TRAILS -- Routes that beckon and lead hikers, bikers, hunters and other recreationists to adventure remained underfunded in most of the region in 2016 with volunteer trying to pick up slack for decimated federal trail maintenance budgets.
However, there were highlights, such as the reopening of Oregon’s 41-mile Timberline Trail around Mount Hood after years of disrepair.
In the Spokane area, big improvements were made to trails at Liberty Lake County Park, Little Spokane River, Mount Spokane and Fishtrap Lake.
Scotchman Peak Trail 65 near Clark Fork, Idaho, was reopened after last year’s concerns with aggressive mountain goats, and volunteers re-routed the trail to eliminate steep, eroding sections.
Spokane County acquired 160 acres of ponderosa pine land in the Glenrose area as an addition to Dishman Hills Conservation Area. This advances the prospects for pursuing purchases and easements to create a public corridor –a.k.a. the Dream Trail –for human-powered recreation and wildlife from the Appleway area of Spokane Valley south to the Rocks of Sharon.
The Spokane River Centennial Trail was extended two miles northwest to the Nine Mile Recreation Area on Lake Spokane.
Promoters of a 25-mile bike and walking trail along the Pend Oreille River between Dover and Oldtown, Idaho, gained momentum by publishing design plans and studies. Construction of a first segment is set for 2017.
Meetings were held to consider turning a state-owned abandoned railway into an 18-mile rail trail between Colfax and Pullman.
Washington State Parks adopted a plan to develop (and rename) the John Wayne Pioneer Trail -- the portion of the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad corridor across Eastern Washington.
Trails led to wild experiences for many users, even on Spokane’s South Hill bluff, where hikers had encounters with a black bear and cub and dog-chasing coyotes.