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Wednesday, May 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Centennial Trail adds more than just scenic value to Coeur d’Alene

North Idaho Centennial Trail (Centennial Trail Foundation Web site)
North Idaho Centennial Trail (Centennial Trail Foundation Web site)
By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

The numbers are in.

The North Idaho Centennial Trail attracts 417,118 users yearly and nearly $3 million in sales. This, according to an economic impact study chronicled by the Coeur d’Alene Press this week.

Supporters decided to put a price tag on the trail two years after a myopic county commissioner balked at spending $3,000 per year for maintenance to attract $2 million in federal funds. (In North Idaho, ideology often trumps common sense when it comes to dealing with the feds.)

Most people don’t need statistics to know the value of the North Idaho Centennial Trail.

But there was a time when reactionaries nearly scuttled the leg between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

In the Pinevilla subdivision, on the southeastern edge of Post Falls, frightened neighbors poured into a North Idaho College auditorium years ago to claim that a trail through their ’hood would attract child molesters and thieves on bikes from Spokane. They were joined by officials from a long-gone mill and a concrete company along Seltice Way who worried about mixing heavy trucks with trail users.

Such was the opposition to the trail that the late Frank Henderson, who was then serving on the county commission, proposed that organizers abandon their push for a land route. Rather, he said, they should embrace the Spokane River as a symbolic trail link between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

Fortunately, trail boosters, like former Coeur d’Alene Parks Director Doug Eastwood, brushed aside that idea and rerouted much of the trail between Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls along the freeway.

And the rest is history.

Best place – ever

Denizens of the Inland Northwest have looked on the bright side of bad weather for a long time. Case in point – this note in the weekly Coeur d’Alene Press 120 years ago, on June 17, 1899: “We may have an occasional late, wet and disagreeable spring in northern Idaho, such as the present, but we escape the horrors of the death-dealing cyclones of the Middle West, such as that reported from Wisconsin. Taking all things into consideration we doubt if there is a spot on the globe equal to northern Idaho and eastern Washington as habitation for the human family.” Bingo!


Poet’s corner: Endure today, for you can bet/ things aren’t as bad as they will get,/ nor will your troubles soon disperse:/ tomorrow will be even worse – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Carpe Diem for Pessimists”) … That complaint about the poor water pressure at the drinking fountains of the Coeur d’Alene Library didn’t fall on deaf ears. Not only did staff deal with the issue, but a note on the bulletin board next to the suggestion box said: “We’re looking into replacing at least one fountain to include a water bottle filler” … Dan Gookin, a mastermind behind those computer books “for Dummies,” plans to expand the franchise and tap into his experience as a Coeur d’Alene councilman. Look for “Running for Local Office for Dummies” at a bookstore near you this fall … Thought for the Day from Sgt. Paul Twidt of the Kellogg PD Roll Call Report: “Be Happy. Be Safe. Don’t steal things; it’s not nice” … Among the criteria that earned Sandpoint the top spot on’s list of “10 Trashiest Places in Idaho”: Residents are poorer than average. High number of dropouts. High drug use. And (drum roll, Puh-LEEZ) higher than average Payday Loan outlets. (But the view off City Beach is to die for).

Parting shot

You may be in “Keep Portland Weird,” Oregon, if advertising on four, adjacent egg cartons at the local Fred Meyer states: “Cage free, grain fed.” And: “Pasture Raised: Ethical Eggs for the Humane Race.” And: “Naturally Nested – No Steroids, No Hormones, No Stimulants. No Cages.” And: “Pasture Raised on Over 8 Acres.” And you thought all eggs were created equal. Tsk.

You can contact D.F. Oliveria at

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