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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

2019: Outdoor achievements

Aspens are beginning to show autumn colors this week as Meredith Heick treks the trails at Fishtrap Lake. With fall hunting seasons underway, she wears an orange vest for visibility.  RICH LANDERS PHOTO (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

From acts of physical bravery and endurance to committed volunteering, Spokane area recreationists, conservationists and adventures inspired in 2019.

Leading the list, as they often do, were volunteers.

Passionate individuals worked on trails on Mica Peak. Safety-conscious climbers replaced aging bolts in Riverside State Park. And conservation-minded advocates fought to protect wild and natural spaces near and far.

One exemplary effort?

Following years of planning and construction, two new nonmotorized trails at Fishtrap Lake Recreation Area were finished, fueled in part by 4,000 volunteer hours.

In Coeur d’Alene, a recreation-minded former Facebook engineer bought 100 acres on Canfield Mountain. Now, after some legal wrangling, a project to build hiking and biking trails on the land will continue.

In a feat of mental endurance and grit, then 60-year-old Craig Schwyn rode 2,745-miles in the Tour Divide race. He finished in July and averaged 106 miles a day.

That feat was followed by Lauren DeLand and Travis Nichols hiking the Continental Divide, despite deeper-than-normal snow packs and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Tri-Cities resident Ned Hastings jumped into the achievement fray when he spent 14 hours and 24 minutes swimming the length of Upper Priest Lake and Priest Lake.

And climbers Scott Coldiron and the late Jess Roskelley made the long list for one of the world’s most prestigious climbing awards for a climb they completed in Montana’s Cabinet Mountains.

Finally, Spokane conservation and recreation projects continued to find funding. With nearly $9 million in state money pouring into regional recreation and conservation projects over the next two years, Spokane’s outdoor opportunities continue to grow fueled by the passions of volunteers, conservation nonprofits and advocates alike.