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Conservation Future Nomination

This summer Chris Zeller and Rob Allen came to our board meeting to ask for our endorsement of the application being made to Conservation Futures for a beautiful spot along the Little Spokane River. Out of 38 applications submitted to the committee this placed number 8 in the initial selection. The final selections will be announced at a later date.

The following is the letter approved by our board and submitted to the Conservation Futures committee for their consideration.

September 15, 2016

To: Spokane County Conservation Futures c/o Paul Knowles, Park Planner, Spokane Co.Parks Dept. ( ) 404 N Havana St, Spokane, WA 99202

From: Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

The Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley ( whole-heartedly and unreservedly supports the nomination of the 95 acre parcel known as: Little Spokane 23-16.

Over the years our organization has added miles of non-motorized pathways and trails for our community to safely walk from ‘here to there.’ Mostly these pathways exist alongside busy roadways with little actual connection to this free-flowing wonder called the Little Spokane River – a river of great importance to the Snexwemene Indians who lived along, traveled, and were nourished by it for millennia. Even today, we need this experience to enrich us. The interior Salish people, the Kalispel, are preserving the habitat in the adjoining property downstream from the nominated parcel. What a wildlife corridor can be preserved as the river continues down through the golf course and private land and on to the Little Spokane Natural Area which was established in 1974!

Now, the best way to interact with and appreciate the river in its natural setting in our community only can happen when walking the area below the Bozarth mansion where the aquifer plunges to meet the river as it moves and meanders downstream to flow into the Spokane River. To permanently preserve the additional acreage for public use and for the flora and fauna that depend on its intactness is so very needed. As mentioned, our own trails are valued and appreciated – yet the connectivity to the river is minimal because of the miles of private residences that are located between the shoreline and the roadways. The new parcel remedies that separation beautifully.

One of our members, who owns one of these private parcels along our upstream trails ‘get her real walk’ on the nominated property. Here is how she describes her experience: ‘I love walking in that area, and I do so 3-4 times a week. I enjoy the switch backs, the wild life, the river, and visiting with others that realize how lucky we are to have such a beautiful place. There are many regulars that walk the area, plus we see cross country runners (sometimes 15-20 from Mead HS) several times a month.’

The nomination of this parcel, as worthy of preservation, and complements and enhances our own organization’s vision for the Little Spokane River Valley which is:

• 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.

For our organization, this is one of those ‘major issues’ and we consider it worthy of our support!

With utmost respect for the difficult considerations ahead for your committee in the selection process, we are:

The Board Members of Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley. Lance Pounder, President P. O. Box 18191 Spokane, WA 99228

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