At the start of November, Friends of the Bluff's Board of Directors, past and present, gathered to reconnect, share ideas, and recommit to the unique, priceless community asset that we all know as "the bluff."
Since that meeting, FOB's directors have pledged a collective $3,000 to our 2023 Giving Tuesday Challenge - if the community can match their commitment by the end of November. Don't miss this opportunity to double your donation!
You Tell Us What to Prioritize
We have a lot of irons in the fire right now, so we want to know what you think. We put together a survey that will allow you to tell us which initiatives to direct these funds toward. All of our active "Friends" - along with anyone who donates to this initiative - will be sent a private survey link so you can help us determine the bluff's most pressing needs.
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 any 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 40-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.
Other Ways to Donate
What Happens Next
Once your donation is received, you will be sent a link to our private survey, where you will be able to indicate your priorities and help us decide where the funds should be directed. The survey will remain open until the end of the year to ensure that those who mail their donations have adequate time to respond.