Little Spokane River – Conservation and Trails

Community leaders in Spokane County are exploring how to advance conservation objectives while creating new recreational opportunities for Fairwood homeowners and the broader community of Spokane.  The well-loved Little Spokane River with it’s natural springs coming off of the Waikiki bluff (Gonzaga Retreat center and Fairwood Drive), the expansive 100 year flood plain, the tall cottonwoods and the meandering river with abundant bird life is an attractive walk any time of the year.

Could future conservation lands fused with State-owned Fish and Wildlife parcels secure for generations an enhanced natural landscape with public recreational opportunities?

We think in the affirmative!

Efforts to Date:

  • Research & Negotiations with key property owners on landuse: goals & objectives
  • Nomination of select properties for Spokane County Conservation Futures program funding
  • Dialogue with Washington State Fish and Wildlife Region 1 Director Steve Pozzanghera and staff regarding their State landuse: goals & objectives and shared stewardship among Fairwood I and II
  • Conceptual discussions-
    • access within the context of sensitive private boundaries,
    • reducing soils and plant damage of user groups through education and restoration
    • trails to lengthen and improve the sense of place
    • continuity with the larger complex of the Little Spokane Natural Area
  • Nicoterra Trails created a geographic study of the area: Middle of the Little Spokane River Scoping Study under the request of the  Fairwood Farmers Market .  The Study reviews the conditions of the site, the values of the community, and provided recommendations for securing conservation on Waikiki Springs.
  • Washington State Parks learned of these local conservation efforts and, in support included them in the 2018 Comprehensive Classification and Management Plan for Riverside State Park.  Through State legislation, the Parks Department adopted the area within their Long Term Boundary, to consider acquiring or managing in the future.
  • In March of 2020, District #3 Legislative Representative Marcus Riccelli sponsored a funding bill to secure key properties of the Little Spokane River as The Waikiki Springs Natural Area Washington 2020 Legislative Bill item  .  The Spokane Tribe has expressed interest in implementing the habitat provisions of this bill.


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