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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Wilderness groups rally volunteers for projects

TRAILS – Two friends groups are making it easy for volunteers to help improve access or restore habitat in three of the Inland Northwest's choice backcountry areas.

Friends of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness have a full schedule ranging from guided hikes to trail building northeast of Lake Pend Oreille.  

The Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation works to connect people with wilderness through stewardship activities, including a long list of volunteer projects ranging from controlling weeds to hosting fire lookout.

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.

Join the group to pick up Palisades Park

PUBLIC LANDS — Volunteers are invited to join Spokane's annual Palisades Park Cleanup Day set for 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday (April 27).

Palisades Park is 700-acre natural area behind the gate that blocks vehicle traffic from the old Rimrock Drive and the fabulous view over Spokane Falls Community College and the rest of Spokane.

Come wearing gloves and toting bags and tools for picking up litter and maintaining trails.

A new long-range project will kick off to recontour and revegitate the old sandpit area in heart of the park.

Carpool and meet at the intersection of Greenwood Road and Rimrock Drive to sign up.as we need a record of volunteers and to assist in letting volunteers know where help is needed,

Palisades map

The Pocket Guide to the Conservancy and Wildlife trails of Palisades Park is available for $3. Make check payable to Palisades. Send cash/check to: Palisades, W. 4625 Bonnie Dr, Spokane, WA 99224

Annual Washington coastal cleanup 30 tons of fun

PUBLIC LANDS – The annual volunteer cleanup of the Washington Coast, set for Saturday (April 20) is a remarkable success story.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed it Washington Coast Cleanup Day to help match last year's effort when more than 1,300 volunteers removed 30 tons of marine debris from Washington’s Pacific Ocean beaches.

Founding organizations for the annual Earth Day weekend cleanup include Washington State Parks and the Washington Clean Coast Alliance. The CoastSavers program of the Alliance organizes a major coastal cleanup each year around the time of Earth Day.

Last year, more than 1,300 volunteers removed 30 tons of marine debris from Washington’s Pacific Ocean beaches.

Looking for a beach party this weekend? Sign up on the CoastSavers web site.

Or just show up and sign in at state or national park ocean beach area.

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


Sign up incentive for Spokane River Clean up

RIVERS — The Spokane River Cleanup is set for Sept . 29.

The 10th annual event is likely to follow last year's footsteps with about 800 people picking up tons of trash based out of High Bridge Park, the University District and Spokane Valley.

Pre-register by 5 p.m. Monday (Sept. 17) to be get into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Mountain Gear.

Show leadership by volunteering as a team leader to help the event succeed. A meeting for team leaders is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at Mountain Gear Corporate Offices, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave.


Volunteers needed for trail work at area parks

TRAILS – Trails at Liberty Lake, Mount Spokane and the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge are scheduled for rerouting or maintenance projects by the Washington Trails Association in the next few weeks.

The most ambitious project involves work near a popular waterfall to make the Liberty Lake County Park natural area trail safer and more sustainable.

All of the work is done by volunteers led by trained WTA leaders. Some businesses, such as Itron, have encouraged employees to volunteer on specific days, said Jane Baker, WTA leader in Spokane.

Liberty Lake work dates are Sept. 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 27, 29 and Oct. 11, 13 and 14.

Mount Spokane projects are underway this weekend with more set for Sept. 15-16.

Little Pend Oreille Refuge work is set for Sept. 22-23.

Sign-up online  or call (206) 625-1367.

State Parks needs volunteer hosts

STATE PARKS —Volunteer hosts are being sought for some Washington State Parks, officials say.

The hosts greet visitors, assist park staff and perform a variety of duties in return free camping and hookups. Host assignments range from 30-90 days.

Details and host openings are online at www.parks.wa.gov/volunteers.

Info: (360) 902-8612; email Cindy.Jorgensen@parks.wa.gov.

Volunteers to give Dishman Hills some TLC on Saturday

CONSERVATION — Friends of the Dishman Hills Natural Area in Spokane Valley are welcoming all volunteers to the end of Summer National Public Land Day event to spruce up this popular urban 'wilderness.'
Meet Saturday, 9:30 a.m. at Camp Caro (parking off Appleway and Sargent Road).

Activities will concentrate within the DHNA itself and two other trailheads.

Items to bring:

  • Work Gloves
  • Water
  • Snacks (if desired as none has been allocated for this event)

Arrangements have been made between the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association and Spokane County Parks and Recreation for the bathrooms to be open on Saturday. Eat a good breakfast to get you through the morning, but there's a rumor that doughnuts will be availablefor volunteers in the morning upon arrival at Camp Caro.

Volunteers needed for September projects on local trails

TRAILS — Several local groups are joining the Washington Trails Association to upgrade Spokane-area trails this month. Most of the work parties are on weekends, but there's a project set for Thursday at Mount Spokane.

Read on to for details about all the September projects, including a major effort at the Iller Creek Conservation Area in Spokane Valley. 

Spokane-area trail work projects fall into place

VOLUNTEERING OUTDOORS — Helpers are needed for two reconstruction projects on popular trails near Spokane this month.

The Washington Trails Association is coordinating the work as follows:

Mount Spokane, Sept. 1 and 15 – the last of several Thursday work parties on re-routes of trails popular with hikers and equestrians.

Iller Creek, Sept. 17, 18, 24, 25 and Oct. 15-16 – Rerouting 1,000 feet of trail around a nasty steep rutted section in the prized Conservation Futures area on the east side of Tower Mountain.

The work qualifies toward credit for free Discover Passes, said local WTA trail work crew leader Jane Baker.

Sign up for the work parties online.

Volunteer for trail work from Liberty Lake to Salmo-Priest

PUBLIC LANDS – The Washington Trails Association once again is organizing projects to build or maintain popular non-motorized trails in northeastern Washington, from Spokane Valley to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.

The group projects range from one-day stints to week-long volunteer vacation projects that culminate in great accomplishments in spectacular areas.

Liberty Lake hiking trails are getting attention this month, starting with session on Saturday, followed by sessions May 12, 14 and 28.

Colville National Forest volunteer vacations to consider include:

Get information and sign up for these projects at www.wta.org


Lights, Camera, Community Action!

Spring is a time of renewal, reinvention, and reinspiration.  So my question is this: What have you done recently to serve your community?

It’s easy to forget about volunteerism as the weather warms up, school draws to a close, and spring sports seasons get fired up, but are those truly acceptable excuses?  Our communities, neighborhoods, and cities are crying out for help.  Let’s face it: There’s a ton of hurt in the world today.

Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,” and I can’t help but agree with him.  What are we contributing to if not to our own backyards—our sources of education, entertainment, empowerment, and VOICE?

Check out this other amazing quote from Charles F. Kettering, an inventor.  “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

Get inspired! Get out there and use your voice, talent, and heart to make those memorable changes you seek in the world, for the world has been waiting for you.

Charity-A-Day: Animal Charities

In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, here are some animal charities you may want to consider:  


The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a conservation organization that you’ve probably heard of. They work to conserve both endangered lands and animals. To help the WWF, you are given the opportunity to “adopt” an animal of a certain species, for $25, $50, or $100 (in return, you are given “gifts” such as a certificate, photo, or stuffed animal, depending on the amount of donation).


What would Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month be without The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)? The ASPCA is an organization dedicated to helping abused, unwanted, or neglected animals, and helping educate people on proper pet care.


Many of you have heard of SCRAPS animal shelter in Spokane. Since this is a local charity, you not only have the choice of donating money, but volunteering at the shelter as well (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t done it). SCRAPS often receives injured animals, but does not have a veterinarian on staff, so it relies completely on donations to treat the animals in its care. SCRAPS is also holding a Chocolate Festival & Auction on Friday the 17th, at at

Center Place
Mirabeau Point Place
. Tickets cost $20 (see the website for more information).    


Cat Tales is a local organization that takes in large cats (such as tigers and lions), as well as some bears. As far as I know, Cat Tales does not have volunteer opportunities (it’s not hard to figure out why they don’t want you walking the tigers), but they do offer opportunities to donate or “adopt” an animal of your choice.  


If you are interested in volunteering with animals, most of the local animal shelters, and many vet offices, offer volunteer opportunities. A simple phone call will be able to tell you whether they have openings available.  



Before you go out and donate, I really have to stress the importance of learning about the organization you plan to support. Sadly, there are some “charities” out there more focused on money than on helping out, and other organizations may support something you are passionate about, but may execute demonstrations, etc., in a way that you do not agree with. For instance, PETA supports ending cruelty to animals, but it also disagrees with the keeping of animals as pets, and would prefer to see an animal put to sleep rather than “enslaved.” Read this article to help you chose an animal charity.


Here is a list of more animal charities and organizations.