If you’ve ridden your bike on the Spokane River Centennial Trail or Fish Lake Trail, hiked in the Dishman Hills Natural Area, or enjoyed any of the abundant open spaces in Spokane County you have the work of hundreds of citizen volunteers with the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition to thank for the Spokane County Trails Plan and over $7 million in improvements. Now it’s time to give your input for the next iteration of the plan.
The INTC is a consortium of outdoor recreation and conservation organizations that promotes and advocates for viable natural habitat and trail corridors, both land and water. INTC’s vision is a system of paths, trails and open space corridors that connect neighborhoods, community and regional parks and conservation land in the region to engage people in muscle-powered recreational and conservation opportunities, promote active transportation, and preserve open space to enhance the region’s quality of life.
A bit of history on the trails plan from INTC board president Lunell Haught:
Trails are a high priority for Spokane County, as community needs surveys demonstrate that trails are the most used and desired facility. When line-item budget cuts meant that the Spokane County Parks, Recreation & Golf Department couldn’t move forward with the development of a non-motorized trails plan, the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition (INTC)—with nudges from the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce (now Greater Spokane Inc.) and Washington Bikes—stepped in.
The nascent coalition of trail supporters recognized both the ripe opportunity to create a regional trail system and the need for leadership, and decided this would be the new INTC’s inaugural project. Over the course of three years, the Spokane County Regional Trails Plan was drafted by citizen members and friends of the INTC in conjunction with the National Parks Service, Washington Bikes, Spokane County Building and Planning, and Parks, Recreation and Golf and adopted in 2008. It has provided guidance for jurisdictions and agencies in developing and maintaining trails and been critical in securing more than $7,000,000 in funding for trail and conservation areas.
The Spokane County Trails Plan will be updated in 2013 and an essential aspect of this is public input, which the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition is responsible for securing. Input will be received through an online survey as well as in person at locations throughout the county during the summer.