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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 .
HIKING – State Parks across Washington are sponsoring family-oriented New Year’s Day hikes to get the year off on the right foot. Events in the Spokane area include:
Mount Spokane, 10 a.m. — Snowshoe along Trail 130 for a 2- to 4-mile, round-trip hike. Meet at the snowmobile parking lot. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and a Discover Pass are required for vehicle access to the event. (Purchase Sno-Park permits online at www.parks.wa.gov/winter/) Snowshoes are required, and pets are allowed on a leash.
Riverside State Park, 1 p.m. — Take the foot bridge over the Spokane River for a hike on the Bowl and Pitcher River Trail. Participants will see the unique basalt rock formations cut by the Spokane River known as the Bowl and Pitcher. Meet in the Bowl and Pitcher swing bridge parking lot. Snowshoes may be required. Pets on leash are allowed.
RIVERS — Wiley E. Waters rafting company is offering discounted three-hour whitewater river float trips for the Washington State Parks Centennial 2013 celebration on Saturday (June 8) at Riverside State Park.
Trips will start at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with shuttles from Riverside Park's Bowl and Pitcher area to the launch site in Peaceful Valley and from the take-out at Plese Flats.
Cost: $49. Pre-register: (208) 457-1092 or on line, riverrafting.net.
Last-minute sign-up will be accepted by the outfitter’s booth at the Bowl and Pitcher if space is available.
Check the Riverside State ParksFoundation website for details and a schedule of events for the centennial celebration.
See the Sunday Outdoors story: Riverside good choice for Centennial Celebration.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Washington State Parks Centennial 2013 celebration at Riverside State Park will feature free activities on Saturday (June 8) from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. based at the Bowl and Pitcher day-use area and campground.
The Discover Pass requirement for vehicles will be waived for the day.
RAFT THE RIVER
Wiley E. Waters rafting company is offering discounted three-hour whitewater river float trips for the Centennial 2013 celebration on Saturday.
Trips will start at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with shuttles from the Bowl and Pitcher area to the launch site in Peaceful Valley and from the take-out at Plese Flats.
Cost: $49. Pre-register: (208) 457-1092 or on line, riverrafting.net.
Last-minute sign-up will be accepted by the outfitter’s booth at the Bowl and Pitcher if space is available.
SCHEDULE of Free events on June 8:
1:15 a.m. – Raptor program, West Valley Outdoor Learning Center.
Noon – Park blessing, Spokane Tribe, plus welcome from park manager, dignitaries.
1:15 p.m. –Patrick McManus book signing.
2:15 p.m. – Live music by three bands through 6 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – Beginner Orienteering Course, Eastern Washington Orienteering Club.
2:30 p.m. – Arts and Crafts, Spokane Parks & Recreation.
3:30 p.m. – Bike Rodeo, Evergreen East Bike Club.
3:30 p.m. – Geocaching 101, Washington State Geocaching Association.
4:30 p.m. – River trail hike led by Rich Landers, Spokesman-Review outdoors editor and author of “Day Hiking Eastern Washington.” Meet at Bowl & Pitcher day-use parking area trailhead that leads to the swinging footbridge.
Check the Riverside State Park Foundation website for more details about the centennial celebration.
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.
CYCLING — Jeremiah Alexander tends to his dirt-trail rash during the 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race, which concludes today at noon at Riverside State Park.
The event for solo and team cyclists is one of th biggest camping parties of the year, but as Alexander illustrates, it's the real deal.
MOUNTAIN BIKING — The annual 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race is gearing up for another extravaganza of solo and team efforts supported by one of the biggest campouts of friends and dirtbaggers of the season May 25-26 at Riverside State Park.
The Seven Mile airtrip area of the park fills on the eve of the race with hundreds of bikes along with tents, RV’s, trailers and cyclists from around the country. The event begins with a La Mans start at noon May 25. Riders complete as many 15-mile dirt-trail laps before the event 24 hours later.
Read on for details from the sponsor, Round and Round Productions.
HIKING — Here's a way to rally on New Years Day: Walk it off!
Riverside State Park in Spokane is among 13 parks in the state beckoning walkers to ring in the new year — and celebrate the 100th year of Washington State Parks — with a group hike.
The First Day hike begins Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. at the swinging bridge parking lot in the Bowl and Pitcher Area. Visitors will explore the Bowl and Pitcher River Trail and see the dramatic winter whitewater rapids of the Spokane River. The hike is open to participants of all ages. On-leash dogs are allowed.
State Parks’ partner and friends groups will provide hot chocolate for hike participants. Hikers are encouraged to pack water and dress according to weather conditions.
See more information about specific First Day Hikes across the state.
TRAILS — Numbers stood out to me in several cases as I researched today's Outdoors column on the Spokane River Centennial Trail, a 37-mile ribbon of park that's the envy of cities across the country.
Four years ago, Riverside State Park had two full-time Centennial Trail rangers and a seasonal maintenance crew. State budgets cuts have slashed the staffing to one seasonal ranger. Period.
The trail is used about 2 million times a year, yet only 350 people are signed up as members of the Friends of the Centennial Trail, a group that's critical to the sustainability and development of the trail.
Even if you never set foot, bike or skate on the trail, it's worth supporting just to have it there for our citizens and our visitors and to keep the river shores open to the public going into a future that will see even more pressure for riverside development.
Check out the Friends of the Spokane River Centennial Trail website and consider becoming a member or making an additional contribution to the Trail Builders Fund.
In case you missed them, here are some of the top outdoors stories published in The Spokesman-Review Sunday and today:
PARKS — To recognize National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Washington State Parks are offering free entry: The Discover Pass is not required.
Saturday is one of 12 “free days” offered at State Parks each year. The final 2012 State Parks free days are scheduled for Nov. 10-12 during the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend.
Other activies recognizing the day include the annual:
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.
Info: Carol Christensen, email@example.com.
OLYMPIA — Regarding the state's cherished park system, the two men vying to be Washington's next governor are of the same opinion — it needs public funding.
BICYCLING – The orgnaizers of SpokeFest, the annual September bicycle celebration that branches out from downtown Spokane, are offering an early sign-up incentive:
Choose from four different routes on Sept. 9:
- 1 or 2.5-mile Park Loop and Bike Safety Rodeo,
- 9-mile Spokane Falls Route,
- 21–mile Classic River Route
- 47-mile Four Mounds Route.
All of the rides and events start downtown and finish at the SpokeFair on the Post Street Bridge next to Riverfront Park.
Read on for more details.
STATE PARKS — Special activities at five venues are scheduled Sunday, (June 24), 10 a.m.-3 p.m., to introduce the public to features and recreation available in Riverside State Park on the west side of Spokane.
The required Discover Pass will be available for purchase from staff and volunteers. Venues include:
Bowl and Pitcher Area, 4427 North Aubrey L. White Parkway – Hiking and biking information; a free beginner orienteering course; displays, wildlife presentations and children’s activities.
Nine Mile Recreation Area, 11226 West Charles Rd – Canoeing and kayaking activities with boats for loan, boating safety expert, bass and fly fishing info, Lake Spokane presentations.
Equestrian Area, Aubrey L. White Parkway off Government Way – Tour riding trails and new campground facilities; free pony rides for kids under 75 pounds.
Spokane House Interpretive Center, off Highway 291 just west of Nine Mile Dam – Indoor and outdoor museum exhibits and demonstrations about the early fur trade.
Off-Road Vehicle Area, 9412 N. Inland Road – All-terrain vehicle test drives, ride-alongs with expert ORV drivers and displays featuring ORV gear.
More information: riversidestatepark.org.
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.
RIVERS — In their fifth year, the Meet Me at the River trips sponsored by the Spokane River Forum are one of the best ideas ever floated to introduce people to the segments of the river that eventually cover all 112 miles from Lake Coeur d'Alene to the Columbia River.
These Eco Tours feature group trips in different river stretches. Local river outfitters provide the guides and boats appropriate to the section of river, whether they’re sit-on-top kayaks or rafts. Each trip includes people with expertise on a facet of the river to foster discussion.
The whitewater trips are limited to one weekend to take advantage of the best rafting conditions through the two stretches of the river prized for rapids.
Cost: $15 for Spokane River Forum members; $25 for non members.
Read on for the schedule:
PARKS — Washington State Parks officials have set meetings in Spokane to discuss potentially sweeping changes in management of facilities at Riverside and Mount Spokane.
The meetings will be at Spokane Public Library Shadle Branch, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave. as follows:
- Saturday, 3:30-5 p.m., specific to Riverside State Park.
- Monday, 6 p.m-7:30 p.m., for Mount Spokane State Park.
Similar meetings across the state will gather public opinion on whether the state parks system would be operated as a private enterprise based on profits generated at the sites or as a public conservation asset.
Other options include turning over more parks to local communities to operate as a non-profit attractions, officials said.
Officials also are asking the public to help them rank the top features of their state parks and what needs improvement, said Virginia Painter, parks spokeswoman in Olympia.
The cash-strapped parks system is trying to make a five-year management plan. The Washington Legislature had voted to wean the parks from all state general funding in the next few years.
Rangers and other staff positions at Riverside and Mount Spokane state parks were cut by 40 percent in Jaunary.
Click here for information about the planning effort and making comments.
RIVERS — Rivers around the region filled with runoff to flood stage on Saturday. The water got so high, even mountain bikers were impacted in Riverside State Park.
The photo was snapped Saturday by Spokane cyclist Daniel DeRuyter. He posed his bike where the rapidly rising Spokane River had inundated the trail in the Little Vietnam area on the south side of the river just downstream from the Bowl and Pitcher.
Said DeRuyter, “The alarming thing about this photo is that when I grabbed my bike to leave, the water had risen in level to touch my tires! Yikes.”
STATE PARKS — Volunteers are being sought to joine the advisory board for that supports Riverside State Park, a standout feature that flows through the city of Spokane. Currently there's a vacancy for a water sports representative.
“The State Park system depends heavily on volunteers to contribute time to preserve and enhance our parks,” said Ken Carmichael of the Riverside State Park Foundation, which was founded in 2001 along with the state park Advisory Board. “These two organizations work with each other and the park staff to further the goals of the park,” he said.
The Advisory Board consists of up to 15 interested citizens whose objectives are to provide advice to the Park Manager on any proposed park land classifications, new uses, programs and facilities, or modification or elimination of uses, programs and facilities.
Read on for more details.
Oh, wait. Never mind. This is in Louisiana.
PADDLING — A boat-load of fun is awaiting youngsters during a new free event that will let them paddle canoes, whiewater kayaks, sea kayaks, invlatable kayaks — as well as the latest rage: stand-up paddle boards.
Paddle, Splash and Play is set for on July 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Nine Mile Recreation Area in Riverside State Park downstream from Nine Mile Dam.
The equipment and assistance in using the boats will be provided by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, Mountain Gear and Spokane Parks and Recreation.
Visitors who have their own life jackets are encouraged to bring them, as there could be a shortage at times on site.
CURIOUS about Stand Up Paddling?
The photo above shows Rob Casey, author of “ Stand Up Paddling: Flatwater to Surf and Rivers,” recently published by Mountaineers Books.
PADDLING — The Little Spokane River's flows are still unseasonably high, but they've dropped to a pleasant level. I joined a group of canoeists Sunday at flows of 300 cfs and we effortlessly floated from St. George's School to the takeout near the confluence of the Spokane River in 2.5 hours — that includes a little slough exploring.
Some trees were down on the water, but we found big gaps and easy maneuvered past them.
Remember, Washington's new Discover Pass is required for parking at facilities along the Little Spokane River and other state park facilities.
The Little Spokane River is a natural area with additional rules beyond those at most state parks.
1. All use of the river must be by a device that keeps passengers out of the water. In other words, canoes, kayaks, and rafts are acceptable; inner-tubes, air mattresses, or swimming are not.
2. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Little Spokane.
3. Keep your pets elsewhere. They do not belong in the Little Spokane Natural Area.
4. Of course, please take home whatever you bring. Do not litter. Isn't that obvious?
5. Because it is a natural area, please do not disturb the wildlife in any way. Fishing is allowed (guess they aren't considered wildlife…) but not from shore.
6. Wear your personal floatation device at all times.
Don't have your own canoe or kayak? Here are sources for renting them:
- Mountain Gear, 325-9000.
- REI, 328-9900.
- Riverside State Park, (509) 465-5064.
LIVING HISTORY — Flint and steel firemaking, open-fire cooking, flintlock shooting and even a cannon salute will generate smoke and cheers at Riverside State Park this weekend.
The annual Fur Trade Encampment will return the Spokane House Interpretive site to the 1810-1825 period when traders, voyageurs, trappers and Indians gathered to do business and celebrate.
The free event runs Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,features history buffs in period clothing demonstrating period skills.
See the Friends of the Spokane House website for details.
Also this weekend: David Thompson Brigade offers chance to ride in voyageur canoes along Columbia River. Check it out here.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — I've had the pleasure of seeing snakes on at least a dozen of my area hikes in the last month. Most of them were large but harmless bull snakes — no rattles at the end of the tail — but three were rattlers, which also are mostly harmless unless you try to play with them.
I saw the bull snakes in Riverside State Park, the Centennial Trail, Little Spokane River, Fishtrap Lake and Hog Canyon Lake.
I came across the rattlesnakes along the Snake River and at Steamboat Rock State Park. One rattler at Escure Ranch had been killed. I prefer not to kill rattlesnakes. While poisonous if provoked, they do far more good than harm.
Bull snakes, also known as gopher snakes, are among the largest and most often seen snakes in this area. It's not unusual to see them sunning along the Centennial Trail, where I once saw a red-tailed hawk swoop down and fly away with a bull snake writhing it its talons.
An alarmed bull snake sometimes tries to take on a scary rattler persona by coiling and vibrating its tail. It can even make a bit of a rattling sound without a rattle. And it's especially scary when it starts hissing.
Bull snakes and rattlers alike eat large numbers of rodents, although they also take a small toll on ducklings.
STATE PARKS — Preliminary plans to thin some forest areas in Riverside State Park to reduce fire danger and the spread of bark beetle infestations will be presented at a public meeting tonight, 6 p.m., at the Shadle Park Public Library.
Park officials say the plans will be formalized before work would begin this fall and winter.
MOUNTAIN BIKING — A record 850 racers — solo and team relay riders — have signed up so far for this weekend's 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race in the Seven Mile airstrip area of Riverside State Park.
That means three or four times that many people will be camping out for the fat-tire overnight feast, party and spectacle, says organizer Wendy Zupan-Bailey of Round and Round Productions.
Participant Joe Geigle of the Spokane Mountaineers said it's difficult to sleep even for the relay team riders who have 4.5 hours of rest between laps.
I”t’s not just a race, it’s an event, a party, a sleepover,” said co-organizer Gino Lisiecki in a story I wrote earlier this month. “You have all of those racers, and they bring 3,000 of their friends for the campout. It’s a staycation for a lot of people.
“It’s huge,” Zupan-Bailey said.
“It’s the Woodstock of mountain biking,” Lisiecki said.
OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES — The weekend is packed with outdoor activities and educational programs scheduled in this area. Click for details.
STATE PARKS - Although Riverside State Park is a stunning gem of recreational opportunity along the Spokane River on the west side of Spokane, most people don't know half of what if offers.
That's why the Riverside State Park Foundation and park staff are inviting the public to sample more than a dozen organized activities at seven park venues during an ambitious free Experience Riverside State Park event Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The list of activities includes horse and pony rides, orienteering, fun run, guided bike rides and hikes, kayak and canoe rides, ATV rides, kids activities and fur-trader encampment tours.
Venues are the equestrian area, Bowl & Pitcher, military runway, ORV park, Spokane House, park headquarters and the Nine Mile Recreation Site.
Check out a map and complete list of activities.
If you're game for it all, you can get a punch card stamped at each site and be eligible for prizes.
The sites also will have educational opportunities, such as water safety tips, Centennial Tail information, and a look at proposed park renovation plans.