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Conservation group offers hikes in wild areas

The Selkirk Conservation Alliance is offering summer hikes into the Priest Lake area, the last area in the United States where there is a herd of caribou.

conservation hikes
Barbara Williams

“We want to introduce the area to people, so they will want to preserve it.  Otherwise, it may be gone forever,” said Barbara Williams of Diamond Lake, who shares her part-time job as development and outreach director with her friend, Christy Lafayette of Usk.

The Selkirk Conservation Alliance, which has its office in Priest River, Idaho, engages people in resource and land management issues in order to protect endangered wildlife, their habitats, healthy watersheds and sustainable forests.

 Endangered wildlife include Selkirk woodland or mountain caribou and other imperiled wildlife—grizzly bears, Canada lynx, bull trout, wolverine and fisher.  The mountains and streams are  home to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wolves, moose, elk, mountain lions and cutthroat trout.

 “People in the area do not want uncontrolled development, which they fear will happen because Idaho has no growth management plan,” she said.

The Selkirk Conservation Alliance is sponsoring four-, five-, seven- and 10-mile hikes, starting at 9 a.m. in Priest River, June 10, 17 and 24; July 8, 15 and 22, and Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 20 into wildlife habitat in mountains, through forests, along rapids and creeks, overlooking Priest Lake, across meadows and into areas where they may encounter some wildlife.

In addition to the hikes, the Selkirk Conservation Alliance is collaborating with Eco-Cell to collect cell-phones at Auntie’s Bookstore in downtown Spokane and Café Deliscio at Montgomery and Monroe. 

Eco-Cell will use funds from recycling the phones to protect gorilla habitat.  The alliance will use its portion to save the 37 caribou that migrate across the Canadian border and have habitat in the Priest Lake area.

The alliance is also working with KYRS, the Lands Council, the Kootenai Environmental Alliance and the SHAWL Society to sponsor the third annual Green and Blues Fest at Bluz at the Bend, 2721 N. Market in Spokane, from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., July 15. 

For information, call 208-448-2971 or visit

The Sierra Club, the Lands Council, Conservation Northwest and the Mountaineers are also offering Saturday five- to eight-mile hikes this summer to introduce people to scenic and wild areas in the region.  The hikes are July 15, on the Sherman Peak Loop; July 22, at Abercrombie Mountain; July 29, on Grassy Top Mountain; Aug. 5, in Hoodoo Canyon to Emerald Lake; Aug. 12, on Thirteen Mile Creek Trail; Aug. 19, on Noisy Creek Trail on Hall Mountain, and Aug. 26, on Kettle Crest Trail in a roadless area.

They also plan a hike on Sunday, Sept. 24, on Columbia Mountain Loop.

The Lands Council is also offering float trips on the Upper Spokane River, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays, June 17 and July 29, and from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 1.  Guided by Kitty Klitzke of the Land’s Council and a Spokane Parks and Recreation instructor, the floats will introduce people to the history of, threats to and efforts to protect the river and aquifer.

For information, call 951-3541 or 625-6200.


By Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree - © June 2006