Hundreds of people in shorts, bathing suits and sandals, shivering and and their teeth chattering in below-freezing temperatures, then willfully sprinting into the frigid waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Yep, it’s the Coeur d’Alene Polar Bear Plunge.
Coeur d’Alene lawyer Scott Reed, whose long career was highlighted by cases to protect natural areas from development and maintain public access to places like Tubbs Hill and Sanders Beach, died Saturday night at home. He was 87. Reed had retired in the past year after nearly 60 years as an attorney and advocate for environmental causes.
Never an imposing man, Scott Reed has nonetheless transformed his appearance into a mountain of trouble for opponents on scores of environmental issues. The 84-year-old lawyer came to Coeur d’Alene to argue those causes before he had case law of the Environmental Protection Act to back him up. He’s been a thorn in the side of homeowners who would deprive the public the use of Sanders Beach, and he’s written a book about the preservation of one of Coeur d’Alene’s greatest features, Tubbs Hill.
Every January 1st, hundreds trek down to Sanders Beach on Lake Coeur d'Alene to take part in a tradition called the Polar Bear Plunge. Although this year there were vendors selling t-shirts and other trinkets, the event is still informally organized and has not sign-ups or registration. Just come, strip down to swimwear and jump in to welcome the new year. But question still remains, why do they do it?
No docks will be built on Sanders Beach. That’s part of the resolution of six lawsuits dating back to 1998 between the city of Coeur d’Alene and the owners of eight homes on a Lake Coeur d’Alene beach that also offers public access.
No docks will be built on Sanders Beach.
That’s part of the resolution of six lawsuits dating back to 1998 between the city of Coeur d’Alene and the owners of eight homes on a Lake Coeur d’Alene beach that also offers public access.
“For the first time, there’s some certainty among the homeowners and the public about public access on Sanders Beach,” said Mike Haman, an attorney for the city. “That’s important because summer is coming and the public will know what they can and can’t do.”