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

2020: Outdoor achievements

Merganser mayhem ensues as eagles swoop into the feeding flock hoping for breakfast, sending everyone flying.  (Angela Marie/courtesy)
Merganser mayhem ensues as eagles swoop into the feeding flock hoping for breakfast, sending everyone flying. (Angela Marie/courtesy)

From acts of physical bravery and endurance to committed volunteering, Spokane-area recreationists, conservationists and adventurers provided inspiration in 2020.

Two Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees, Eric Braaten and Aulin Smith, rescued a dog from icy Banks Lake in January.

Josh Mills auctioned flies on his Instagram to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. When he read accounts of Australia’s massive brush fires in January, he “(got) the band back together.”

When Wanda Clifford first started at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council three decades ago, it was “definitely an old boys club.” Now, upon her retirement in March after 13 years as INWC’s executive director, it’s a club for everybody and anybody.

On the one-year anniversary of Spokane climber Jess Roskelley’s death in the Canadian Rockies in April, family and friends hoped the foundation in his name would promote public outdoor projects in Spokane and the region.

Hikers and climbers at Big Rock in the Dishman Hills came across an infuriating sight in early May: graffiti plastered across the southern and northeastern faces of the iconic rock. An active and vigilant group of volunteers led by George Hughbanks pounced on the problem.

Washingtonians stepped up to help their neighbors during the pandemic. Seattle’s Thurston Weaver completed a 350-mile hike across the state and through Spokane in May to raise $20,000 for food assistance for families.

IDFG senior conservation officer Michael Wampler was getting ready to shut down his patrol vehicle after a long day of bear hunter patrol on June 7 when he heard a call generated from an Idaho State Police emergency call box near Wilderness Gateway on the Lochsa River. He followed his instincts to save a lost hiker.

Outdoor journalist Kris Millgate spent a decade in TV news, but her latest project kept her on the roads – and streams – of the Pacific Northwest all summer long following spawning salmon.

Jason Hershey has brought the SUP skills he learned nearly 25 years ago with the pioneers of the sport from Hawaii to Lake Pend Oreille.  (Courtesy)
Jason Hershey has brought the SUP skills he learned nearly 25 years ago with the pioneers of the sport from Hawaii to Lake Pend Oreille. (Courtesy)

A 31-mile water route up Lake Pend Oreille stood out to stand-up paddleboarder Jason Hershey as a challenge reminiscent of the Hawaiian Islands where he used to live, work and play.

Needing a breath of fresh air from the confines of COVID-19 concerns and widowhood, a Spokane grandma made a solo break away on her bicycle in August. “I had an itch, so I scratched it,” Sharlene Lundal said.

The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council partnered with the WDFW and the Colville National Forest, as well as Hancock Forest Management, in August to ensure that everyone who wants to hunt can do so via accessible wildlife viewing blinds.

Throughout September, Oregon’s Doug Peterson biked from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, a distance of 1,472 miles, turning a rediscovered passion for cycling into a charity ride to raise money and awareness for National Suicide Prevention Month.

The north Spokane recreation area commonly referred to as Waikiki Springs nearly doubled in size this fall as Inland Northwest Land Conservancy announced the purchase of a 95-acre parcel of land adjacent to existing 114-acre WDFW property along the Little Spokane River.

Lindell Haggin, a 50-year member of the Spokane Audubon chapter and longtime board treasurer, was honored among 25 state chapters with Audubon Washington’s 2020 Helen Engle Volunteer of the Year Award in October.

It’s likely you don’t know Paul Knowles, but you almost certainly know his work. Over the past decade, the 38-year-old Spokane transplant has been a key force behind the region’s growing trail and green space portfolio. He was named the Northwest Land Conservancy’s 2020 Hero in November.

Nearly every morning for the past six months, Angela Marie has woken before dawn, picked up a camera and bounded outside. For the amateur nature photographer, the early routine has provided a creative foundation on which to cling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Keller started hunting in 1967 but had never shot a big bull elk. The 84-year-old Clarkston man finally got the chance late in the year when he drew a quality elk tag in the Couse Game Management Unit near Anatone after 14 years of trying.

Angela Schneider, who writes a monthly column about hiking with dogs for The Spokesman-Review, in December was named a finalist in four categories of the national Dog Writers Association of America writing competition.

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