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

A busy season of trail work and maintenance is coming to a close in the Spokane area

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 31, 2018

Washington Trail Association volunteers gathered June 3, 2018, to begin building a network of trails on Mica Peak. Spokane County purchased the 911 acres in 2013. Now volunteers have started building single-track trails that will eventually connect several old logging roads. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington Trail Association volunteers gathered June 3, 2018, to begin building a network of trails on Mica Peak. Spokane County purchased the 911 acres in 2013. Now volunteers have started building single-track trails that will eventually connect several old logging roads. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

A busy season of trail work and maintenance is coming to a close in the Spokane area.

Volunteers from the Spokane Mountaineers and the Washington Trails Association logged thousands of hours wielding Pulaskis, moving rocks and clearing underbrush, all for our trail enjoyment.

Holly Weiler, WTA’s regional trail manager, said volunteers for WTA contributed more than 1,000 hours.

Many of those hours were spent working on the Mica Peak trail, Weiler said. Although far from finished, she said volunteers have made good progress on the planned trail.

“We must be getting pretty close to a half mile now. But I think we have a mile and half that we’re supposed to be doing,” Weiler said. “It seems like it’s going a little bit faster now, though, because the upper section was very, very rocky terrain.”

WTA volunteers worked on other trails throughout the region.

Starting in March, volunteers worked at the Fishtrap Trail loop. About 80 percent complete, that trail will be 8 miles long when finished and connect with the Hog Canyon trail system, Weiler said.

In April, WTA volunteers headed for the Blue Mountains for an overnight work party. They did maintenance work on the Rattlesnake Trail and the Panjab Trail connection to the Mount Misery trail network.

Also in April, WTA volunteers worked at the Antoine Peak trail. They finished a bypass trail there, Weiler said. The bypass takes hikers away from the communication towers.

“So there is a bypass trail for the summit now,” Weiler said. “On a clear day, you can actually see Steptoe Butte. It provides some really interesting views that you didn’t have before.”

In May, WTA had a work party at Iller Creek doing annual maintenance work, a work day at Liberty Lake and on Mount Spokane. WTA volunteers worked on Trail 130 doing maintenance work from Saddle Junction to Day Mountain.

Also in May, volunteers worked at the Manresa Grotto on the Kalispel Reservation. The grotto is a sacred area for the Kalispel Tribe. Although the trail itself is short, less than one-fourth mile, it’s steep, Weiler said. Volunteers hauled rocks up the hill to fight erosion caused by water coming out of the cave.

“I was putting in 6 to 8 miles a day walking up the hillside,” Weiler said.

June and July were dominated by work at Mica Peak. In August, volunteers headed to the Shedroof Divide. The heat and smoke delayed some planned trail work.

September brought volunteers back to Liberty Lake trail network, where they worked on the bridge spanning the Liberty Lake creek. The bridge is not complete.

More work was done at Mica Peak in October. The final scheduled WTA work party is on Nov. 13 at Mica Peak.

The other main trail building force in the Spokane area is the Spokane Mountaineers.

The mountaineer’s pre-eminent project this season was the Vision Quest trail near Newman Lake, said Lynn Smith, who helps coordinate volunteer trail work. That 1.5-mile long trail was finished in the spring.

The mountaineers also did maintenance work at Stevens Lakes on the Idaho and Montana border and did general maintenance at Riverside State Park in the summer.

In the fall, they headed to Idaho and did work on the Crystal Lake trail near Cataldo.

Smith said more than 80 volunteers gave 1,400 hours of their time working on trails throughout the season.

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