It is good to look back on what might have seemed on the surface to be a very quiet 2021 for FLSRV. The pandemic had not slowed progress one bit!
• Monthly board meetings switched from in-person gatherings to Zoom meetings.
• The February annual meeting held at Wandermere Golf Course club house was cancelled; yet with board member Dave Maccini vision and planning, it was reconfigured and held responsibly outdoors in late September at Midway Elementary School.
• FLSRV’s ninth annual hike, led each year by author and naturalist Jack Nisbet, was not deterred by the pandemic. A large group joined him at Fishtrap Falls and Hog Lake west of Cheney. The brisk April winds sweeping vigorously across the Columbia Plateau cleansed the air of possible contagion. The wind blew our hats off in a salute to our faithful guide. It was a good day to learn new things, and we did! [There will be a hike in 2022. — link here: https://www.flsrv.org/flsrv-2022-hike-with-jack-nisbet/]
• The old Shady Slope sign disappeared and then reappeared months later on its long-time perch on the old Douglas Fir tree. It took some sleuthing to find out what happened to it, but it is refreshed and replaced to its accustomed place. Our community’s locals, subscribers to the Next Door Neighbor app, worried and wondered and then supplied the answer to the mystery of the missing namesake sign – a beloved icon on the winding road into the Little Spokane River valley.
• Again, lots of roadside rubbish was picked up on 2021 Earth Day. It would be nice if this was a “once and done” event, but with board member Michael Kennedy’s organization skills, volunteers set out to tidy up our Little Spokane River Valley once more. We have neat and caring volunteers and are very grateful to each one.
• FLSRV continued to support Spokane Conservation District’s water quality testing study in Little Deep Creek, Deadman Creek, and Little Spokane River. Each month a trio of FLSRV members tests for all sorts of technical things that affect and describe the health of the LSR watershed. December’s testing was rewarded with views of an American Dipper bobbing, twirling, and swimming underwater. It is a rare treat to watch the bird retrieving insect larvae in plain view while oblivious of our presence on the water’s edge. We noted in the December monthly report that the two tributary streams’ flows remained low. The much-needed fall rains had begun to saturate the drought-stricken soils before moisture could add force directly into the vast watershed’s streams
• Several meetings were held by the board’s trail-planning sub-committee who envisioned, researched, applied for permits, worked directly with landowners, designed and began construction of the newest link in the trail system – from Colbert Road to Midway Road. As you already know the trails have connected people with nature and continue to expand the pedestrian trail system. The trails provided a healing outlet during the pandemic and the activity on them was significantly increased. The FLSRV website has a printable trail map to download here: https://www.flsrv.org/links-to-printable-trails-maps/.
• Our board continues to oversee the popular WSDOT’s “Children of the Sun Trail” litter removal area located between Highway 395 and Highway 2.
• A first-time event with “deep historical and cultural significance” took place on a sunny afternoon in August 2021 at Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve and Wildlife Area below Mill Road (affectionately nicknamed “The Middle of the Little”.) The Spokane Tribe of Indians, WDFW, Inland Northwest Land Conservancy as well as the Friends of Fairwood facilitated the introduction of Chinook Salmon in the Little Spokane River downstream from the Dartford bridge.
[Special thanks to Inland Northwest Land Conservancy for permission to share their [slightly edited] article:] https://inlandnwland.org/summer-salmon-swim-again/