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Public Invited to Unveiling of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Concept Plan

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Join us for a walk along the proposed Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail. Photo by Lisa Ailport. Join us for a walk along the proposed Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail. Photo by Lisa Ailport.

The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality invite the public to celebrate the completion of a conceptual plan for the proposed shoreline trail corridor and to learn about the environmental assessment of the project area. This free public event begins at 5:30 p.m,. Sept. 23 at the Edgewater Resort conference room.

SANDPOINT, Idaho – After more than a year of workshops, meetings and public outreach, advocates for the proposed Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail are celebrating the completion of a community-driven concept plan to help guide the development of a public trail corridor along the northwest shore of Lake Pend Oreille.

An unveiling of the plan is planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Edgewater Motel conference center, near the southern terminus of the proposed trail. The free public event will highlight information about the plan and the current environmental assessment of the proposed trail corridor.

Copies of the 43-page plan and accompanying map will be available for review, while city officials, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the National Park Service, Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and Idaho Conservation League will be on hand to answer questions. Refreshments will be served.

“This plan reflects the community’s desire to improve lake access, and provides some guidance on how to get there,” said Ponderay Mayor Carol Kunzeman, master of ceremonies for the Sept. 23 event. “This document will help our city to attract the resources needed to make the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail a reality.”

The city councils for Ponderay, Kootenai and Sandpoint, and the Bonner County Commissioners, all passed resolutions this summer endorsing the concept plan.

The proposed trail corridor would extend from Sandpoint City Beach to the eastern gateway for the city of Kootenai, and would include waterfront access while providing a non-motorized trail connecting the cities of Kootenai, Ponderay and Sandpoint.

The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, a community-based organization, was awarded a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program to help engage the public and stakeholders in the creation of a concept plan for the project.

The group has worked closely with the cities, county and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, which are coalition partners in a federal brownfields grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The purpose of that grant is to evaluate the extent of contamination from industrial activities in the trail corridor and plan for its cleanup.

Key to the implementation of the concept plan, however, will be agreements between the local jurisdictions and private property owners to acquire easements or property in the corridor for public access.

“We have the desire, we’re building momentum, and now we have a roadmap,” Kunzeman said. “It’s an exciting time for the trail project.”

The event on Sept. 23 will be preceded by a guided walk with Steve Gill of Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Alex Stone of the National Park Service and Jan Griffitts of the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. The walk begins at 3 p.m. at the north end of the Sandpoint City Beach Parking Lot.

A second walk is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, led by Griffitts and Susan Drumheller, Idaho Conservation League. This walk includes a shoreline cleanup at Black Rock. Bring gloves!

For more information, or to see a copy of the concept plan, visit www.pobtrail.org.

 

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Susan Drumheller

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