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  • To preserve and sustain the unique character of the Little Spokane River Valley, including it's open space and natural setting.
  • To maintain lower density zoning.
  • To protect the area's ecosystem including water quality, wetlands, priority habitat and wildlife, and dwindling native vegetation.
  • To encourage the development of area parks and natural areas.
  • To educate public officials of the concerns of the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley, and be pro-active when major issues are at the forefront.

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    Welcome to the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

    "Don't tell my wife about this!"
    by Tina Wynecoop
    This summer I read with interest a report by Jim Camden in The Spokesman Review about a jet plane crash in the Colville National Forest in 1955. His article reminded me of a similar 1955 jet plane crash in the Little Spokane River Valley. I had interviewed life-long local residents Dan Forsyth and Jim Pounder about the event. Here is the account I wrote for our January 2011 FLSRV newsletter under the heading 'Plane Crash':

    I didn't find a written record of the 1950's Navy jet trainer plane that crashed into a rocky hillside upslope from the Little Spokane River between Midway and Riverview Roads, The vivid memories of young boys and a twisted piece of metal suffice as proof that it happened. Early one morning c.1954 Jim was awakened from where he slept outside in the family's sleeping porch, by the sound of a plane coming in low from the east over the little town of Colbert.
    It crashed near the Hotchkiss place. 'The jolt felt just like an earthquake.'

    The plane's hydraulics had failed and the pilot bailed out somewhere near Hilltop Road not far from Highway 2. All that was left of the plane was a smoking hole and a few fragments. The military brass rolled in and had the crash site fenced off. Dan recalls hearing sirens and seeing all the airplanes buzzing around after the crash. He and Jim remember that the pilot suffered a leg injury and was found limping along the road. Dan stated, 'I have a piece of the plane which I collected from the crash site' all we were told was to show what we found to the person in charge and ask if it was something we could keep. I have that metal in a drawer somewhere.'

    I forwarded my article to reporter Camden. In return he sent me a 1955 newspaper copy about this Little Spokane crash. Details about both crashes are strikingly similar. In the span of a few months, two jets malfunction, both pilots eject, parachutes meet conifers in remote terrain, and bravery, grit and survival trump the disaster of two flights gone awry.

    First, a synopsis of Camden's article, 'Forest Service, Fairchild Solve Mystery of Plane Crash Discovered in the Colville National Forest,' (July 25, 2016): 'Retired Major Charles Seeley was in a controlled dive in his F-86A Sabre jet (48-292N) at about 21,000 feet altitude. His plane began rolling out of control and he ejected from it on one of the coldest March 23 days on record (1955). The pilot walked away from the wreckage and made it to a logging road he had noticed as his parachute floated down into the forest and caught in a tree. The ground was covered in three feet of snow and he wasn't wearing winter gear. A logger picked him up and drove him to a branch road where a dozer operator transported Seeley to Newport.

    Many years later and quite by happenstance the plane was relocated in a remote area south of Ione, WA in 2014. The wreckage had been there long enough for trees to grow around and through it. Forest Service records had no mention of a military plane crash. Following the accident the Air Force convened an investigation and concluded that pilot Seeley had done everything possible to recover from the out-of-control spin and stayed with his aircraft as long as possible. The investigation showed there were short-circuits in some of the aileron switches in the cockpit.'

    Following is the newspaper account of the memorable jet crash in the Little Spokane River Valley, published in The Spokane Daily Chronicle (August 24, 1955) with its front page headline: 'Plane Burns.' The caption accompanying the event's photographs stated: 'A Spokane rug cleaner who flies jet fighter planes as a Marine Corps reserve captain was injured today when he bailed out of his disabled plane near Colbert.' Here is the abbreviated version from the article: 'Captain N. C. Christensen, N5627 Forest Blvd., was flying in formation in his F9F- 6 Cougar jet when the ship's hydraulic control system failed. Christensen ejected upside down in the plane's catapult seat at about 12,000 feet altitude about 3/4 of a mile east of the town of Colbert.' With a possible broken leg and bruises on the face, and partially coherent, he told the ambulance crew, 'Don't tell my wife about this' as he was transported to the Air Force base hospital at Fairchild.

    According to the article his parachute had caught in pine trees and farmers got him down. Someone kept the chute as a prize. The pilotless plane continued west and crashed and burned on the Roy [and Charmaine] Hotchkiss farm [near Riverview Road between Midway and Colbert Roads]. There were eyewitnesses: Mrs. Jerry Sherred said she saw the parachute float over her chicken coop and called the Washington State Patrol. One of the other pilots in the formation radioed for help. That same morning Ed Molander was walking out his driveway to Little Spokane Drive to get his newspaper when the disabled jet flew right over his head. Literally. He dropped to the ground. He thought he was going to be hit -- it came in so low. It crashed about 500 yards beyond him. The plane hit a tall pine tree and broke its trunk off. The jet plummeted straight into the ground, creating a deep crater and setting the grasses on fire. Mr. Molander's upstream neighbor, and Dan Forthyth's aunt, Echo Fuson, witnessed the aftermath from her front yard. (She was the one who acquired the two small pieces of the jet and wrote the note shown in the photographs.)

    After the investigations were completed they were followed by truck-loads of dirt which were dumped into the crater. 'The investigators cleaned up what they wanted. I don't know if they buried much of the plane in the hole or just filled the hole,' says Dan Forsyth, and he added, 'The plane crash was a big deal in our neighborhood.' Dan and I walked to Molander's old driveway and I got goose bumps standing near the spot where the plane that nearly swiped the hat off Ed Molander's head had passed over. Dan held his arms out to show me the trajectory of the pilotless plane. He made it a reality. He said, 'It was a pretty big event. There were a lot of people in the valley who were wandering around in that field the first day. My brother says the military had control of the area the second day and by then you couldn't just walk in and inspect the disaster for yourself.

    My family moved to the LSR valley in 1976. Several years later we heard vague stories about this far from the edge of the basalt cliff on the east side of our property. Our house and yard are situated directly above and west of the Hotchkiss place where there was a small airstrip carved in the field. Occasionally a small plane would come and go and on its takeoff it would become airborne and emerge seemingly and magically out of nowhere above our cliff. Perhaps these flights impressed our two little boys to become pilots. I don't know for sure but there is a possible connection, since both are pilots and one of them would transport skydivers above our home and the Little Spokane River Valley. Up and up he would take them until the plane became a mere speck and then a dozen more 'mere specks' hanging from parachutes would float gently down in plain view. Goose bumps, again!
    :: Annual FLRSV Meeting
    :: Membership
    :: Water Quality
    by Lindell Haggin
    :: What’s Happening on the Middle of The Little Spokane River?
    by Daniel Collins
    :: 2018 Fairwood District Farmers Market
    :: Valley Cleanup 2018
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: What We Accomplished Together in 2017
    We are honored that you support the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley. Your donations, membership, sweat equity and enthusiasm have brought us a long way over the last two decades.
    :: Membership
    :: School Bond Vote
    :: In Memoriam - Harold Balazs
    :: New Board Position
    :: Valley Cleanup 2018
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: School Time
    :: Walking to School is a Smart Choice
    Spokesman-Review article. September 1, 2017 Reprinted by permission.
    :: Seeing Red Over Dog Poop? Oregon Town Paints it Orange
    Spokesman-Review article. October 13, 2015 Reprinted by permission. Originally published July 28, 2011 The Bellingham Herald
    :: Local, Family-Owned Landmarks: Pounder’s and Pattison’s
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: 2018 Annual Meeting
    Friday, February 23, 2018
    :: Mark Case
    New Board Member
    :: A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change by Eileen Pearkes
    Reviewed by Jack Nisbet
    :: Living Water: Salmon's Presence
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Earth Day Clean-Up of Our Valley 2017
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Thanks Be to the Decorator!
    :: October Board Meeting
    by Harla Jean Biever
    :: Sign Up for Amazon Smile
    :: Colbert Road Trail
    by Mark Case
    :: In Memoriam - Daniel Eugene Forsyth
    :: Annual Meeting 2017
    :: Valley Cleanup 2017
    :: Land Along the Little Spokane River
    Report from Fairwood Community Leaders
    :: Membership
    :: Threads of Red
    Tina Wynecoop
    :: New Bench
    Kirk Neuman
    :: Registration for Tour and Field Trip
    Friday, February 24, 2017 -- Wandermere Golf Club
    Saturday, April 22, 2017
    :: Valley Cleanup Report - 2016
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Membership
    :: Conservation Future Nomination
    Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
    :: Annual Meeting - 2016
    :: Valley Cleanup 2016
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: List of resources re: Salmon/Upper Columbia River Basin:
    :: Warning to Pet Owners
    By Erin Kennedy, DVM
    :: 2015 Fairwood District Farmers Market
    Hosted by Allen Family Properties
    :: Valley Cleanup
    By Michael Kennedy
    :: 2015 Annual Meeting
    :: Proposed New Housing Development
    By Jennifer Mudge
    :: Pine River Park Neighborhood Entrance Will Be Getting a New Look
    :: Rehab Cleanup Signs -- Volunteers Needed
    By Michael Kennedy
    :: Jack Nisbet Saltese Uplands Field Trip Coming May 2, 2015
    Mark Your Calendar!
    :: Wildlife Highway
    By Jack and Ro Bury
    :: Pioneer of Our Valley
    By Dana Davis Kelly
    :: Where a Wind Blew . . .
    By Harla Jean Biever New Hope Resource Center Board Member
    :: Membership Renewal
    :: Drama on the Little Spokane
    By Lindell Haggin
    :: Remembering
    :: Board Member Michael Kennedy
    :: What Was In Grandpas Trunk
    By Harla Jean Heiser Biever
    :: Annual Meeting
    :: Valley Cleanup 2014
    By Michael Kennedy
    :: 2014 Annual Meeting and Dinner/Auction
    Saturday, February 22, 2014
    :: Serving Our Communities
    by Harla Jean Biever, President
    Board New Hope Resource Center
    :: Augy Augustine
    In Memoriam
    :: Our New bridge
    by Martha Schaefer
    :: Is Your Last Rose Of Summer Going To The Deer?
    :: Looking Back
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Trails To The Library(s)
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Valley Cleanup 2013
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Apex Industries make Herons for New Bridge
    :: Mark Your Calendar - Jack Nisbet Walking Tour
    Saturday, May 10, 2014
    :: Membership
    :: Annual Spring Cleanup
    Saturday, April 27th -- 9:30 am
    :: In Memoriam
    :: Annual Meeting
    by Martha Schaefer, Vice President
    :: Thank You 2013 Donors For Auction Items!
    We Did Great!
    :: PET Project Spreads Mobility
    by Cindy Hval
    Article Courtesy of Spokesman-Review
    :: Mac Presents -- David Douglas Historic Tours -- With Jack Nisbet
    :: Come See The Butterflies!
    :: Memorial Bricks
    by Harla J. Biever
    :: Work Day At Camp Dart-Lo
    :: Postmarks
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: A Look Back at FLSRV History
    by Martha Schafer, Board Vice-President
    :: Mark Your Calendar For Our 2013 Annual Meeting
    :: We're Adopting!
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Bravo for the Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: FLSRV Board-Authorized Letter Regarding The New Bridge
    by Lance Pounder, President
    :: Little Spokane River Bridge No. 3602 Replacement Project Update for Fall of 2012
    :: Cottonwood Trees in North Spokane County
    by W.G. Magnuson
    :: Delay Pruning To Help Wildlife Now
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Spokane Fish Hatchery
    by Kirk Newmann
    :: Second Annual Hike With Jack Nisbet
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
    :: Pine River Park Update
    by Lance Pounder
    :: Oldest Barn in Spokane County?
    by W.G. Magnuson, Jr.
    :: Spring is for the Birds (and Birders)!
    by Lindell Haggin
    :: Roundabouts
    by Jack Bury
    :: Valley Cleanup
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: 2012 Annual Meeting
    by Tina Wynecoop, Auction Chairman
    :: Thank You! FLSRV 2012 Auction Donors
    :: A Little History
    by Harla Jean Biever
    :: Water Quality
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Walking Tour May 12, 2012
    Roberta Ellis, FLSRV Member
    :: State Needs Volunteers to Score Recreation, Conservation Grant Applications
    :: WTA Work Parties 2012
    :: 2012 Annual Meeting and Dinner/Auction
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Little Spokane Bridge is Being Replaced
    by Marla Schaeffer
    :: Walking Tour Review
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Keeping Pine River Park Open
    by Lance Pounder
    :: 86,400 Seconds
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Valley Cleanup
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Better Dead Than Alive?
    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    :: The Way It Was: History Along Our Organizations Namesake
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: The Smell of Home
    by Carole Mack From: Diggings.org
    :: 2011 Annual Meeting and Dinner/Auction
    Saturday, March 5, 2011
    :: What is Conservation Futures
    by Martha Schaefer
    :: FLSRV Nominates Scholz Property for Conservation Futures Purchase
    Letter sent to Spokane Conservation Futures from Lance Pounder, on behalf of FLSRV
    :: A River Flows Through It
    by Bart Haggin
    :: Pine River Park Help Keep it Open
    by Lance Pounder
    :: County Bridge Upgrades
    by Harla Jean Biever
    :: Spring Cleanup Date Announced
    Saturday, April 16 Starting at 9:00am.
    :: Little Spokane Artists Plan Studio Tour
    by Hulda Bridgeman
    :: Team from 3 Counties Presents Gardening Workshop
    Saturday, January 29th, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    :: 3rd Annual Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
    by Hulda Bridgeman
    :: Keeping Pine River Park Open
    by Lance Pounder
    :: New Board Members Elected
    by Kirk Neumann
    :: Annual Meeting Held
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Pine River County Park
    by Doug Chase
    :: General Service Modifications for 2010 Park Season
    by Doug Chase
    :: Mt. Spokane, The Little Spokane River, Rock Cairn Vision Quest Sites and a Poem
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Membership
    by Harla Jean Biever
    :: Cleanup Day Report
    by Lance Pounder
    :: An Amazing CBC (Christmas Bird Count) Adventure Story
    by Jeanne Dammarell
    :: 2nd Annual Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
    by Hulda Bridgeman
    :: 2009 Annual Meeting and Dinner/Auction
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: US Highway 2 to the Wandermere Vicinity North Spokane Corridor: Wall Architectural Treatment
    :: Proposed Little Spokane Drive Trail from Midway to Colbert Rd
    by Mark Case, Trails Chairman
    :: Trail System Section Completions
    by Mark Case
    :: Middle of Little Spokane River
    by Daniel Collins
    :: Yearly Walking Tour With Jack Nisbet
    Saturday, May 6, 2017
    :: Antoine Peak Hike 2016
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Be Coyote-Wise
    Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
    :: Unique Trail Users
    By Tina Wynecoop
    :: Wolverine Walkabout = Wolverine Wanderlust
    By Tina Wynecoop
    :: Saltese Upland Hike
    By Tina Wynecoop
    :: New Benches for the Haynes Estate Trails Area
    By Kirk Neumann
    :: Pineriver Park Neighborhood Entrance Will Be Getting a New Look
    :: Trail Signs
    :: Trail Update
    By Lance Pounder
    :: Beavers on the Little Spokane River
    By Ro Bury
    :: SPRING FIELD TRIP with Jack Nisbet, Author/Historian
    Five Mile Prairie and the Little Spokane River MAY 10, 2014
    :: Were Friends with WSDOT and The Children of the Sun pedestrian pathway.
    :: Links to Printable 2013 Trails Maps
    :: Devil's Gap Walking Tour with Jack Nisbet
    Saturday, May 11, 2013
    :: Trails Update
    :: County's Wandermere Road Project
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Trails Overview
    :: Trails Update
    by Lance Pounder
    :: Vandervert Trail
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: North Spokane Corridor
    by Michael Kennedy
    :: Trees and Trails
    by Jim Ellis
    :: Finishing Touches on the Bridge
    by Lindell Haggin
    :: Trails
    by Martha Schaefer
    :: Art Work Drawings for Retaining Walls at Wandermere and Garden Avenue
    :: Haynes Estate Conservation Area Planting
    :: New Pedestrian-Bike Trail Needs Your Help To Find A Name
    :: 08 Trails Update
    :: Trails FAQs
    Geology / History
    :: Jack Nisbet's and FLSRV's Sixth Annual Walking Tour: Lower Hangman/Latah Creek April 29, 2018
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: "Don't tell my wife about this!"
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Wandermere
    By Dan Webster ... Courtesy of Spokesman Review
    :: Inland Northwest Geology
    :: Bird Watching
    :: Birds Falling From The Sky
    by Tina and Judge Wynecoop
    :: Nesting Ospreys
    :: Dabblers, Divers, Murderers and Travelers: Birds of the INW
    Through March 15, 2009 Museum of Arts and Culture
    Favorite Views
    :: Some Beautiful Views Contributed By Members
    :: Friends of Little Spokane River Valley Goals
    As Agreed to by the Board of Directors September 8, 1998
    Favorite Books
    :: Readings about our Little Spokane River Valley
    :: May 2018 Newsletter Download as PDF
    :: January 2018 Newsletter
    :: October 2017 Newsletter
    :: Spring 2017 Newsletter
    :: October 2016 Newsletter
    :: January 2016 Newsletter
    :: Spring 2015 Newsletter
    :: November 2014 Newsletter as PDF
    :: June 2014 Newsletter PDF
    :: December 2013 Newsletter
    :: April 2013 Newsletter
    :: November 2012 Newsletter
    :: June 2012 Newsletter
    :: November 2011 Newsletter
    :: January 2011 Newsletter
    :: June 2010 Newsletter
    :: September 2009 - Fall Newsletter
    :: January 2009 - Winter Newsletter

    © 2009 - 2018 Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley
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