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Backpacking basics programs this week at REI

HIKING — A Backpacking Basics presentation geared to the Inland Northwest will be presented Tuesday, 7 p.m., by the staff at the Spokane REI store, 1125 N. Monroe St.

A presentation geared to lightweight backpacking is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Pre-register for the free programs at rei.com/spokane.

Trails Day volunteers dig into Riverside State Park

TRAILS — About 100 volunteers turned out Sunday to brave the heat and dust as they put their muscle into upgrading Trail 100 in Riveside State Park, said Carol Christensen, Outreach coordinator for REI Spokane.

Partner organizations included Washington Trails Association, Backcountry Horsemen, Spokane Mountaineers, Evergreen East, West Central Community Center, Friends of the Centennial Trail, Riverside State Park Foundation and Riverside State Park.

The National Trails Day local service event was sponsored by REI, which also announced a 2015 grant of $20,000 to support the park's volunteer coordinator, who plans other part projects through the year.

Temporary trail etiquette signs have been installed at either end of the rehabbed section near the Fort Wright Cemetery. Permanent signs are ordered.

"The tread has been widened to 3-4 feet and many of the problematic rocks were removed," Christensen said. "Volunteers also brushed back a fair bit of poison ivy and other undergrowth.

"As we were packing up Sunday afternoon, we saw hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders headed out, from either end, to enjoy the new section.

Trail 100 is a nifty river-hugging route accessed from state park and Centennial Trail parking areas in the Fort Wright area.  For details, see Trip 79 in Day Hiking Eastern Washington.

REI racks up record year selling outdoor gear

OUTDOOR RETAILING — The funky economy couldn't keep outdoors enthusiasts cowering for long.

Recreational Equipment, Inc., says its sales soared to $2.2 billion, up 9.9 percent from 2013 — the biggest annual increase since 2010, when the Kent-based retailer and its customers were bouncing back from the recession.

The REI Co-Op was founded in 1938. Jim Whittaker, who became the first  American to climb Mount Everest in 1963, became REI's first full-time employee and was CEO in the 1960s.

A more recent REI CEO, Sally Jewell, is U.S. Secretary of Interior.

Spots available for tonight’s free avalanche class at REI

WINTERSPORTS — Don't miss this chance to be prepared for the winter backcountry travel season.

At last check, there were at least 15 spots available for tonight's FREE Avalanche Awareness workshop at the Spokane REI Store, 1125 N Monroe St.

The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Avalanche Awareness Workshop is for any winter backcountry traveler, whether you ski, snowshoe, snowboard or snowmobile.

Recognition of avalanche danger is an essential and potentially lifesaving skill.

This session introduces and explains where and why avalanches occur and provides a basic approach to managing risk in the backcountry.

Learn to access local avalanche bulletins and weather reports, recognize basic signs of avalanche danger, and learn simple ways to help avoid avalanche danger.

Seven Summits climber speaks Friday at REI

CLIMBING — Looking for a diversion from basketball?  Check this out:

Friday (March 21): John Mauro, the 65th American to climb the highest peak on all seven continents, will recount his expeditions, including his 2013 ascent of Everest, 7 p.m., at REI,1125 N. Monroe.

He requests a $5 donation for the Climbing for Kids charity. 

Planning adventures abroad program at REI

TRAVEL – Experts in international adventure travel will present a free program on planning a trip abroad at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at REI, 1125. N. Monroe.

Pre-register to save a spot.

Learn winter camping basics in free program

WINTER SPORTS — Basics of Winter Camping, a free program presented by an REI staffer, will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Spokane store, 1125 N. Monroe.   

Pre-register to reserve a seat.

Spokane River cleanup needs crew leaders

RIVERS — The annual Spokane River Clean-up is set for Sept. 28 and the planning team and REI volunteer coordinator Carol Christensen are putting out the call for more crew leaders.

"If you’re willing and able to give a couple hours ahead of time for training and a morning of work leading a crew of about 30 volunteers," she says, "please e-mail cccarolynconnelly@gmail.com

Stand up paddleboarding program at REI

WATER SPORTS – Get the basics on Stand Up Paddleboarding in a free staff-presented program at REI on Thursday, 7 p.m.

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.

Obama nominates REI’s CEO for Secretary of Interior

PUBLIC LANDS — Sally Jewell, Recreational Equipment Inc. Chief Executive Sally Jewell is being nominated by President Obama to lead the Interior Department in his second term.

Jewell, 56, has served as the Washington-state-based outdoor retailer's CEO since 2005. She started her career as a petroleum engineer working in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Colorado for Mobil Oil Corp. She then moved to the banking industry, before joining the REI board in 1996 and becoming chief operations officer four years later.

She has been credited with expanding the Washington state-based retailer's Internet operations and contributing company resources to environmental stewardship.

Jewell was on the Avista Corp. board of directors from May 1997 through May 2003.

If confirmed by the Senate, she will replace current Secretary Ken Salazar, who plans to step down to return to Colorado.


-Tim Wigley, president, Western Energy Alliance, which represents the oil and natural gas industry in the West.

Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation's energy portfolio.

-Chris Wood, president and CEO, Trout Unlimited

Sally Jewell would make a great Secretary of Interior. Her background suggests that she would bring needed balance to energy development on public lands. Her stewardship of REI demonstrates that she understands the interests of anglers and hunters and would serve as an aggressive advocate within the White House for protecting fish and game habitat and hunting and angling opportunity. She is a practical, no-nonsense leader who would bring a sense of purpose to implementing the oil and gas reforms that have remained largely on the shelf. She is a strong pick.

-Sen. Patty Murray:

President Obama has chosen an accomplished leader as the next Secretary of Interior. I have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Sally Jewell, who has proven to be an effective CEO in the business community, and will bring that skill set to the Cabinet. She understands the tremendous asset that our public lands are, particularly to the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation based economy. Additionally, American families could have no greater advocate for their continued use, enjoyment and protection of our National Parks and natural treasures. I look forward to working with Sally and President Obama as they shape and implement policies at the Department of Interior.

 -Jim Lyon, National Wildlife Federation senior vice president for conservation programs:

        Sally Jewell is a business leader who knows that conserving America’s natural resources is fundamentally linked to a healthy and strong economy. Outdoor recreation contributes $730 billion to America’s economy and delivers $49 billion in tax revenue annually, but faces a critical challenge as Washington considers even more cuts to conservation programs on top of steep cuts already made. Hunters, anglers, hikers, kayakers, bird watchers and all who value and cherish the outdoors and wildlife will benefit from her first hand understanding of Americans’ passion for protecting our natural treasures.

-Mike Nussman, American Sportfishing Association president and CEO:

From an industry perspective, Sally Jewell understands the important role that our public waters and lands have in supporting the nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy. Given its responsibility for managing approximately one-fifth of the nation’s lands and waters, the Department of the Interior has a significant role in providing recreational fishing opportunities and conserving the nation’s fisheries resources.

Women step out into winter at Souper Bowl on Mount Spokane

WINTER SPORTS – Sign-up is under way for an annual event known for encouraging women to take an adventurous yet enjoyable step into winter.

The Women’s Souper Bowl VIII – which includes cross-country skiing and snowshoeing activities, treats, prizes and lunch – is set for 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Feb. 3 based out of Selkirk Lodge at Mount Spokane.

Activities end in time to avoid conflict with TV’s “other” Super Bowl.

Events are open to women of all ages and athletic ability. Free snowshoe rentals and lessons are available on site; discounted cross-country ski rentals available in advance.

New this year:

• An adventurous guided snowshoe trek from the hairpin turn back to the lodge.

• Round-trip shuttles on buses sponsored by REI. Buses will pick up and return at Global Credit Union offices in downtown and in Spokane Valley, with stops at Mt. Spokane High School. Cost: $5.

Back by popular demand are the Poker Ski and the Flamingo Road snowshoe trek, both on the nordic trails from Selkirk Lodge.

Tickets: A $30 minimum suggested donation is requested for the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant for registrations received by Friday. A $10 additional fee will be requested for late registrations.

Organizers say 280 women came out for last year’s event, enabling volunteers to raise $12,872 for the Free Restaurant.

Preregister: souperbowlspokane.org.

Diva Night opens door to outdoors for women

OUTDOOR PURSUITS — This is a great evening of presentations and activities to help women get involved in outdoor pursuits.  Be sure to pre-register at REI-Spokane store website.

Volunteers to spruce up Dishman Hills Sept. 29

PUBLIC LANDS — The Dishman Hills Conservancy and REI have a useful way to celebrate National Public Lands Day.

 On September 29th we look to continue the wonderful efforts that were made on April 22nd (Earth Day) by our 547 volunteers. We will continue the process of noxious weed removal, placement of mulch in the lower Camp Caro parking area to aid in habitat restoration and perform trash clean-up across the properly.

Thanks to REI, we will also have a couple of t-shirts that we will be able to give away via a drawing at the event.

 More information and online registration: DHNA National Public Lands Day 2012


Beacon Hill trails get $4K boost from REI

PARKS — Trail rehabilitation and restoration projects around Beacon Hill and Camp Sekani are getting a boost from the REI store in Spokane.

The store's presented $4,464 to the Spokane Parks & Recreation board for use in the popular mountain biking and hiking area. 

This is the last of three community grant part checks REI has awarded for 2012, a year of record giving through the program, said Carol Christensen, REI outreach specialist in Spokane.

 In addition to the Parks & Rec Foundation, REI awarded $10,000 to the Friends of the Centennial Trail and $10,000 to the Riverside State Park Foundation.  

That's a total $24,464 boost to popular local outdoor recreation destinations.

"REI’s mission, 'To inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship,' is what drives the market-based grant program," Christensen said.

The Friends of the Centennial Trail and Riverside State Park Foundation pooled a portion of the grant funding to hire a volunteer coordinator to “recruit, train, and supervise volunteers to perform repairs, maintenance, and cleanup of the Centennial Trail, including campgrounds, recreation sites, and cultural sites and to create and maintain a database of volunteers.”

All three organizations have already been active in getting volunteers on the trails with more than 150 hours logged through the volunteer coordination program and several trail projects completed at Beacon Hill/Camp Sekani.

Get involved with these organizations by contacting Jake Graham at Riverside State Park, email riverside@parks.wa.gov , or Mike Aho at Spokane Parks and Rec, maho@spokanecity.org.

Info: Carol  Christensen, cchrist@rei.com.

First annual Spokane River festival next Saturday

Next Saturday at Glover Park, 214 N Cedar Street, get ready for the 1st annual Spokane River Festival from 10am-4pm. This is an outdoor adventure showcase that takes place in the heart of Spokane at Glover Field Park on the Spokane River. The mission of Riverfest is to educate and inform the public about the benefits of recreating safely on the Spokane River, in turn helping to preserve and protect the natural resource that is the cornerstone of Spokane.

Check out REI's event page for more information.

Two Spokane River events introduce public to paddling sports

WATER SPORTS – Two events that promote paddling sports are scheduled this month along the Spokane River.

Spokane River Festival for paddlers, Saturday starting at 11 a.m., is being organized by local kayak and rafting groups Saturday at Glover Field in Peaceful Valley.

The event, an evolution of the former Corbin Kick-off, offers a chance to see new boats and gear, join river tours and meet local whitewater enthusiasts. The date was incorrect in an announcement last Sunday in Outdoors

Paddle, Splash and Play on Aug. 18, another free event to encourage families to try craft such as canoes, kayaks, sea kayaks, inflatables, and stand-up paddle boards, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Nine Mile Recreation Area in Riverside State Park (Discover Pass required).

The event is sponsored by Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, Mountain Gear, and Spokane Parks and Recreation.

Sign up for bicycle maintenance class at REI

CYCLING –A class on basic bicycle maintenance is being offered Thursday (July 26), 7 p.m., at REI in Spokane.

This class is free to attend and space is limited. Register at www.rei.com/spokane.

Free paddling overview Thursday at REI

PADDLING — Get the basics of paddling gear — canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards — in a free presentation Thursday (June 21), 7 p.m., at REI in Spokane.

The presentation also will cover apparel, trip planning and transportation.

Clothing-optional hike among National Trails Day outings

HIKING — A Washington nudist park north of Spokane is celebrating National Trails Day June 2 with a clothing optional hike.

Kaniksu Ranch Family Nudist Park near Loon Lake, WA will host the hike Saturday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. in its 260-acre forest. The park, run by members, welcomes everyone. The group says it's family oriented, although unless the kids are still learning to walk, it doesn't take four hours to hike 260 acres.

“The Inland Northwest has lots of wonderful scenery, but the one unique feature Kaniksu Ranch offers that no one else does is that we can hike safely and legally NAKED in a beautiful, family-friendly environment,” organizers said.

They made no mention of whether the mosquitoes are out.  And we suggest you bring plenty of sunscreen — and dark glasses.

Click "continue reading" for all the dangling details on this event.

MEANTIME, here are a few mainstream Trails Day options for Saturday, June 2 (most require clothing and advance sign-up):

Washington Trails Association is organizing a work party to re-route and maintain trails at Liberty Lake County Park.

Riverside State Park is joining with REI for a family-oriented forest health pruning project in the park.

Elk Creek Falls is the destination for a free two-mile loop hike on the Colville National Forest, led by a Forest Service wildlife biologist.

Butterflies at Turnbull Wildlife Refuge will be the focus of a presentation and field hike led by an expert from the Washington Butterfly Association.

Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are leading a family and dog walk on Saturday and a visit to the Ross Creek Cedars on Sunday.

REI prompts flurry of volunteer work at recreation area sites

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.

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.

Fly fishing, map and compass and wetlands on outdoor event schedule

OUTDOOR PROGRAMS — Here's a few outdoor programs to consider catching this week:

Fly fishing – “Match the Hatch Simplified,” free program by Oregon fly-fishing author Dave Hughes, 7 p.m., Wednesday (Feb. 8) at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, hosted by the Spokane Fly Fishers.

Map and compass – Free seminar on basics of reading a map and applying a compass for navigation, 7 p.m., Thursday (Feb. 9), at REI. Pre-register here to assure a spot.

Wetlands – The Pullman chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fund-raising banquet for wetlands conservation on Feb. 12 at the Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman. Tickets: Joe Ford (509) 872-3030.

Snowshoeing basics program Thursday at REI

WINTER SPORTS — A free program on the basics of snowshoeing will be presented Thursday (Feb. 2), 7 p.m. at REI in Spokane.

The class will focus on selecting appropriate gear (including women’s specific gear) and finding out where to go snowshoeing in this region.

The class is free, but space is limited. Preregister at www.rei.com/spokane.

Winter Sports Kickoff at REI on Saturday

WINTER SPORTS —  Pick up season lift passes for your favorite mountains, talk to vendors, enter to win outdoors gear and get free info on outside in the winter on Saturday (Nov. 12) at the annual Winter Sports Kickoff, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at REI, 1125 N. Monroe St.

REI’s ‘Diva Night’ focuses on getting women active outdoors

WOMEN OUTDOORS — The Spokane REI store is devoting an evening to providing women with information on programs and events designed especially for getting women active in outdoor activities.

Diva Night is set for Oct. 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 1125 N. Monroe.   That's a week a way, but the first 30 women to pre-register for Diva Night will receive a complimentary gift bag of fun prizes!

Topics to be covered range from  health and wellness to camp cooking, backpacking, climbing and more.

 Participating groups include the Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Souper Bowl, Emde Sports, Belles & Baskets, Gals Get Going, the YWCA, Jazzercise, Fitness Center, Rossignol, Superfeet and Moving Comfort, Petzl, Columbia, Black Diamond, Asics and ZipFizz and Girl Scouts.

The REI climbing wall will be open for women to try out.

REI grants $20,000 to local outdoor efforts

CONSERVATIONSpokane’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.

Mountain biking basics clinic Thursday at REI

BICYCLING  — Learn the basics of biking etiquette, safety concerns, biking techniques and recommended equipment in a free mountain biking clinic starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at REI in Spokane.

Store staff also will discuss basic bike repairs and maintenance and resources for where to ride in the Inland Northwest.

This class is free, but space is limited, so be sure to pre-register.

Learn basics of backpack cooking Thursday at REI

BACKPACKING — Tired of Ramen? Too cheap for freeze-dried?

Get tips for organizing and preapring fun, easy meals on your next hiking adventure during a free intro to backpack cooking program Thursday, 7 p.m., offered by the staff of the REI store at 1125 N. Monroe.

The program will touch on preserving, preparing, packing and cooking tasty meals that won’t drag you down.

Learn basics of camp cooking Thursday at REI

CAMPING — Get tips for organizing and preapring fun, easy meals at the campground during a free intro to camp cooking program Thursday, 7 p.m., offered by the staff of the REI store at 1125 N. Monroe.

Next week at REI: Backpack cooking basics.