Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Friday, January 29, 2021 at 9 p.m.
Take the plunge down into Peaceful Valley and you’ll see it’s getting a lot safer and easier to enjoy what the Spokane River Gorge has to offer.
“It’s just a spectacular river gorge, just minutes from downtown. It just creates this opportunity to appreciate the place where we live,” said Sheila Collins after she walked across the Sandifur Memorial Bridge.
The gorge is now home to new sculptures that reflect its Native American heritage.
Last fall the City paved the parking lot at People’s Park, installing security lighting.
New stairs near the Sandifur bridge will improve public access to the river while reducing wear and tear on the shoreline.
“So part of the project includes installing these eight-foot wide, precast, slip-resistant stairs that’ll allow us to access the river without further contributing to the erosion,” explained Kyle Twohig, Director of the City of Spokane’s Engineering Services Department.
Up until now, people walking from Kendall Yards, down to the Sandifur Bridge had to turn around where the trail dead ends at People’s Park.
“There’s a lot of repeating the same walk that you’ve just done, on your way back, on your way in, so it would be nice to have a loop,” Collins lamented as doubled back on her route.
Fortunately, Spokane took a big step toward having a loop trail, on both sides of the gorge, just before Christmas.
That’s when the Spokane Club signed an easement allowing the City to lay down a new section of trail just downstream of the Monroe Street Bridge.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have the trail to come right through our property to create more of these views and vistas right down this river and wonderful views of the falls that you won’t see anywhere else in Spokane. So to be part of that, the Spokane Club is extremely proud,” said John O’Connor, General Manager of the Spokane Club.
“And this is where the new section of the Gorge Loop Trail will get its start, just below CSO 26. This elevated ramp will continue on underneath the Monroe Street Bridge. Part of our plan to draw the fun and activities of Riverfront Park down inside the gorge,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said as she stood just below CSO 26.
At the same time, the City is working to protect the river, capturing storm water runoff in new tanks and swales.
“When we have the opportunity to enjoy this trail facility and recreate here, it is also our responsibility to be stewards of this river,” added Twohig.
And so it’s time for the Spokane River Gorge to come full circle with a new four and a half-mile long loop trail.
It’s a vision a non-profit group called “Friends of the Falls” laid out in the Great Gorge Master Plan nearly 20 years ago.
Now, these latest, ongoing efforts promise to unlock the beauty and serenity of Peaceful Valley for generations to come.