Antoine Peak Hike 2016

by Tina Wynecoop ‘There is so much to explore right here,’ Jack Nisbet says of his policy of keeping his subject matter all within a day’s drive from his south hill home.’  The Inlander, May 14, 2015 In spring 2015 FLSRV sponsored a hike, led by Jack Nisbet, to the Saltese Uplands Conservation Land. It overlooks Liberty Lake to the east and Saltese Flats to the west and is surrounded by mountains bordering the Washington/Idaho state line (including Mica Peak in Idaho) and spectacular southerly views of the second Mica Peak (in Washington). Looking westward we could see all the way to the Reardan area. Mt. Spokane’s bald top loomed to the north. With a simple twirl of the feet in one spot all views were visible from this recent conservation land purchase. These vistas, though, competed with the equally wonderful minutia of the upland landscape we were exploring with Jack that sunny day in May.  Midway through the hike we gathered for lunch at the top of the uplands and our gaze shifted north across the Spokane valley. The destination for the next spring hike with Jack unfolded before our eyes: the recent Conservation Futures acquisition of Antoine Peak […]

Unique Trail Users

By Tina Wynecoop Earlier this spring a group of teens were riding the FLSRV trail on Hatch Road. One of the buddies wore a leg cast and was navigating his skateboard by using crutches to propel himself. I asked if I could take his photo and he agreed: 

Saltese Upland Hike

By Tina Wynecoop Once again author and naturalist Jack Nisbet showcased a new world for a troop of eager followers of the Friends-of-the-Little-Spokane ‘tribe’. This year he led about 25 of us to another local valley’s unique landform in our Spokane River drainage – property which Spokane County Conservation Futures monies purchased in 2011: a 552 acre rise of land west of Liberty Lake near the Washington/Idaho border.  The Saltese Uplands property hovers over what was formerly an extensive shallow lake (it had been ditched and drained over the years for agricultural use.) Its namesake, Cd’A tribal chief Andrew Saltese/Seltice (Below; Idahoans spell his name Seltice), who was married to a Spokan Indian woman, and their family, once lived on Saltese Lake’s eastern shore. Nestled between Mica Peak (Washington) and Mica Peak (Idaho) this homeland his family inhabited had rich natural resources to sustain them.  With his characteristic familiarity of the land, coming from years of immersion in the history of the region, Jack drew our attention to the native plants, the geology of the Ice Age floods, and the view sheds. On a gentle path, shared alike by hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers, we ascended to the crest […]

Wolverine Walkabout = Wolverine Wanderlust

By Tina Wynecoop The prime habitat in Spokane County for the elusive wolverine is the old growth forest atop Mt. Spokane. Imagine Little Spokane Valley residents, Mike and Jen Childress’ surprise when they spotted a wolverine last Thanksgiving near Perry Road and Little Spokane Drive! Jen Childress describes this remarkable sighting, which she prefaces with “while we are pretty sure the animal had to have been a wolverine, that was not our immediate assumption — we just knew it was something out of the ordinary. We definitely knew right away what it wasn’t, but we only determined what it had to be after looking in the guidebooks and on YouTube.” Here is her report to the Wolverine Foundation which tracks wolverine sightings:  “Yesterday as we drove out to the folks’ for the Thanksgiving holiday, it was daylight and both my husband and I got a pretty good look at this odd creature. My husband spotted it and thought at first it was a wild cat because it leaped from a tree at some wild turkeys on the ground. We were so surprised, we quickly pulled over to get a better look. The sound of our car startled the creature, which […]

Be Coyote-Wise

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife It’s good to be wise about wildlife year round to avoid problems, but it’s especially important at this time of year to be ‘coyote wise.’  Coyotes, which are abundant throughout Washington’s rural and urban areas, are pairing up and breeding now in late winter to produce pups in April and early May. And coyotes that were born eight or nine months ago are striking out on their own at this time. That means there’s lots of coyotes moving about and making noise, yipping and howling to communicate with each other.  Like most wildlife, coyotes usually avoid people and don’t cause trouble. But coyotes are extremely opportunistic and adaptable to our ways and will take advantage of easy access to food sources. As a canine species, they also view domestic dogs as competitors. These two factors can lead to problems with coyotes now and through summer as young are reared. Finding food is critical for all wildlife. But mature animals that are reproducing, and young animals that are learning independence, are really driven to feed. Coyotes are actually omnivores – they’ll eat everything from fruit to large animals. Hungry coyotes will try almost anything. NEVER […]

Pineriver Park Neighborhood Entrance Will Be Getting a New Look

Forty years ago Pineriver Park garden club and Spokane County Parks Department worked together to landscape our present entrance. Those plantings are now greatly overgrown and we are hoping to remove and improve. Pineriver Park neighbors are working with Friends of Little Spokane River Valley and Don Secor, Spokane County Parks, to remove the existing shrubs. The county has applied for a grant. But because of county low staff work will probably not begin until August, 2015.  We would like your input and thoughts on landscaping the site. There is no water source to that area.  If you are interested in planning “Our New Look” contact:  Deanna Sommers  466-9704  deannasomm@msn.com

Wildlife Highway

By Jack and Ro Bury Moose migrating from Mount Spokane aren’t the only wildlife safely and secretly passing through the new tunnel under the Newport Highway. The new passage helping animals move from one side of the highway to the other is part of a growing momentum for large-scale preservation of wildlife habitat and the corridors that connect them.  The local work is significant because northeast Washington and North Idaho are on the western edge of what eco-biologists consider possibly the most important interconnected habitat in North America. The so-called “western wildway” along the spine of the Rockies, Alaska and Northern Mexico is the focus of large and small efforts to preserve places where native plants and animals can thrive.  Our highways bisect wildlife highways, and vehicle impacts cause road kill; eighty elk in five years on Snoqualmie Pass. But those are not the only literal impacts. Each year more than 200 motorists are killed by animal-vehicle collisions, according to the Wildlife Society.  Nationally the average cost of auto-deer collisions is $2,000.00. If North America is going to sustain life, humans have to learn how to literally cross paths with wild animals. Critter crossings got legitimate funding and strategic planning […]

Beavers on the Little Spokane River

By Ro Bury I thought it was a small bear perched on the ice shelf that jutted into the Little Spokane River. It was dark brown and black in color and moved slowly across the ice and up onto the shore. Since we had never seen beavers (or evidence of beavers) on our property in the 25 years we have lived here, it was a surprise when the view through the binoculars showed a broad, flat tail attached to the back of the animal. Beavers are America’s largest rodent, and the adults are up to 4 feet long and 60 pounds. This guy was at the extreme end!  Further investigation revealed a well concealed lodge just upstream from the sighting. Most lodges are made up of sticks and mud and can be up to 10 feet tall. They usually have 1 large, central chamber and 1 or 2 entrances. The floor of the chamber is a little above the water line and covered with wood chips to absorb moisture. The chamber is vented for fresh air. Some beavers build burrows in the banks of rivers (“bank dens”) and may or may not build lodges over them. “Our” beavers had a […]

Links to Printable Trails Maps

The newest version of the Trails as of Jan 2018 is depicted here: Click here for 8″ x 11″ pdf map. Who is paying for the Little Spokane trails? A public/private partnership. Significant contributors include private citizens, area businesses, foundations, and Spokane County. Do the paths cross any privately owned land? No. The paths generally follow public rights of way, streets, highways, and county properties. When will the Little Spokane trails be officially open for use? The trails and paths are being completed in sections as funding becomes available. Try out the newly completed demonstration path connecting Pine River Park and Gleneden Park.