Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 10:54 a.m.
Down in Peaceful Valley, there’s a new way to reach the Spokane River gorge and all the recreational opportunities it has to offer.
A new boat launch in Redband Park allows rafters year-round access to the shoreline during changing water levels.
“So not only is it a lot easier to put in during the spring, it gives us a lot of room here in the park to stage our equipment. But, also during lower times of the year, we’re not having to walk across those ankle- breaking rocks,” explained Josh Flanagan, of Wiley E. Waters Rafting.
Rafts slide their way down the ramp, while paddlers and anglers find solid footing on a series of steps.
“It’s just really nice, on days like today, when we’ve got 67 people coming out. It’s gonna make it a lot easier to use our resources better and make it a lot safer too,” added Flanagan.
The majority of funding for the project came from the Washington State Department of Commerce; it’s an investment in tourism, which also benefits local residents.
The new launch is a chance for visitors like Christy Larson, from North Carolina, to get close to nature without going very far from her hotel room.
“We are so thrilled to be a part of this. Just the excitement of checking a box off the bucket list. This was a choice between a spa day and whitewater rafting and I said, ‘hands down whitewater rafting’,” recalled Larson.
The Spokane River Forum, the City of Spokane and the Spokane Conservation District spent four years developing the launch.
Even Peaceful Valley residents helped to fund the project.
“It’s really neat to be able to have that access at that point, where you’re getting into the water at a city park, now with a nice parking lot and turn around area,” said Brandon Blankenagel, of the City of Spokane Public Works Department.
So now, it’s easier than ever to float the Spokane River.
Conservationists are hoping the more people enjoy the river, the more they’ll try to protect it.
For more information on how the City is protecting the river, visit Spokanecity.org.