The Inland Northwest Top 10
Northwest Bestsellers at Local Record Stores
- Built To Spill You In Reverse (Warner Bros.)
- Seaweed Jack The Captain (self-released
- Mudoney Under A Billion Suns (Sub-Pop)
- Melfuent Leap Before You Look (self-released)
- To No Avail self-titled (self-released)
- Free Range Robots Instant Wisdom (self-released)
- Ugly Casanova Sharpen Your Teeth (Sub-Pop)
- Band Of Horses Everything All The Time (Sub-Pop)
- The Lashes Get It (Red Ink/Columbia)
- Coretta Scott Scream and Shout (Sub-Pop)
This list of Northwest artists and Artists on Northwest labels is compiled from sales reports from 4000 Holes, Boo Radley’s, The Long Ear, and Unified Groove Merchants.
JUNE MUSIC REVIEWS
BE YOUR OWN PET
Fun facts abound with Be Your Own Pet. Their average live set is 15-30 minutes long. All four band members have asthma. All four members draw their singles covers with crayons. They make their t-shirts in the kitchen with a silk screen and then personalize them with magic markers. And the disc? An unrestrained, fly-by-the-seat-of-pants, about-to-explode, chaotic mess of music. Crazy never sounded so great. Think early Le Tigre-with better vocals.
Remember That I Love You
Kimya Dawson is one of the most refreshing musicians making tunes today. Emerging from the New York anti-folk scene that came about in the early ’00s, Dawson has since proven herself as a force independent of her Moldy Peaches past (which was, on its own counts, plenty to get her by cred-wise). While the Peaches were a duo making their way on seemingly innocent charms, Dawson’s solo work is marked by her battles with inner demons. It is most clear on Remember, though, that Dawson has come out swinging. She’s stronger than ever, and the songs follow suit. Watch for ultimate charmers “My Mom,” “Loose Lips,” and “I Like Giants,” but be ready for all of the songs to put a big-hearted smile on your face.
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE
City Calls Revolution
19:55. 7:06. 8:22. 38:07. We can let the first three slide, but a 38 minute song? NO. Crazy Japanese band’s noise opus disguised as 4 song EP! No thanks.
(Kill Rock Stars)
An album inspired by the duo’s Jean Smith’s experiences in online dating? Frickin’ fantastic! Concept-y in the best way, Mecca Normal’s12th disc is a delight-from the coy, discreet vocals, to the careful but beautiful instrumentation. Guitarist David Lester is the constant, with Smith swapping out on everything from synth to percussion to sax. You’ll think the vocals will take getting used to, but just give Smith a couple lines and you’ll be hooked. Best song title in the world: “I’m Not Into Being the Woman You’re With While You’re Looking for the Woman You Want.”
From the feathered masks to the black shawls, the tongue-in-cheek title to the 6.6.06 release date, it’s hard to look past Metallic Falcons as just a novelty act. The truth is, though, that despite the fact that this is the side project of CocoRosie’s Sierra Casady, it is offering something pretty crazy-originality. It’s moody, mostly-instrumental music that comes together in magical arrangements and dream-like escapes. If Casady’s past endeavors are up your alley, or if her various associations with Devendra Banhart and Tarantula A.D. intrigue, Metallic Falcons is probably something to check out.
It’s always baffled me why everyone thinks Mountain Con is so great. They can sell out every venue they play in Seattle and they can be hailed by local media, but I just can’t seem to understand the appeal. Mostly it’s boring and sleep-inducing. Six people should be able to make something more interesting than this.
Catastrophe Keeps Us Together
The title track on this latest disc is so good it doesn’t matter how the rest of the album shapes up. But, lucky lucky, the rest is as good as the beginning. Catastrophe “gets” all of Rainer Maria’s years together and puts them into one fantastic musical blender. Female-lead melodic indie rock at its best.
THE ROGER SISTERS
The Invisible Deck
First thought upon listening to track one: “One of these Roger sisters has an awfully masculine voice.” What’s that you say? Ohhh, Miyuka Furtado is singing, and he’s a dude. Got it. This disc did indeed fall through the cracks amidst releases in March, which is unfortunate because it’s really damn good. It’s spunky and punky, and when Jennifer Rogers does step up to the mic, she duals with Furtado in a way that brings him into the family perfectly (you know, like when you spar with a sibling but can’t help adoring
Free to Stay
Surely with the close proximity to Seattle, all Spokanites should have the lowdown on Smoosh by now. Two sisters from the Emerald City, heralded by the press, opening act to Death Cab for Cutie, Pearl Jam, Cat Power, countless others, 12 and 14-years old. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What you’re really thinking is, when did Smoosh get so old!? It’s true, we’ve been following them for years and, now, as their debut release on big-boy indie label Barusk arrives, it’s reason enough for some serious celebration. The smile on your face will be as big as those on Chloe and Asya’s. Yay for Smoosh!
Apparently everyone thinks releasing their album on June 6 is really funny and cute. Like the devil! Goodness! The title of this release lends itself to a relationship with its release date, but the overwhelming goodness of its tunes does not. Which is good! Sound Team’s name has been around for quite awhile now, but this is just the debut. Why do I feel I’ve been listening to them forever? I’ve never even heard them. Hype is evil. But this is good, and worth any resulting name-dropping. Synthy pop with long arrangement sensibilities (we have their past in psychedelic drone-hell to thank), Sound Team’s disc is surely one of the strongest this season.
STARS OF TRACK & FIELD
Centuries Before Love and War
Little Portland band-that-could sticks by their lil’ label Sidecho to release BIG debut full length! Kudos, kudos, all around!
TILLY AND THE WALL
Bottoms of Barrels
The members of Tilly and the Wall are just about the cutest people pumping out music right now. Smiley, happy and upbeat, Tilly hails from our favorite musical hotspot, Omaha. In amazing company in the studio, on the road, and around their hometown, the music by default has to be amazing. And it is. Whether you missed 2004′s Wild Like Children or wore out your copy listening constantly, don’t miss the follow-up-it’s a little bit different, but just that little bit more awesome.
Sleazy machismo is oozing from this album cover. It is presumably lead singer Ben Tegel with the microphone tucked down his ripped denim drawers, bare chest above with leather jacket over. Trying too hard? YES. But it’s fun. Classic-y rock with the immediacy of bands that think way too much of themselves (Jet, The Hives). Purpose? Maybe not, but it’s too energetic and flat-out awesomely party-inspiring to get hung up on its shortcomings.
A Hundred Miles Off
The first of several releases coming this summer that excite the hell out of me (see in future months The Futureheads, French Kicks, the Long Winters). Hamilton Leithauser is easily one of my favorite frontmen, with his crackly croon and giant, intoxicating frame. It’s hard to imagine with bands as strong as the Walkmen that much in the way of “improvement” is possible from one release to the next but, watch out, Miles Off is undoubtedly the most exciting Walkmen release yet.
Sandstone Spine: Seeking the Anasazi on the First Traverse of the Comb Ridge
David Roberts, Greg Child (photographer)
Mountaineers Books, 2005, 189 pages.
In this compelling story, three amigos, author David Roberts, climber Greg Child and Utah guide Vaughn Hadenfeldt, set off on an epic adventure to hike the length of Comb Ridge, the Sandstone Spine. Traversing over a hundred miles of remote northeast Arizona and southeast Utah, the ridge is crossed by only three roads. Though the relief of the ridge averages only 600 feet, following the serrated crest of the ridge demands countless ascents and descents, adding hundreds of feet of vertical gain to each day’s travel.
The route’s limited access creates a challenge requiring months of planning to maximize the benefit from the few restocking sites. Assuring adequate water poses the largest challenge. Unreliable, rain-filled sandstone “tanks,” replace streams as the prime source of natural water. Hiking, in close to 100 degree heat, sucks up at least four quarts of water per day. With supply drops several days apart, not finding water on the route adds over 40 pounds of liquid at each supply cache.
On a deeper level, Roberts uses the many pictographs, petroglyphs and ruins encountered during the journey as a springboard for describing the complex evolution of culture in the southwest. Drawing on research from earlier work, Roberts provides an explanation for ancient vandalism of some of the oldest rock art. The roots of Anasazi, a term used by few anthropologists today, embody hints of the fear of the power in the images. Roberts laments modern hikers who vandalize for far less noble reasons. Espousing the ethic of the “outdoor museum,” Roberts advises the hiker in the southwest to examine and photograph, but not to take artifacts. Leaving them in place preserves the awe of discovery for the next passerby.
Reading Sandstone Spine you will share in the adventure of three weeks on the trail in the wild southwest, you will share in the awe of discovering unknown villages, and you will learn much about the complex culture that did and still does call the southwest home.
National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of Washington and Oregon
Jonathon Alderfer, Ed.
National Geographic, March 2006, 272 pages.
My interest in birds goes back to time spent at my Grandparents’ place in rural Arkansas. The dining room table looked out through sliding glass doors to a wide array of bird feeders. Anytime an unfamiliar bird stopped in, my brother and I would race to the massive illustrated bird book to see if we could identify the stranger. A book like The National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of Washington and Oregon would have been a much more accessible place to start.
Editor Jonathan Alderfer has created a concise overview for identifying and learning the basics about the birds of the Northwest. This compact, 4″ x 6″ – 272 page field guide dedicates two pages to each of the 186 birds it covers. Rather than using a taxonomic order, Mr. Alderfer has organized the field guide by bird families-this way similar birds can be more easily differentiated. The primary illustration is a full-page photograph. Smaller illustrations are used to show differences between the bird in question and other species that they are often confused with, or when relevant, to show the different markings and coloration of the male and female. Each species is identified in English, with its Latin genus and species found directly underneath.
The written description begins by pointing out specific physical clues used for identifying the bird, such as body shape and size, bill length and plumage color or pattern. The behavior section then details certain characteristics to look or listen for in the field. The habitat section describes areas that are most likely to support the featured species. Preferred nesting locations of breeding birds are also included in many cases. The local sites section recommends specific refuges or parks where the featured bird is likely to be found. A section called field notes concludes each entry; here you will find information such as plumage variations within a species, or details about other species that may appear similar. This is a great guide for the experienced birder wanting something to keep in their backpack, or for someone who has just gotten their first bird feeder and binoculars.
Weight Training for Dummies, 3rd Ed.
Liz Neoporent, Suzanne Schlosberg, Shirley J. Archer
For Dummies, March 2006, 388 pages.
Weight training is growing in popularity. Traditionally thought as exercise routines for bodybuilders, research is showing that lifting weights strengthens your bones, helps lose body fat, increases your strength and energy levels, and improves your quality of life. However, many novices are intimidated by the exercise machines, lingo, and program design. Weight Training for Dummies will give you the confidence to safely start a training program at the gym or in your home.
To help get started, the authors outline the appropriate lingo regarding equipment, lifting techniques, and basic muscle anatomy. Gym or home training programs utilize free weights (dumbbells and barbells), machines, and rubber exercise bands and tubes. Medicine balls and exercise stability balls should be added to this list. The book outlines the pros and cons of each piece of equipment.
Safety is always a concern when lifting weights. The authors provide safety tips for before, during and after lifting weights. Remember, pain with resistive training is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The idea of no pain, no gain will eventually lead to doctor’s office visit.
Weight training is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. When performed correctly, lifting weights can benefit all body types, from adolescents to senior citizens. Before beginning any exercise program, make sure your have medical clearance from a healthcare professional. The next step is to set training goals. Research shows 50% of all people who begin a new program quit in the first six to eight weeks.
The book outlines in detail each muscle group with how to pictures of several common exercises. Basic set-up, proper form, and do’s and don’ts of each exercise ensure safety for the novice. Sample programs are provided as a guideline to get started.
Now you are ready to start a lifting program. Weight Training for Dummies is a great tool for beginners. Use this book to discover the wonderful benefits of strength training.
Jess Walter: The Urban Outdoors
By Jess Walter
This is what occurred to me a few weeks ago as I was handing out plastic cups of gin to thirsty Bloomsday runners at the six-mile mark.
Runners do not appear to like gin. Especially Kenyans.
I find it the most refreshing of the boozes myself, but as lean-muscled grimacers in hankie-shorts ran off with cups of the cool clear liquid, they almost all spun to glare at me. Perhaps they were disappointed to not find garnishes or olives; I can’t know what’s in the heart of an athlete, aside from doped blood.
But as I watched those runners shamelessly litter their cocktail cups onto streets and into shrubberies, I thought about my environmentally-minded friends who’ve been scolding me for the pointlessness of this column. “I saw your column,” they’ll say, and then shake their heads. (The consensus seems to be that with a pathological moron in the White House-uh, all due respect-and money-grubbing corporations and developers routinely slipping roofies to forests and streams before taking them back to their fraternities, I am somehow complicit in the rampant abuse of natural resources because I have thus far used this valuable platform to write about: 1. the pair of climbing shoes I accidentally bought, and 2. poop.)
Guilty. I know my enviro-buddies would be happier if I wrote about substantive things like, say, litter. Or rivers.
But I have two problems with classic environmental writing. First, so many of the descriptions are dangerously close to pornography. (I have only seen two things referred to as a “purple-headed soldier” and one of them was a tree.) And second, so much outdoor writing is humorless, romanticized and scolding. (I exclude from all criticism the great Rich Landers, because he is funny and reasonable, and because I still owe him $1,400 over a drunken bet and the ensuing emergency room bill after he lamely insisted that I couldn’t shoot a can of Miller High Life off his bare ass with a crossbow.)
There is another outdoor writer whose work I admire greatly, who made some money in the oil business, and then moved to Montana and set about trying to save the Yaak Valley. The Yaak is a stunning place and saving it is a great cause, but I wonder about moving to “the woods” and then slamming the door shut behind yourself to protect it from other people who only want what you have. Namely, the woods.
This is why I might be the greatest environmentalist in the world. Because I avoid the woods at all costs. And I grew up in the woods. My family still owns some of the woods and unless my dad reads this column, I stand to inherit some of the woods. But from my experience in the woods, it is boring and there is very little ethnic food.
This is why I’d have a lot more respect for outdoor writers if they penned their porno screeds from downtown condos somewhere. Spokane, for instance. Where every May they could help me pass out liquor to thirsty distance runners.
Jess Walter’s novel, Citizen Vince, will be available in paperback at the end of June.
Catch Tasty and Safe Fish
By Fenton Roskelley
Northwest fishermen know that many lakes, streams and even the Pacific Ocean are polluted with a variety of substances that can harm them if they eat too many of the fish they catch. They also know that fish in numerous lakes taste muddy or grassy.
The good news is that hundreds of Inland Northwest lakes and streams are either pollution-free or nearly pollution-free and produce fish that are dear to a gourmet’s heart.
PCBs, DDT, lead, mercury, arsenic and other substances taint once-pure waters. Among the most popular Inland Northwest lakes and streams that hold one or more poisonous substances are Washington’s Spokane, Columbia, Walla Walla and Yakima rivers, Roosevelt and Chelan lakes, and Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene, Pend Oreille Lakes and, surprisingly, Priest Lake. Priest, however, is an almost-pure lake.
Humans began polluting lakes and streams more than 100 years ago. Mining operations have been responsible for much of the pollution, but businesses, farmers, ranchers, communities and others have contributed to the sorry state of many waters. Finally, as the result of political pressure from many environmentalists and community leaders, measures are in effect to end the pollution and even reverse the harm done over many years. Some waters, however, will remain polluted for many years.
Despite advisories by state health agencies, many anglers who fish polluted waters continue to eat as many tainted fish as they catch. For example, Lake Roosevelt is popular with rainbow, walleye and kokanee fishermen, many of whom ignore the warnings.
Tech Cominco Ltd, which operates a huge smelter in Trail, B.C. just north of the U.S-Canada border, is primarily responsible for PCBs, mercury and dioxins in Lake Roosevelt. Walleyes and other fish species are especially tainted with pollutants in the upper part of the lake, but all fish, especially bottom fish, contain the poisons along the 100-mile lake.
Washington’s Office of Environmental Health Assessments recommends that pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and children eat no more than two meals of walleyes a month. However, there are no restrictions for other consumers. Many anglers release the fish they hook and at least as many eat their catches.
The state health department and Spokane Regional Health District divide the Spokane River in three sections: Upriver Dam to Idaho border, Upriver Dam to Nine-Mile Dam and Lake Spokane (Long Lake). The most polluted section is from Upriver Dam to the Idaho border; it’s also classified as a catch-and-release water. The warnings are for poachers who keep fish and eat every fish they catch in the upper section.
The agencies recommend that people eat no more than one fish a month caught in the middle section. It’s safe to eat fish in the lower section, the agencies say.
The Idaho Health and Welfare Department has issued a special advisory for Lake Coeur d’Alene, contaminated by mining wastes. Fish sampled contained mercury, lead and arsenic at levels that could cause health problems. For anglers who plan to fish the lake, it’s wise to go to the agency’s website and study the advisory.
All anglers, especially women and children, should consume only a few meals of lake trout and whitefish caught at Lake Pend Oreille, the department says. As for Priest Lake, the levels of mercury are not high enough to affect the general public, but could affect unborn or small children.
It’s virtually impossible to list the scores of lakes and streams that produce the best-tasting fish in Washington and Idaho. Veteran anglers who love to eat fish have learned, mostly by trial and error, which of the waters they prefer to fish. Among them in the Spokane region are Badger, Williams, Rock, Fish, Sprague, Loon, Deer, Waitts, and most of the small lakes, especially those stocked with cutthroat, in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Most of the small lakes in Idaho’s Panhandle produce excellent-tasting fish. The Panhandle’s Coeur d’Alene, St. Joe, Clearwater, Lochsa and Selway rivers and their tributaries yield tasty trout, whitefish, steelhead and salmon.
So what about the other waters where the fish are not so tasty? Listing them individually would be highly controversial, I won’t list the lakes that many fish-eating anglers avoid. Numerous factors, including algae blooms, weed growth and water quality, cause fish to have a disagreeable taste.
It’s possible to minimize the substances that taint fish. To reduce the disagreeable taste, an angler should remove entrails of a fish as soon as possible and then put the fish on ice. Towing fish around a lake on a stringer is a sure way to take home bad-tasting fish.
Another way of improving a fish’s taste is to cut away the back, side and belly fat and skin the fish. Grilling, baking and broiling helps drain away fat that contributes to a poor-tasting fish. Some fishermen cook fish on a rack so juices and fat will drop off.
A fish, whether it is a trout, bass, perch, walleye, steelhead or salmon, is a great source of protein and omega-3 acids and is a low-fat food. The region’s anglers are fortunate that most waters still produce plenty of high quality and mouth-watering fish.
To find out which waters are polluted in Idaho and Washington, anglers should contact state health agencies.
Washington: http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/oehas/eha_fish_adv.htm or (360) 236-3191.
Idaho: http://www.healthandwelfare.Idaho.gov or toll free (866) 240-3553.
Subura Ironman Canada, Penticton BC
By Angie Deirdorff Petro
Toby De Paolo thinks there should be more triathletes like him making the five-hour scenic drive to Penticton for Ironman Canada-guys (and gals) who scrape together the entry fee, retrofit an old ten-speed Bridgestone R1 with tri handles, camp out in a local’s backyard, and who might enjoy a homemade ale the night before the big day at Barley Mill Brew Pub.
Not that De Paolo didn’t take his first Ironman North America seriously. He just wants people to know you don’t need to be rich, sponsored, or be the perfect physical specimen to compete in the ultimate triathlon, and Penticton is a great place to become an Ironman.
“I saw all different body types in Penticton. And you don’t have to break the bank to be an Ironman either,” says De Paolo, who danced in celebration across the Ironman Canada 2005 finish line with a time of 12:40. “It can be an expensive sport but it doesn’t have to be.”
Penticton is a popular choice for first-timers like De Paolo, in part because of its beautiful setting. With a population of around 40,000, Penticton, British Columbia, is surrounded by mountains and Okanagan and Skaha Lakes to the north and south. Tourism is a primary industry year-round in Penticton-the Okanagan Valley region offers some of the best grape-growing weather in the world; tours of the over 30 boutique wineries are a popular attraction. The city boasts more hours of sun than any other in Canada, attracting thousands to its famous beaches each year, and Apex Mountain Ski Resort is only 21 miles west of town.
But the event that brings in more money, visitors and positive exposure in such a short time period is Subaru Ironman Canada. With approximately 2,200 athletes, 4,500 volunteers (known collectively as the “Iron Army”), and thousands of spectators, one of the favorite triathlons in the Ironman North America franchise is in Penticton, and in 2006 the race will be held on Sunday, August 27.
Ironman Canada is the oldest Ironman to be held in continental North America. Now in its 24th year, it is widely considered one of the best and most athlete-friendly Ironman events in the world.
“Veteran competitors often recommend Penticton to Ironman “virgins” for their first,” says Judy Senes, President of the local Ironman Canada Race Society. “There are three main reasons why the course is such a favorite among competitors. One-it includes the most scenic and beautiful terrain of all Ironman competitions; two-we have more aid stations than any other; and three-we have significant medical tents.”
The event is so popular that registration for Ironman Canada practically fills up the day after each race by 3 PM, with a lottery held later for a few remaining spots . So whether a veteran or a virgin triathlete, virtually the only way to get in the 2007 event is to head up to Penticton and stand in line on August 28 with your $500.
Places to sleep during the event fill up almost as fast as the registration. A wide range of accommodations can be had in Penticton for anywhere from $13.50 to $300 US a night, but rumors are flying on the Internet that rooms in local resorts, hotels, motels, b&b’s and the lone hostel are already scarce for Ironman 2006. However, those interested in watching the race or signing up for next year, may still be able to find a room with a four night minimum stay. Area campsites, rooms at Apex Mountain or in Kelowna (42 miles from Penticton) may also be available. Also, many local residents open their homes to athletes for the weekend (contact Penticton Visitor Information for lodging assistance).
Once you have somewhere to stay, you will want to take advantage of everything Penticton has to offer: the beaches, the wineries, the bike trails and the amazing variety of over 100 restaurants and bars. A few favorite spots for visitors and locals are Voo Doos (tapas, live music, and an alternative crowd), Grean Beanz Cafe (organic coffee), Dream Cafe (vegetarian, live music) and the Barley Mill (handcrafted micro brew). You can also load up on healthy local fruit and veggies at the farmer’s market held in town on Saturday morning. For competitors and their guests, Penticton’s Trade and Convention Centre hosts a buffet dinner the Friday before the race-the meal for 4,000 has a great reputation with triathletes world-wide.
The stunning geographical setting of the Penticton race combined with the incredible support of the entire town and its thousands of dedicated volunteers make Ironman Canada a must for aspiring triathletes or the wanna-be spectator. “It is a real team effort,” adds Senes, “the locals open their homes and hearts to the athletes.” For Toby DePaolo, Penticton will always be his first and sentimental favorite, and he’ll most-likely be back to compete in Ironman Canada again someday-his goal is to compete in Ironman competitions for the rest of his life at least once in every age group.
Maybe he should reserve his campsite before he starts training for Ironman Canada ’08.
For more information on Penticton and the Subaru Ironman Canada: http://www.ironman.ca, http://www.welcometopenticton.com or http://www.penticton.org.
Ironman N. America: (888) 280-9097 ext. 27 or Penticton Visitor Info: (250) 493-4055.
When You Go:
Penticton, British Columbia, is about 225 miles from Spokane, a 6-hour drive. From Spokane, head west on I-90 and take exit #277 onto US-2 West toward Davenport. Go 19.1 miles. US-2 West will turn into Broadway Street, go 1 mile. Continue to follow US-2 East for 42.4 miles. Turn Right onto WA-21 and go .6 mile. Continue on WA-174 for 19.1 miles. Turn Right onto Midway Avenue, go .5 mile. Midway Avenue becomes Grand Coulee Highway (WA-155) go .1 mile. Continue to follow WA-155 for 53.7 miles. Turn Right on Main Street North, go .3 mile. Bear Right on Riverside Drive, go .9 mile. Turn Left on US-97, go 22.4 miles. US-97 becomes South Whitcomb Avenue (US-97) go .5 mile. Continue to follow US-97, go 21.2 miles. US-97 becomes HWY-97 North, go 39.2 miles. Head into Penticton.
New County Off-Leash Dog Park
By Amy Silbernagel McCaffrey
“We’re real excited to offer the first pilot project dog park in Spokane County,” says Doug Chase, the director of Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf Department. As early as the end of June, Inland Northwest dog owners will be able to take their tail-wagging best friends to an off-leash play area. Chase and his department have been working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to lease the vacant rest area at State Line, I-90 exit 299. Spokane County purchased about 30 acres adjacent to this property, creating approximately 50 acres of future parkland. “It will be a 3.5 acre area within that [rest area] property that we will be proposing to our commissioners for an off-leash dog park,” says Chase. That site was formerly the leashed pet area for interstate travelers.
For the past few years, Chase has been working with Nancy Hill, director of S.C.R.A.P.S.-Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service-to create this proposal, presented to the Board of Spokane County Commissioners on May 30. “I think they’ll be very excited because they’re all dog owners,” says Chase. “We went to them a couple of years ago and there have been individual chats…since the funding is already available, we’re way ahead of the game…Once we get the board’s formal blessing nothing else stands in the way.”
Because of the park’s proximity to I-90 and the Spokane River, new 6-foot fencing (as opposed to the typical 4-foot fencing in most dog parks) will surround the perimeter of the off-leash area. There will also be a transition area, or double entry, where owners can get their dog off or on leash. Because of the established restroom facilities and parking lot, the dog park will be ready for public use much faster than the rest of the proposed park.
“The site is perfect…it’s half wooded and half open, with a nice bowl to throw a Frisbee or ball,” Hill says. “Even though it’s near State Line, we think people will be willing to drive for the opportunity to play with their dogs and others for a few hours…My hope is that this will be one of many sites in the Spokane County area.”
However, the success of this pilot project depends on citizen involvement and a volunteer workforce in the form of a “Friends of the Dog Park” group. Hill cites Seattle’s “Citizens for Off-Leash Areas” (COLA) as an example. This local group will continue fundraising activities, provide periodic clean up of the property, and educate new users to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
In addition to the county dog park, it’s possible that the City of Spokane could also have its own off-leash area. Taylor Bressler, Park Operations Division Manager, says he’s received many requests for an off-leash dog area, particularly in Manito Park. However, only conservation areas are being considered. “The sure thing is that the Park Board has told me they want to get a dog park built and will offer land for that purpose,” Bressler says. “You can put a dog park together in less than six weeks. It wouldn’t be the complete deal, but it’d be a start.” Currently, there are a few sites under consideration, one being a piece of vacant park property off Highway 195 near Quachlan Golf Course. “I wouldn’t launch anything until a citizen group steps up,” Bressler says, and he’s willing to organize a meeting for citizens to discuss a dog park proposal.
To contact Taylor Bressler at the City of Spokane about a potential dog park please email: email@example.com.To learn more about joining the County’s proposed Friends of the Dog Park group, contact S.C.R.A.P.S. (509) 477-2532.
I can’t blame Heidi for wanting to leave after the second or third homeless camper crosses paths with us in People’s Park. If it was just us two here on a weekend bike ride that would be one thing, but we’ve got the kids today and they like to go exploring. She worries they might round a corner in the maze of trails that snake beneath the wild apple trees and stumble upon, well, who-knows-what.
She has a point. When I worked People’s Park for the Annual Spokane River Clean-Up I came across multiple condom wrappers, underwear, and every sort of alcohol container known to man. I’ve seen gnarly, naked, middle-aged butts down here and clothed ones that looked less friendly.
But I love People’s Park so much that I can’t keep away from it-and I want the kids to be able to love it too. When I grew up it seemed like there was a lot more wilderness on the edge of the city than there is now. That makes People’s-an amazingly wild site a minute west of Downtown Spokane-an even a stronger draw for me now. Here you see wildflowers and wildlife woven together in a network of bent over trees and bushes that form little nooks along the river. Trails snake between these spots and what makes them perfect for illicit activities also makes them a perfect place for kids to play.
While there are a couple roads that might date back to the early 20th century, when much of the park had working-class housing on it, other trails surely date back further, when the park was solely the dominion of the local tribes-a sacred gathering place where they could fish for salmon of outlandish proportions before dams cut off the runs.
I’m pretty sure I can convince Heidi to come back here with the kids, maybe on a Sunday morning when the activity level at the park is low. The homeless campers mostly want to be left alone. As for folks doing other things, all I can say is that if the sound of a two-year-old squealing at the top of her lungs at the sight of a snail is a buzzkill for you, well, tough luck.