Reprint courtesy of Spokesman Review
The north Spokane recreation area commonly referred to as Waikiki Springs nearly doubled this fall as Inland Northwest Land Conservancy announced the purchase of a 95-acre parcel of land adjacent to existing 114-acre Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife property along the Little Spokane River.
The land, part of the Waikiki Dairy in the early 1900s and ancestral home of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, provides beautiful habitat for local plants and animals, and is home to ideal spawning grounds for native fish.
The newly acquired parcel was platted for development but has been conserved for public access, conservation and habitat restoration, through a partnership among INLC, the Spokane Tribe and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Permanent protection of this vital piece of near-urban wildlife habitat has been a priority of neighbors and community groups for many years, including Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley, Fairwood Farmer’s Market and Save Our Switchbacks.
The purchase was funded, due to the leadership of Marcus Riccelli, support from Andy Billig and by the taxpayers of Washington State.
The name “Waikiki,” meaning “spouting fresh water,” references the natural springs throughout the area that pour cold, clear aquifer water into the Little Spokane River. This influx of water keeps the river cool in the summer and moderate in the winter, further enhancing its value as habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.
The hiking trails can be accessed from the north end of Fairwood Drive off Mill Road near Mead High School. As land manager, INLC will work closely with the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to improve habitat, enhance recreation opportunities and engage the Spokane community with this beautiful natural area.
Inland Northwest Land Conservancy was formed in 1991. Since then, the organization has protected over 22,000 acres in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. A new initiative is “Olmsted 2.0,” a collaborative plan to provide access public parks, trails and natural spaces for Spokane County residents. You can learn more how INLC is connecting people to nature by conserving the lands and waters essential to life by visiting inlandnwland.org.