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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Sports >  Outdoors

Take a hike, grab a shovel, join the group to Celebrate National Trails Day

Trails and the recreation they deliver will be in the spotlight as the Inland Northwest celebrates National Trails Day for much of the week.

Hiking, biking, equestrian and conservation groups will be putting trails to use as well as sprucing them up for others to enjoy.

Following is a sampling of trails-related activities, projects and issues, many of which will continue after this week and some of which are begging for more public involvement.

Beacon Hill’s future: Preview the map of existing and proposed trails when the Beacon Hill Trails System Draft Concept Plan is presented in a public open house meeting on Wednesday, 5-7 p.m. at REI, 1125 N. Monroe.

Three years of effort by landowners, city and county parks representatives, neighbors and trail users are bringing this remarkable trail system “above board” to become a permanent community asset, said Penny Schwyn, a Beacon Hill advisory group member and spokeswoman for the Fat Tire Trail Riders.

The trail system proposal connects adjoining neighborhoods with links to five parks. Critical to the entire plan is cooperation the project has had from participating private landowners, she said.

A grant from the National Park Service and other organizations helped fund the planning.

Info: Mike Aho, e-mail, or Penny Schwyn, 448-0346, e-mail

Wilderness program: A free slide show, “Our Wilderness: America’s Common Ground,” will be presented by long-time wilderness spark plug Doug Scott on Friday, 6:30 p.m., at the Riverside State Park kitchen shelter. Seating is limited.

RSVP for details: 747-1663, e-mail

Iller Creek unveiling: Local volunteers working Saturday and next Sunday with the Washington Trails Association plan to put the finishing touches on a new trail segment in the Iller Creek Conservation Futures Area off Dishman-Mica Road near Tower Mountain.

Since September, more than 70 people have volunteered in eight work parties to reroute a steep, old, eroded segment with a mile of well-planned trail, said Jane Baker, WTA organizer.

The work hasn’t been obvious to most trail users, she said, but after this weekend, the new segment should be linked into existing trails for everyone to enjoy.

Volunteers must preregister online at . Click on volunteer/trail work parties.

More work parties: Several other area groups are inviting volunteers to roll up their sleeves and improve trails next week. Here’s a sampling, including outings by Backcountry Horsemen (BCH) chapters that contribute many hundreds of hours of service to trails each year.

•Fish Lake Trail fourth annual service project, organized for Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon by REI and the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition.

This year’s project will focus on improving the Scribner Road trailhead, trimming vegetation and controlling noxious weeds.

This work will complement major construction to start in June funded by economic stimulus funds.

Preregister for the work party and get details online:

•Ferry County BCH will be hiking and packing to improve up to 5 miles of the Edds Mountain Trail in the Colville National Forest on Saturday.

Preregister: (509) 775-9998 or e-mail

•Inland Empire Chapter BCH, which has already been to Liberty Lake County Park and Priest Lake this spring, will devote Saturday to making trail improvements at the Otis Orchards-area’s Antoine Peak, one of the latest natural area jewels secured by the Conservation Futures program.

Preregister: Bob Spickard, (509) 953-8485.

Sandpoint celebration: A long list of options awaits non-motorized trail advocates in Bonner County on Saturday, starting with a 9 a.m.-1 p.m. gathering at Pend d’Oreille Winery to share information about summer trail hikes, bike rides and trail building opportunities.

In the afternoon, participants can join outings or volunteer for a Forest Service trail maintenance project on Gold Hill.

Saturday outings include a native plant walk, a bike ride over Long Bridge and a four-mile sunset/moon-rise hike.

Sunday outings include a strenuous hike up Scotchman Peak.

See the complete list online: or

CdA trail resources: Just published, the “2009 Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes Unofficial Guidebook” is available for $9.95 at Auntie’s Book Store, businesses along the trail or online, .

The guide has good directions to 19 trailheads along the 72-mile rail-trail from Plummer to Mullan. Perhaps more important, it highlights the many services along and just off the route and answers frequently asked questions.

The map in the guidebook lacks detail. However, excellent maps are available free online at .

Spokane walking maps: A free pamphlet of maps featuring eight routes around Spokane, including downtown and neighborhoods, will be available free at city and county libraries starting Saturday.

Some of the maps also are online at

The goal is to help people, including those with sedentary tendencies, to become more active and reduce health problems, including obesity, said Heleen Dewey, spokeswoman for the Spokane County Health District.

The maps highlight useful sidelights, such as playgrounds, to help families get out on their feet.

“When you’re with children, it’s good to have a destination,” Dewey said. “My new thing is to say, ‘I’m going out to walk the kids.’ ”

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