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

Getting There: Centennial Trail getting new mile markers after improved mapping

The 24-mile marker on the Centennial Trail is located in the Kendall Yards development, shown Friday. Cyclists and others that follow their progress on GPS have noted that many of the markers are slightly off their proper intervals.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVI)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

After decades of use, the Centennial Trail that runs from the Idaho/Washington state line to Nine Mile Falls was recently remeasured. That GPS mapping revealed that the trail is 40.1 miles long, not 39.2 miles, which will require the installation of new mile-marker signs.

“After three decades and so many projects and realignments, we figured it had changed,” said Loreen McFaul, executive director of the Friends of the Centennial Trail nonprofit.

Over the years the route of the trail has been changed a few times, including near the state line and where it runs through Riverfront Park. In addition, the trail that used to end by Sontag Park now ends at the Nine Mile Falls Recreation Area.

The trail is managed by Washington State Parks.

“The whole Centennial Trail is a state park, like Riverside or Mt. Spokane,” McFaul said.

The trail largely follows the Spokane River and passes by dozens of historically significant sites. There are multiple trailheads with parking lots along the route, allowing easy access for those who want to walk, run, bicycle or skate along the trail. The section of trail in Riverside State Park is also horse-friendly.

The trail is overseen by a Centennial Trail Coordinating Council that includes representatives from Spokane, Spokane Valley, Spokane County, Liberty Lake and Washington State Parks. For many years there was little money dedicated to help maintain the trail, McFaul said, but several years ago each jurisdiction through which the trail runs agreed to provide $20,000 a year for maintenance projects. In addition, Friends of the Centennial Trail raises money to pay for various projects.

The nonprofit group is using an estimated $12,000 in donated funds to pay for and install new mile markers along the entire length of the trail.

“The mile markers are moving about one-tenth of a mile to the east, essentially,” McFaul said.

The mile-marker signs and posts that currently line the trail will be removed rather than be reused, McFaul said.

“Most of them are rotten,” she said. “The wood is 30 years old. A lot of the signs are really, really faded. It’s time for a new start.”

The new posts and signs are currently being prepared, and McFaul said the goal is to install them before the snow flies. The project will start in Riverside State Park and work its way east.

The work will be done by State Parks employees and volunteers, McFaul said. “Our State Parks staff are amazing,” she said.

The Friends of the Centennial Trail is always looking for donations to help pay for projects to improve and repair the trail, McFaul said. While many local residents use the trail, not everyone helps support it, and that support is crucial, she said.

“It’s projects like this that let us reflect on 30 years of the Centennial Trail,” she said. “We need people who use and enjoy the trail to step up and support the trail.”

Work to watch for

Parking meters in Spokane do not need to be plugged Monday in observation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Boone Avenue will be closed between Washington and Howard streets Monday through Wednesday for work on the downtown stadium project.

In the county, County Homes Boulevard between Wall and Division streets will continue to have lane closures for the rest of the month for a paving and pedestrian improvement project.

Granite Lake Road from Betz to Salnave roads will have lane restrictions this week for a paving project.