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

Local anglers Athearn, Mills win state award for Grand Ronde conservation purchase

Josh Mills, with the Wild Steelhead Coalition, stands along the Grande Ronde River in November 2019. In January 2020, the coalition purchased 8-acres of land with plans to donate that land to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  (Fay Mills)
Josh Mills, with the Wild Steelhead Coalition, stands along the Grande Ronde River in November 2019. In January 2020, the coalition purchased 8-acres of land with plans to donate that land to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Fay Mills)

Josh Mills, a Spokane board member of Wild Steelhead Coalition and Jim Athearn, a member of the Inland Empire Fly Fishing, received a Regional Director’s Award from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for helping purchase an 8-acre parcel featuring 2,000 feet of riverfront access.

The two shared the award alongside five WDFW employees: Chris Donley, Jerrod Ploof, Greg Heimgartner, Bob Dice and Jeremy Trump.

“This was a wonderful project exemplified by the broad regional support – 14 organizations and 48 individual contributors,” Athearn said in an email. “It is so nice to know that a part of the Grande Ronde River will forever remain accessible to the public.”

Last year, the Wild Steelhead Coalition purchased the 8-acre parcel featuring 2,000 feet of riverfront access. The undeveloped land, known as Turkey Run, is also adjacent to WDFW land already used by anglers and boaters. The land is about a mile upstream from the mouth of the Grande Ronde.

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