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Recent Press:

January 22, 2015

Students snowshoe Mount Spokane, learn of safety, snowpack

 The Spokesman-Review

Their breath caught in clouds of frosty air, but the frigid temperatures didn't chill the enthusiasm of the 21 students from the Community School, as they gathered at Mount Spokane last week for a snowshoeing adventure.

This is the third year Kat Hall, conservation programs director for the Lands Council, has taken students to Mount Spokane to learn about winter safety and the importance of the snowpack in our region.

The field trip is part of Project Sustain, the Lands Council's environmental education program. "The point is for the kids to realize the snow they're digging in and throwing at their friends, will eventually be the water they put their canoes in on the river," Hall said.

Read full story

Long Lake pollution study worries Suncrest residents

The Spokesman-Review

Andy Gendaszek dove into the shallow water along Long Lake's shoreline earlier this week, targeting dark, weedy areas downstream from housing developments.

When he emerged, the U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist was grasping handfuls of pondweed.

Read full article

OUTDOORS - The spokesman review - rich landers

Field reports: Mount Spokane land classifications affect ski area expansion

PARKS Land classification proposals that could make or break plans to expand the Mount Spokane alpine ski area will be presented at the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Thursday in Bellingham.

The outdoors can be a bit hard to tame - but for restoration ecologist Joe Cannon, that's part of why it's worth preserving

July 6, 2014 
 The Spokesman-Review

South End Project aims to enlarge ATV access while protecting Colville National Forest land

For years, human activity has trashed the pristine ecosystem of Phillips Lake.

Campsites are strewn with human waste and beer cans. Signs and fences have been shot, pushed to the ground or stolen for firewood. Graffiti tags the boulders that rise high above the lake and reappears after every time it's cleaned off.

Read full article

June 11, 2014 by  The Spokesman-Review

Rules sought for conflicts over wolves

Northeast Washington ranchers have begun moving their cattle to remote Forest Service meadows, where many of the herds will spend the summer grazing in territory occupied by the state's growing wolf population.

With a high potential for conflicts, eight environmental groups have petitioned state officials to create rules that would place limits on killing wolves that attack livestock.

Read full article

March 6, 2014
The Spokesman-Review

Confluence Project lets science students get outdoors

MOUNT SPOKANE STATE PARK Cass Hansen's head just crested the top of a snow pit that she and other Post Falls High School students dug on Wednesday.

The snow depth was 161 centimeters, almost as tall as Hansen's height of 5 feet 3 inches.

Digging through the first couple feet of snow was easy for the honors biology students, but they soon hit layers of harder, crustier material.

Full story

December 2,2013

Finch Arboretum creek to be restored for redband trout

The Spokesman-Review

A small creek that flows the length of John A. Finch Arboretum will soon become a better home for fish.

But that will require removing some structures built in an attempt to beautify the park.

Spokane's city parks department and several other groups will restore portions of Garden Springs Creek with the help of a $154,000 state Department of Ecology grant.

The natural creek, fed by springs above Finch Arboretum, flows through the city park, along a neighborhood, under two freeways and over a small waterfall before meeting Latah Creek near the 11th Avenue Bridge.

Full story

October 23, 2013


Posted on October 23, 2013 at 6:26 AM

The Lands Council's Green Sleeves project aims to make a difference for offenders and for the environment

KREM 2's Breanna Roy reports on our Green Sleeves project.

read full story

October 8, 2013 in Opinion

Editorial: Spokane stormwater gardens may help both river, city

A $30,000 contract with the Lands Council may help the city of Spokane siphon off some of the potential $350 million cost of separating and treating stormwater runoff.

It's a pittance, but if successful could be one of several steps the city hopes will whack $100 million off that treatment bill.

read full article

October 3, 2013

Shadle-area stormwater gardens will filter runoff

The Spokesman-Review

 The city is contracting with the Lands Council on a pilot stormwater management project in the Shadle area.

We are pretty excited about this," said Mike Peterson, executive director of the Lands Council. It's the first time the council, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the quality of life and the environment in the Inland Northwest has contracted with the city.

read full article

September 24, 2013 Press Release



full press release here


Spokesman Review
September 18, 2013 in Idaho

Ski expansion at standstill

Appeals court calls for environmental study of Mt. Spokane

A state appeals court has halted a major expansion at Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, saying that the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission erred by not requiring a detailed study of how a new chairlift and runs would impact old-growth forest, meadows and wetlands.

Tuesday's ruling was hailed by The Lands Council, which appealed an earlier court ruling on the issue. The Spokane-based environmental group opposes the nonprofit ski area's expansion into 279 acres on the mountain's northwest face, which is recognized as having one of the largest unbroken tracts of subalpine habitat left in Spokane County.

"A major decision to turn what was a de facto natural area into a ski area expansion in a state park, said Mike Petersen, The Lands Council's executive director.

Preparing the environmental impact statement required by the Washington Court of Appeals will take at least two years, Petersen predicted.

"This really sets them back," he said. "We think it just might put an end to it."

Officials from the state Parks and Recreation Commission were not available for comment Tuesday afternoon. In a 2011 interview, however, a commission spokeswoman described the ski resort expansion as "the classic paradox for the commission, which has a dual mission of providing recreation and protecting the resource for future generations.

Brad McQuarrie, Mt. Spokane's general manager, had not read the ruling but said the resort's expansion has been on hold, pending the court's decision.

Mount Spokane State Park encompasses about 14,000 acres. The ski resort has leased about 2,300 acres from the state since the 1950s, including the 1,450-acre alpine ski resort.

Five years ago, Mt. Spokane submitted plans for developing the remaining 850 acres. The resort later pared down its plans, intending to develop 279 acres and leave the remaining acreage in a natural state.

Mt. Spokane's expansion plan calls for a new chairlift and seven ski runs on the mountain's northwest side. Proponents say it would give Mt. Spokane's operators access to deeper snows on the north-facing slopes, helping the resort extend its season and compete with other ski resorts in the region.

The ski area is operated by Mt. Spokane 2000, which would be required to pay for any improvements. Mt. Spokane 2000 is headed by Jim Meyer, the husband of Betsy Cowles, who is chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review.

In May 2011, the Parks and Recreation commission voted to give the 279 acres a land-use designation compatible with recreation, allowing the expansion effort to progress. However, the ski resort was required to prepare an environmental impact statement when it submitted a detailed development proposal.

The Lands Council challenged the commission's decision, saying an environmental impact statement was required before the commission approved the ski area expansion.

The Washington State Court of Appeals agreed. Tuesday's ruling said that state law requires decision-makers to "be apprised of the environmental consequences before the project picks up momentum, not after."

The ruling also cited the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's concerns about the ski area expansion. Department officials said the old-growth area provides important habitat for elk, moose and rare forest carnivores, including lynx and wolverines.

The Lands Council also wants Mt. Spokane to thrive, Petersen said. But he thinks that resort operators could improve Mt. Spokane's draw through investments in the existing operation, such as renovating the lodge, installing faster chair lifts and developing new runs.

"It's close to Spokane and it's a great family area," he said of the ski hill.

Press Release

September 17, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Mike Petersen, Executive Director

                The Lands Council

                (509) 209-2406



The Lands Council has won a court action that challenged the re-classification of part of Mt. Spokane State Park to allow a ski area expansion. We are pleased that the appellate court judges agreed with our concerns that Washington State Parks Commission failed to follow the law by allowing a ski area expansion in Mt. Spokane State Park.  At stake is the largest old growth stand in Spokane County, which the Commission had said could be opened up to ski area expansion. 

The Washington State Court of Appeals said that "...the Commission's failure to prepare an EIS for the 2011 classification decision violated the terms of SEPA and its rules and was contrary to governing case law. We affirm the trial court's ruling that the Lands Council had standing under SEPA to bring this action. We hold that SEPA required the Commission to prepare an EIS for its May 2011 classification decision and, accordingly, we reverse the trial court's summary judgment order dismissing the Land Council's claims under SEPA."

Their decision is the first step in permanently protecting the magnificent old growth on the west side of Mt. Spokane - which is our largest state park. As the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wrote in a letter opposing the expansion; "The native old growth forest habitat on the northern aspect of Mount Spokane is an extremely unique forest ecosystem for the region with a high value for wildlife and species diversity.  The northern aspect is the very feature that makes this forest type unique from all other forest areas within Mount Spokane State Park.  Considering its size, its unfragmented condition, along with its stage of forest succession structure and complexity, a similar forest cannot be found anywhere else in the Spokane County regional area, nor replicated. " The Lands Council found that some of the trees in the proposed lift line were over 200 years old. 

Mike Petersen of the Lands Council said "We hope that the Parks Commission now steps back and questions the plans that the ski area concessionairre has for this park.  We hope to work with the Parks Commission and the concessionairre to improve the existing ski area, and have our own vision that would bring more visitors and still protect the most important old growth forest in Spokane County."

This vision can be found on the Save Mt. Spokane website:  www.savemtspokane.org 



Press Release - August 28, 2013


The Lands Council and Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Form Two-Year Green Sleeves Alliance!

Mike Petersen (509) 838-4912 mpetersen@landscouncil.org, www.landscouncil.org
Sharon Smith (509) 326-8683 info@smith-barbieri.com, www.smith-barbieri.com

Spokane, WA

The Lands Council is pleased to announce an alliance with the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation, for our Green Sleeves project. The Smith-Barbieri Foundation funding enables Green Sleeves to launch and comes with a two-year commitment.

Green Sleeves is a new collaboration between The Lands Council and Geiger Corrections Center that involves Spokane County Detention Services Work Crews and jail-alternative sentencing options. The project also includes educational opportunities for offenders at Geiger Corrections Center with a curriculum focused specifically on employable skills. This program is endorsed by Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Detention Services Director John
McGrath, and Lieutenant Joanne Lake.

"A core mission of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is to reduce poverty in the Inland Northwest," said Sharon Smith, a Foundation Trustee.

"We especially seek new projects that provide our vulnerable citizens access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being and Green Sleeves fits the bill. That it makes positive environmental impacts in our community and includes development of an on-site nursery for even more offender activities and education is icing on the cake.

Executive Director of The Lands Council, Mike Petersen, says, "Thanks to the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, Geiger work crews can begin helping with restoration work and maintenance of native trees and shrubs on local watersheds this October. We are so happy to increase opportunities for jail-alternative sentencing. There is currently a strong push for solutions targeting stormwater management in our community. The Lands Council has been contracted by the city to apply our unique approach, called "low impact development" or "green infrastructure" in Spokane's Shadle neighborhood. Many solutions are as simple as curbside cuts that lead to bioswales containing native plants. We look forward to the help these work crews will provide on this exciting new project as well.

The Lands Council focuses efforts on areas where streamside vegetation has been lacking for years on public and private lands. This work occurs on the Hangman and Little Spokane watersheds, Deep Creek, and Coulee Creek, which all feed into the Spokane River.

Educational sessions for in-house offenders at Geiger will consist
of a lecture and hands-on learning at the on-site native plant nursery. This education can empower the offenders with skills and knowledge required to manage their native plant nursery, provide them with basic and employable knowledge and skills, and increase environmental stewardship. Participants who successfully complete the educational component of Green Sleeves will be prepared to work for local landscaping firms.

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund aims to build upon our region's strong foundation to ensure those in need have every opportunity to succeed.

The Lands Council is a leading environmental non-profit organization based in Spokane, WA, working since 1983 to preserve and revitalize Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife. For more information, visit www. landscouncil.org.


May 16, 2013

Lands Council, STCU, students team up on watershed restoration

The Spokesman-Review

Full article

May 16, 2013

Coeur d'Alene Press

Outdoors classroom

Lands Council grant gives students more opportunities with Project Sustain

By PHIL COOPER/Special to The Press

Full article

April 10, 2013

Mt. Spokane ski expansion hits hurdle

Timber cut permit nixed; reversal downplayed
The Spokesman-Review

Full article

Environmental groups to sue feds over caribou habitat
January 31, 2013
Spokesman-Review Posted by Rich

Full article

Revisiting Reforesting: Organizers take lessons from last year's reforesting event

October 15, 2012 by Chelsea Bannach, The Spokesman-Review

Full Article

Ski area expansion plan in final stage

October 14, 2012 in Outdoors
The Spokesman-Review

Full Article

Living with lead

Many children risk exposure from home surfaces such as door frames, windowsills
September 11, 2012
The Spokesman-Review

Full article

Unusual alliance allows beaver relocation
- Moving animal helps water tables

August 23, 2012, by  Jim Camden
The Spokesman-Review

Full article

Snowmobiler-commissioned study disputes caribou impact

June 14, 2012 The Spokesman-Review

Protecting habitat for woodland caribou has cost North Idaho's economy $26 million, with winter tourism in the resort area of Priest Lake taking the biggest hit, according to a study commissioned by the Idaho State Snowmobile Association.

Full Article

Idaho once had Beaver Airborne Mission

June 7, 2012 Spokesman Review - Outdoors blog
Posted by Rich

WILDLIFE The Lands Council based in Spokane is getting more press about its efforts to reintroduce beavers in select areas to restore watersheds naturally. 

Full blog

Returning farmland to a state of nature

Lands Council workers, student volunteers and others join forces to help restore Coulee, Deep creek watersheds

May 29, 2012 - Mike Prager - The Spokesman-Review

Amanda Parrish and Joe Cannon have been tramping across acres of stream bank this spring planting trees and shrubs in a major watershed restoration along Coulee and Deep creeks in northwest Spokane County.

June, 2012 issue, The Atlantic

Leave It to Beavers

Can they help us adapt to climate change?

By David Ferry
In the 1820s, one of the largest corporations on Earth tried to kill every beaver in the Pacific Northwest. Britain's Hudson's Bay Company, threatened by the United States' westward expansion, sent trappers sweeping down the Columbia River watershed to exterminate all the beavers they found and harvest their valuable pelts.

Full Article

Collaboration offers suggestions for Panhandle Forests

May 10, 2012 - Becky Kramer, The Spokesman Review

For four decades, truckloads of logs rolling out of the woods were Bob Boeh's primary interest in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

No surprise since his employer, Idaho Forest Group, depends on federal timber sales to help keep five sawmills churning out 2-by-4s.

Full Article

New ponderosas adorn former YMCA site

March 22, 2012 - The Spokesman Review - in City
Grove of trees also honors the late Susie Stephens: Nancy MacKerrow holds a picture of her daughter, Susie Stephens, in front of 10 newly planted ponderosa pine trees on Wednesday on the site of the former YMCA building, during a gathering in Riverfront Park.

Full Article

Beaver relocation effort garners bipartisan support

The Spokesman Review - by Jim Camden - March 1, 2012

OLYMPIA Beavers making a nuisance of themselves in Western Washington could be relocated to areas in Eastern Washington that need their help in damming streams, but the furry critters from Eastern Washington...
Full Article

For three decades, The Lands Council has worked to inform and involve the public in preserving and revitalizing Inland Northwest forests, water and wildlife

Click here to learn more about The Lands Council's accomplishments, or explore our Council News newsletter archive to find out more about our work

Main Press Contact: Mike Petersen, Executive Director, 509-209-2406 or mpetersen (at) landscouncil.org


The Lands Council - 25 W. Main, Suite 222 - Spokane, WA 99201 - (509) 838-4912
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