Several wildlife advocate groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday to ensure that the U.S. Forest Service protects endangered gray wolves in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington where livestock ranching activities have contributed to conflict.
The plaintiffs were the WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project and Kettle Range Conservation Group. They contend negligence on the part of the federal agency has resulted in the deaths of 26 wolves since 2012, including the total destruction of both the Profanity Peak Pack and the Old Profanity Territory Pack.
The lawsuit challenges the Forest Service’s revised Colville National Forest Plan for failing to evaluate how the agency’s federally permitted livestock grazing program adversely affects wolves – a species eradicated from most of the contiguous United States by the 1920s.
The groups are also challenging the Forest Service’s approval of cattle grazing for Diamond M Ranch, which is responsible for the majority of wolf deaths on the Colville National Forest since 2012, without requiring any measures to prevent these wolf-livestock conflicts from recurring.
According to the complaint, in its newly revised Forest Plan, adopted in October 2019, the Colville National Forest failed to even acknowledge the gray wolf’s return to the region, yet the plan sets management directives for livestock grazing, wildlife and other uses across all the forest’s 1.1 million-acres for the next 15 to 30 years.
Spokane River Forum announces cleanup
The Spokane River Forum announced last week a series of cleanup details, called “Get Up Get Out,” to inspire volunteers to help organizers provide safe and clean recreational opportunities for all.
If interested, visit www.spokaneriver.net/getupgetout to sign-up.
On the site, you’ll find three clean up options to choose from:
- Five public cleanup dates;
- A private cleanup date for your group;
- A Do It Yourself (DIY) cleanup.
In partnership with Spokane Riverkeeper, “Get Up Get Out” is custom designed to meet river cleanup needs, conform with social distancing requirements, and give folks some outdoor joy after a very cooped-up spring.
For any option, Spokane River Forum will provide supplies and the level of logistical assistance needed.
Post Street Bridge renovation and detours
Starting Wednesday the city of Spokane began the replacement of Post Street Bridge at Mile 22 of the Spokane River Centennial Trail in downtown. The project is designed to keep the bridge’s concrete arches and retain its historic look. When complete, the bridge will have one northbound lane for vehicle traffic as well as Centennial Trail pedestrian and bicycle access.
For the next two years, the Centennial Trail will detour between the Howard Street Promenade in Riverfront Park and Bridge Avenue, at Mile Marker 23, just east of Veteran’s Park at the Monroe Street Bridge.
Volunteers needed for North Idaho trail projects
The nonprofit organization Idaho Trails Association is looking for hikers interested in helping on one-day, weekend and week-long projects throughout the summer to maintain trails in North Idaho.
No experience is needed to participate, and hikers of all levels are encouraged to join. All tools and training will be provided at the start of the trip.
ITA has 14 projects scheduled in the North Idaho region for summer 2020. Here are three upcoming projects:
- East Fork Boulder Creek, June 20: East of Bonners Ferry, this one-day trip starts near a historic “ghost town”, travels through beautiful forest and ends near the alpine, rocky summit of Middle Mountain. Work will include brushing, water diversion and some tread work.
- Long Canyon, July 6-11: A six-day backpacking trail project in the wildest canyon in northern Idaho. Hike in about six miles over Pyramid Pass and work the upper end of this remote and scenic trail. We’ll camp right by the creek and do tread work, brushing and drainage improvement. We’ll work with a great Forest Service trail crew.
- Blacktail Lake-Women’s Only Weekend, Aug. 22-23: On this WOW Weekend, there will be brushing, drainage and tread work on this 3-mile trail to beautiful Blacktail Lake.
To sign up for these projects and see the rest of ITA’s North Idaho schedule, visit https://www.idahotrailsassociation.org/upcoming-projects.
Rail trail reopened along Kettle River
Ferry County Rail Trail Partners have announced that six miles of the Kettle River section of trail has been reopened to the public.
Last month’s storms combined with spring runoff washed out a section of the trail 1.5 miles north of the Curlew Trailhead at West Deer Creek.
Volunteers were able to save the temporary bridge when the creek blew out its banks, but that also meant there was no way for trail users to access the part of the trail that leads to the tunnel.
Stotts Construction helped with emergency repairs to the riverbank and stream channel. With water receding last week, volunteers were able to reset the temporary bridge.
Last month, project manager Keith Bell oversaw the trail group’s surface reconditioning efforts that included rolling six miles of the Curlew Lake segment and another 7 miles from the Curlew School north along the Kettle River to Hurlburt Rd.
The trail is still impassable at Lone Ranch Creek due to a washout, but the group is working on fixing that in July with a new bridge deck.
Know before you go:
- There are vault toilets on the 6-mile Curlew Lake section at the Blacks Beach and Kiwanis Trailheads.
- On Tuesday there will be a sani-can at the Curlew Trailhead.
- The temporary bridge at West Deer Creek is not ADA compliant and has a weight limit of 400 pounds. Please dismount and walk your bike.
- Segments of the Ferry County Rail Trail remain closed at the following locations due to washouts: Kiwanis Trailhead to Tucker Road; Empire Creek Road to Lundimo Meadows Road; and Hurlburt Road to Lone Ranch Road. These trail segments will be reopened as soon as conditions are safe.
- Check the trail website and Facebook for conditions and updates at
Klickitat River returns to permanent rules
Effective Friday, the adult salmon daily limits at the Klickitat River fishery as described in the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet were restored, while all other permanent rules remain in effect.
The adult salmon daily limit on the Klickitat River was reduced earlier in the year to help ensure the spring Chinook broodstock collection goal was achieved.
Fishery co-managers have determined that the broodstock collection goal is likely to be met, therefore a reduced daily limit for adult Chinook is no longer needed.
For more information contact Matt Gardner, District Fish Biologist, (360) 906-6746.
Spokane County Parks opens new trailhead cam
Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf announced last week it went live with a new trailhead camera at the James T. Slavin Conservation Area.
The trailhead cams provide real-time information about how many folks are utilizing the facilities.
The county parks website has five active cams in use: Antoine Peak Conservation Area (West), Dishman Hills-Glenrose Unit, Dishman Hills-Iller Creek Unit, Dishman Hills-Stevens Creek and Slavin. Visit https://www.spokanecounty.org/4214/Trailhead-Web-Cams.
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