Area.

The project is backed by a $5,000 grant from REI to the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association.

County buys 269 acres for Glenrose conservation area

CONSERVATION — The Dream Trail through the Dishman Hills of Spokane Valley has come 269 acres closer to reality this week with the purchase of two parcels in the Glenrose area.

Two adjoining parcels were purchased with $473,500 from the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program plus $257,500 donated by the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association, said John Bottelli, County Parks assistant director.

“DHNAA exceeded their original pledge by ultimately covering more than the county's share of the Stone Estate acreage by $35,000,” Bottelli said. “Their $257,500 represents 54 percent of the purchase price and is an incredible accomplishment for any non-profit!”

The Dishman Hills group scraped up the money and secured the property before other interests could lock it up privately.

Click here for the details on this great acquisition for future generations and how it fits into the big picture for maintaining wildlife movements and public access to wildlands in our ever-more-populated region.

Dishman Hills to get TLC; join the group

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WHAT: Dishman Hills Natural Area Cleanup, sponsored by REI.

WHEN: April 22, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE: Dishman Hills Natural Area, Camp Caro, 625 S. Sargent Road, Spokane Valley

WHO: Community groups and volunteers needed.

About 340 helpers made a big difference last year in the appearance of this gem of habitat for trail hikers and wildlife in Spokane Valley.

Groups are organized for trail restoration and clean-up, noxious weed removal, tree planting and other projects.

REI and the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association organize the event and provide music and free food.

Preregister here for info and to make sure you get a T-shirt!

Dig deeper into the volunteer trail work with a full weekend project sponsored by the Washington Trails Association.

Annual Buttercup Hike Saturday at Dishman Hills

HIKING — The 46th annual Buttercup Hike led by the Dishman Hills Natural Area society is set to for Saturday, starting at noon at the Camp Caro lower parking lot.

The hike moves at a gentle pace for all to enjoy.

 

Dishman Hills group celebrates 45 years — with more conservation plans

The  Dishman Hills Natural Area Association is the low-key local conservation group that just keeps on giving. Consider joining the celebration and seeing what the groups in planning next.

TLC needs to be a daily effort at Dishman Hills

TRAILS — Less than a week after 330 people volunteered to clean up the Dishman Hills Natural Area in Spokane Valley, the new garbage carnage already has begun.

Don't let litter critters take our favorite places down.

Fight back by devoting just a few minutes of every hike to the cause!

Take a small garbage bag with you on every hike, regardless of where you go. A little pick up here and there can make a big difference. A group can have a great positive impact in very little time, with very little effort.

As one friend put it, “Stewardship is forever.”

Annual ‘buttercup hike’ Saturday at Dishman Hills

HIKING —  The annual Buttercup Hike, a decade's-old favorite, is set for Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. from Camp Caro. (Head south from Appleway on Sargent Road to the parking area).

Dishman Hills Natural Area Association leader Michael Hamilton plans to give a natural history lesson along the way on this short, strolling walk.

It's a go regardless of weather.