Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 43° Cloudy

Down To Earth

Spokane River Forum: “Barker Road access now a dandy”

Our friends at the Spokane River Forum report The Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club partnered with the City of Spokane Valley to greatly improve the aesthetics and functionality of river access at Barker Road. As you may know, this has been a saga of epic proportions to get to this point.

The south side of the river at Barker Road was identified by Ecology as one of nine areas along the river  for improvement as a result of contaminants from historic mining practices in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Basin. The contaminants are heavy metals, include lead, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium. They washed downstream and settled in soil and sediments along certain beaches and the bed of the Spokane River. (Check the Spokane Riverkeeper's detailed account of Barker Road. He took the above photo in December 2010.)

From the Spokane River Forum:

The access point is at the northeast corner of the bridge. When the bridge was reopened last year, the access lane was steeper than anticipated and barren of vegetation. The club and city reduced the grade considerably, made the gravel path easier to navigate, and revegetated the area. Later this year, the Spokane River Forum will work with Riverside State Park to include an interpretive kiosk at this location.

Those trying to use this access can park their vehicles on the bridge or in the Centennial Trail parking lot on the south side. The bridge includes a pedestrian walkway and a parking lane.

In a related development, the Washington Department of Ecology has a capital budget request in  for a contaminated sediment capping project immediately upstream of the access area. Ecology expects to know if this budget request receives final approval by the end of June. If approved, this clean up effort will result in improvement to the river bank area that will be highly attractive to those seeking shoreline recreation and angling opportunities.

Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.