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Land Along the Little Spokane River

Report from Fairwood Community Leaders

Fairwood community leaders met recently with Chris Deforest, Conservation Director with the Inland Northwest Lands Conservancy – INLC, to share perspectives on the Little Spokane River.

They are concerned with securing the conservation and recreation values that draw everyone form the surrounding communities down to the river. Deliberate conservation efforts through legal title is one such approach.

Chris’s organization provides the tools to secure those agreements with property owners; drafting conservation easements, documents listing first right of refusal, and others.

The INLC has worked on half a dozen projects in the Little Spokane River and some of these have been adjacent to State lands. They recognize the high habitat values on the river and have been active over the past 10 years in advancing these values. Parcels need to be in excess of 40 acres. Fairwood leaders have been exploring a similar situation with the Severn properties (2 parcels) which are adjacent to State Fish and Wildlife lands on the River.

The Severn properties ranked high in the 2016 Spokane county Conservation Futures process. In October of 2016 we met with the Region 1 Director for Fish and Wildlife, Steve Pozzanghera, to discuss their goals for those properties adjacent to the Severns’ (they provide the conduit to the Little Spokane via the Switchbacks) as well as steps the community can take toward deliberate conservation. We learned that Fish and Wildlife does not have a need for these lands in terms of the work they do and would like to divest themselves of their property. Furthermore, they are in talks with Spokane County to arrange this transaction.

We are encouraged by the news for INLC and intend to work with INLC as we move forward with our goals. We are Rob Allen, President of Fairwood 1,Chris Zeller, President of Fairwood 11, and Daniel Collins, trail developer – Nicoterra Trails.

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