by Rob Allen, Fairwood Farmers Market Director
Heroes are needed to help preserve public access to the Middle of the Little Spokane behind Bozarth Retreat Center near Mill Road and Fairwood Drive. You can be a trails hero by joining a trails maintenance project there Saturday October 20 at 9 a.m.
About 120 acres along the Little Spokane there are currently owned and managed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The department, which basically develops fish hatcheries and wildlife habitat, has expressed a willingness to transfer management to Washington State Parks Department. Parks has agreed, with a proviso. Subject to the surrounding North Spokane neighborhoods participating in active management of the WDFW property, they are adding the WDFW land to their long-term plan for Riverside State Park. Now we must prove our commitment to the area.
WDFW Access Manager Daniel Dziekan will be our guide on Saturday the 20th, laying out the most current work to be accomplished. He’ll be assembling teams at the trailhead, rain or shine, who will (1) transplant new native plants along the trail; (2) spread new bark mulch at designated spots along the trail; (3) help move dead tree parts into place across volunteer trails that have sprung up. Many of those trails lead to severe erosion problems; and (4) pick up garbage for litter patrols. A lot of the work centers on the historic Switchback Trails that lead down to the river.
A “Save our Switchbacks” campaign has been initiated by the Fairwood Farmers Market as a community service endeavor, searching for volunteer hours and resources to maintain and acquire the WDFW parcels and surrounding land for long term preservation of an active wildlife corridor and for regional recreation purposes.
As you can see from the work Daniel Dziekan has outlined, there is something every level of trail user can do to help during the work party. At each event like this, Dziekan keeps a log of all those who volunteer and uses his records to demonstrate support from the local community. He suggests you bring shovels, wheelbarrows and wagons. This spring, the work party lasted about 2 hours.