FLSRV heronFLSRV.org
  • 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.



  •   Search
    Welcome to the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

    Living Water: Salmon's Presence
    by Tina Wynecoop
    We walk side by side with our history. We would have had to be centenarians to have witnessed the extraordinary salmon runs in the Little Spokane River. Spokane Riverkeeper, Jerry White, Jr.'s description of the fish is perfect: "Chinook salmon with tails the size of tennis rackets and weighing up to 100 pounds returned every spring, [summer and fall]." The male Chinook salmon (King) in the photograph left the Pacific Ocean, traveled up the Columbia River, swam eastward into the Spokane River, and bumped into a concrete obstacle where it could migrate no further. Little Falls Dam (1911) blocked its passage. "It was caught immediately below the dam, during the summer of 1938, the year before the Grand Coulee Dam blocked salmon migration into all the Upper Columbia Basin. The fish looks like a male because it appears to be starting to develop a spawning kype (hooked upper snout) and is starting to develop spawning colors." (Allan Scholz - personal communication). This behemoth salmon's destination was to one of the tributaries of the Spokane River.

    Perhaps the Little Spokane River was calling him home.

    A "Calling Home the Salmon" ceremony is conducted every June at traditional fishery sites along the Columbia River. Native peoples gather and pray, and, by tapping cobblestones together, imitate the sound the river's water once made as it streamed over gravel spawning beds. Indians gather to pray on the banks of the river and remember what once was letting the salmon know they have not been forgotten, and telling the salmon that great efforts are being made to enable their return – efforts to restore and maintain the health and diversity of native fish in the Columbia basin. It is a poignant ceremony because salmon still gather at the foot of dams - instinctively driven to return home yet unable to hurdle the great walls imposed across their watery highways.

    In many places in the vast Columbia River watershed (the Little Spokane River is one of the great river's many tributaries) it has been noted that the salmon swam upstream so thick during spring, summer and fall runs, that one could "walk across their backs to the opposite bank." This is a common refrain repeated over and over again: The Lewis and Clark expedition of discovery first encountered the Columbia River in 1805. Their journal records that "nearby streams were so thick with salmon that you could all but walk across on their backs."

    Bernard DeVoto, who edited the L&C journals, wrote, "Everywhere the Corp of Discovery saw evidence of how the Indian's salmon economy was organized: weirs, spears, nets, caches of dried fish." He added, their notation for October 14, 1805 states with relief: "Everybody [in our group] was heartily bored by living on fish and for the first time in three weeks [we] had a good dinner of Blue wing Teel."

    A Colville tribal member remembered her elders saying "they were so thick you could walk across the river on their backs."

    Celebrated author Sherman Alexie (Spokan/Coeur d'Alene) wrote: "My grandmother said the salmon once swam so thick in the Spokane River that she could walk across the water on their backs."

    Salmon, in their former abundance, were the major food source for the Indians who found them palatable and nourishing. Preparations for catching, preserving, and storage were precise. Even the salmon's skin provided needed nutrients. I have found photographs of moccasins made entirely of salmon skin.

    The 35 mile-long Little Spokane River and its watershed encompassing 710 square miles drains the northeastern portion of the 2,400 square miles of the Spokane River sub-basin. Both the Big and Little Spokane Rivers and their tributaries are part of the vast Columbia River Basin. The "magnitude of the former fish runs in the Columbia River's watershed were estimated to be as high as 35 million fish." Annually.

    Included in EWU biology professor Allan Scholz's forthcoming book (spring 2018) are quotes of numerous historical accounts and interviews: In the late 1800's Little Spokane landowner Ben Norman purchased his property, located at the confluence of the Little Spokane River with the Spokane River, from the Northern Pacific Railway. The railroad company was selling off extraneous parcels of land "gifted" to them by the federal government. Certainly there was little consideration for the aboriginal people who respected but did not "own" these lands in the current sense. Mr. Norman recalled: "The site was a great fishing place . . . the Indians had fish traps across both the Spokane River and the Little Spokane . . . and there was fish for everyone. When I first settled there the fish were so plentiful . . . I have seen salmon, big ones weighing many pounds lying noses together one above the other closely packed in their efforts to reach their spawning ground at the head of the stream."

    From another account: "In 1882, 40- 50,000 salmon/steelhead were seen on drying racks at the Indian encampment on the Little Spokane By 1883 the Indian catch was only about 2,000 fish."


    There were/are many reasons for this stark decline in fish stocks: salmon canneries on the lower Columbia, agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, lumbering, urban development, industrial and sewage (raw) pollution, ignorance, and the construction of dams of all sizes. All have, blow by incremental blow devastated the prehistoric salmon runs. Restoration, though, is more than a wish – it is a goal. The research being accomplished has depth and breadth and possibilities. A simple query on the Internet brings up floods of scientific data. FLSRV members Lindell Haggin, Chris Dudley and I contribute in a small but significant way to this collection of data. As volunteers we take monthly water quality measurements at three sites in our reach of the LSR: these include Little Deep Creek, Deadman Creek and the Little Spokane as it flows past Haggin's farm. Our reports go to Spokane Conservation District staff for analysis.

    We have never seen a salmon as we conduct measurements in an area of such cultural significance to the indigenous people. We are aware we stand in their history: Anthropologist Verne Ray wrote, "Middle/Upper (Central/Eastern) Spokans maintained a weir and fishing platform station at the junction of the three streams at the base of Shady Slope. Near the mouth of Deadman Creek was a permanent village, a major fish-gathering site called č̓łč̓múle?xw (where a creek skirts the foot of a cliff). [The Indians] stood on this platform to spear Chinook salmon, Steelhead trout and Mountain whitefish that were abundant." By the late 1800 and early 1900's, before Little Falls Dam blocked salmon runs on the Spokane River, settlers in the Little Spokane Valley said that farmers used pitchforks to harvest Chinook salmon that had migrated up the Little Spokane River to their farms. Unlike the Indians who ate these fish, the farmers considered these fish to be inedible and used them instead as food for their pigs or else used them as fertilizer by scattering the carcasses over agricultural lands." (Scholz)

    In 1893, ichthyologists Charles Gilbert and Barton Evermann reported extensive damage to the Little Spokane as a result of [settler] activities: "The character of this stream is being materially changed by the advent of [post-contact] civilization, a fact which is, or has been, true of most streams in this country. The cutting away of the timber and brush on the immediate bank and the cultivation of the land within the drainage area of the stream have greatly increased the surface erosion and, in consequence, the impurities of the stream."

    The grandson of the fisherman who caught the Chinook salmon pictured in the photograph remembers these "impurities of the stream" in his boyhood attempts at "swimming" in the Spokane River as it sluggishly flowed along the southern boundary of his reservation. He said, "During the 1940's one had to dive through horrible layers of green foamy crud to reach the water." Existence for any living thing downstream was hazardous to health. And, to add insult to injury, because of the damming of the traditional fishery sites, an elder Spokan said, "Your houses are filled with light, but our stomachs are now empty."

    In the Dartford area I interviewed Colville tribal member Jim Tomeo, a long-time resident of the LSR valley. He shared with me conversations he had with John W. Stoneman (1900-1996) who lived and farmed at Dartford. Mr. Stoneman told him, "The salmon were plenty. Whenever they came through the bears and cougars came down to the river's edge and would wait to snatch a salmon for a meal." Tomeo said Stoneman remembered when he was very young that Nez Perce Chief Joseph would camp along the Little Spokane at Dartford while traveling between Nespelem on the Colville Reservation and his family home in Idaho. It is said he never went back to his birthplace but he actually did go back and forth. He and his small group would come and camp during salmon runs. He stayed at Dartford and upstream where the Wandermere Golf Course is situated.

    In preparation for their leader's arrival, young men went ahead of Joseph's group to catch, smoke and dry salmon and prepare enough for their own travels and for trade. Tomeo spoke of the different ways the captured salmon were preserved. The stone tools (lithics) in the photo are from the Dartford area and may have been utilized in processing salmon. The tools are sturdy reminders of the history of our Little Spokane. (Of note, there was a ‘burial" near the golf course - a traditional Nez Perce method of taking care of their deceased: an infant was placed in its baby board and tucked high in a conifer's branches. The tree is gone and with it a poignant reminder of a sad event happening when the Indians were passing through. A similar committal of an infant was found in a tree at a fishing/campsite located at the mouth of Tshimakain Creek, also a favored stopover of the Nez Perce which was located on what is now the Spokane Indian Reservation.)

    On its surface our Little Spokane River appears untouched and pristine. Beneath its surface there is a different story. One that tells of incomprehensible destruction and loss for the indigenous peoples who once thrived along its banks - and loss for those who came later. Although the Little Spokane River has never been dammed there have been feasibility studies to do so. Earlier attempts at manipulation are described in an article in The Inlander titled, "Progress Be Dammed: How Spokane Tried Its Darnedest To Stop the Grand Coulee Dam From Being Built." Investigative reporter William Stimson writes: "In 1918 there was a plan to divert waters from the north of Spokane to central Washington via gravity (known as The Gravity Plan) in this plan, the Pend Oreille River would be grabbed at a point between the small towns of Newport and Priest River and steered, via 130 miles of existing waterways - such as the Little Spokane River (emphasis added) - across the Spokane River at Dishman and through tunnels under the Spokane foothills to the Columbia Basin." Although not without great cost to the people who staked their lives on the abundance of migratory salmon, it was determined that the Grand Coulee was a better site for a large dam.

    In 1973 Spokane Tribal Chairman, Alex Sherwood spoke: "I remember this river so well as it was before the dams. My father and grandfather used to tell me how it was before the white man came it was beautiful then the fish! The fish sometimes so thick that it seemed that they filled the river I ask, "River, do you remember how it used to be— the game, the fish, the pure water, the roar of the falls, boats, canoes, fishing platforms? You fed and took care of our people then. For thousands of years we walked your banks and used your waters. You would always answer when our chiefs called to you with their prayer to the river... Sometimes, I stand and shout, "River do you remember us?" We thank you for these things, bring us again, as you have every year, the salmon that keep us together as a people and feed us through the winters. Remember!"

    An award-winning reporter who witnessed and recorded the successful removal of and the salmon's subsequent return, aptly concludes in a way that could be said of the Little Spokane River and the surrounding watershed as well, "We busily built a civilization and, while we were at it, undercut the natural balancing capacities of our world. I agree that our human works are now greatly at risk—but also think our situation is not hopeless. Ultimately, this is about relationships. With one another, with future generations, and with the other living beings with which we share the planet, now and in the future, with value all their own." (Lynda Mapes)

    There is remembrance and there is hope.


    *A bibliography of excellent resources related to this subject is available here http://www.flsrv.org/news.php?id=188

    News
    :: 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
    :: FRIENDS OF THE LITTLE SPOKANE RIVER VALLEY IS CELEBRATING OVER 20 YEARS WITH A LOOK BACK AT OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
    :: Registration for Tour and Field Trip
    :: 2017 ANNUAL MEETING AND DINNER/AUCTION
    Friday, February 24, 2017 -- Wandermere Golf Club
    :: FRIENDS OF THE LITTLE SPOKANE RIVER VALLEY IS CELEBRATING OVER 20 YEARS WITH A LOOK BACK AT OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
    :: ANNUAL SPRING CLEAN-UP: A CELEBRATION OF EARTH DAY
    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
    :: THANK YOU! DONORS TO 2012 FLSRV SILENT AUCTION
    :: 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
    Trails
    :: ANNUAL SPRING HIKE 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
    :: "Don't tell my wife about this!"
    by Tina Wynecoop
    :: Wandermere
    By Dan Webster ... Courtesy of Spokesman Review
    :: Inland Northwest Geology
    Birds
    :: 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
    Goals
    :: 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
    Newsletters
    :: 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 - 2017 Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley
    admin| stats| email