Friends of the Bluff is a volunteer-run, 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Every donation makes a difference.
Our ongoing projects may not be as exciting to hear about, but they're absolutely critical if we want the bluff to remain a healthy, biodiverse habitat. Any of these efforts can be increased if deemed a priority by bluff users and donors.
We are in the process of working with experts to create a Vegetative Management Plan for the bluff. This plan will help us identify and remove invasive species, before eventually restoring the areas with native vegetation. We are also working with the Spokane Conservation District to mitigate erosion and improve the riparian area along Hangman Creek.
Over the past several years, Friends of the Bluff has been hiring a herd of goats to help reduce the amount of dry brush and low-hanging vegetation that help wildfires climb up trees and spread faster. We also created training videos for “Lop and Scatter” volunteers and group leaders, allowing us to ramp up our volunteer-led efforts to thin out doghair (dense stands of small trees) all over the bluff.
Due to the soil’s sandy composition, the bluff’s trails often seem like they’re in a constant state of disrepair. The lack of signage and steep trailheads scare some people away from venturing far from High Drive. Trail signs are on the way, and thanks to a new partnership with the OuterSpatial app, all of the bluff’s trails and points of interest will also be available in the palm of your hand. Visitors can see their exact location along the trails and report and issues that need to be addressed.
Roughly 1 year ago, Friends of the Bluff gave a presentation to the Parks Department outlining how little access there is to the bluff (excluding High Drive). The slideshow from that presentation can be viewed here. After the presentation, we worked with the Parks Department to identify which opportunities offered the most benefit with the least resistance.
Shortly after the presentation mentioned above, Friends of the Bluff hired AHBL, a landscape architecture firm that has a long history of working with the Spokane Parks Department. They spent a few months taking measurements and created plans for a staircase that will replace the steep, slippery slope that is currently known as “Rocket Gulch.” The stairs will include a railing and drainage, in addition to preventing further erosion. The plans can be viewed here.
IMPROVED CREEKSIDE ACCESS
When all of the golf courses were shut down during the pandemic, hikers and bikers were locked out of the Creekside trail that starts on public land at the entrance of the Qualchan Golf Course. That started a years-long discussion that has finally resulted in the management accepting improvements to the trail and trailhead immediately adjacent to the bridge. We are still exploring various parking solutions. We have also begun discussions about improving access at Campion Park, including the long-term goal of installing a pedestrian bridge.
PRESERVE 57th & HATCH ACCESS
Most of our supporters are well versed in the “Tuscan Ridge” saga. For years, Friends of the Bluff has worked tirelessly to find a way to conserve the 23-acre private parcel at the corner of Hatch and 57th, but despite our best efforts, we haven’t made much headway. We hope that getting an appraisal will reveal a new path forward, but at the current asking price ($3.3m), our options are limited.