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Huckleberries: After 30 years, Centennial Trail supporters finally achieve goal

A bicyclist rides along busy Seltice Way in 2014. A 3-mile reconstruction of the roadway will include dedicated bike lanes and two roundabouts. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
A bicyclist rides along busy Seltice Way in 2014. A 3-mile reconstruction of the roadway will include dedicated bike lanes and two roundabouts. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

It took 30 years to overcome the resistance to a North Idaho Centennial Trail along the south side of Seltice Way, entering Coeur d’Alene. But a shared-use trail is about to become a reality as part of a three-mile road reconstruction that starts this spring.

Landscape architect Jon Mueller reminded Huckleberries of the fierce opposition that trail supporters encountered from four industrial companies along Seltice Way, from Huetter to Coeur d’Alene.

In the late 1980s, trail backers faced two pockets of organized hostility as they tried to link Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls – Pinevilla residents in Post Falls who feared that Spokane hell-raisers on bicycles would rape and pillage them (seriously), and the industrial row, east of Huetter. The row consisted of Idaho Forest Industries, WI Forest Products (current site of Riverstone), Central Pre-Mix and DAW (Huetter). Representatives from those companies feared that trucks driving in and out of their yards would run over a trail user.

Huckleberries remembers the late Frank Henderson, during his days as a county commissioner, trying to soothe the Pinevilla residents and Industrial Row. Henderson proposed that the Spokane River be designated as a symbolic Centennial Trail, connecting Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene – and everyone could forget about a real path. Fortunately, trail boosters persisted – and an off-road portion of the North Idaho Centennial Trail now runs to the north along Interstate 90.

The funny thing? The Industrial Row is gone. And the trail has become a major hit on both sides of the state line. As boosters predicted long ago.

Right perspective

Some of you know that William Tecumseh Sherman uttered the famous quote: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” The famous Civil War general was addressing speculation that he would be a presidential candidate in 1884. But there’s another quote written by Sherman that didn’t get widespread play because, well, it referred to the general’s love for Lake Coeur d’Alene. Jon Mueller, who is mentioned above, found it while researching historic documents for his history book on Coeur d’Alene’s City Park, which will be released this spring.

In an 1883 letter to his wife, Sherman wrote: “I would rather have a tent on the banks of Coeur d’Alene (Lake) than to reside in the White House.” Now, there’s an old warrior who had his priorities straight.


Poet’s Corner: “As heavy snow melts away, /Exposing the grass so bent. /It soon becomes crystal clear, /Where all of the dog food went” – Remember The Bard

… It’s not every day that one of our Huckleberry Friends hangs out with a Olympic gold medalist, like British long-distance runner Mo Farah. But Lisa Wood Hunt of Coeur d’Alene did. OK, mebbe “hangin’ out” is a bit exaggerated. Lisa, a ha-huge Olympics fan, was standing in the same Starbucks line at the Seattle airport. And she assures her Facebook friends: “He does look fast!”

A Bad Sign: Just when David Keyes of Sandpoint was beginning to feel well enough to start working out again, his Fitbit prompted: “I thought you were dead.” Ouch!

Parting Shot

Count Howard Martinson of Coeur d’Alene among the many former patients who praise Brooke Stocker’s nursing ability as well as her acting. Brooke, as SR columnist Doug Clark pointed out recently, is half of the acting team for those swell Northern Qwest commercials. Howard met her while re-habbing: “I was so lucky last year, while hospitalized, that Brooke was my nurse one day. She’s a competent, caring nurse, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. How terrific it is that a really great person is having success with a second career in the public spotlight. Go Brooke Go!” Bingo.