'Walkable' Spaces -- SPOKANE - Want to make your neighborhood safer for pedestrians? The Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) will hold a series of two-part workshops starting next Monday, April 7, and continuing until April 11 helping you to do just that. Hosted by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the workshops will help residents locate the qualities of what the SRTC call, 'Walkable Communities.'
"Walkable Communities is an effort to teach communities across the U.S what exactly makes a city pedestrian- friendly," says Shannon Amidon, public information and education coordinator for SRTC. "Having a pedestrian-friendly environment makes [the community] safer and healthier."
Each session includes a 'walking audit' around different neighborhoods so participants can learn to locate indicators of a Walkable Community.
"Moran Prairie, Hillyard, West Central -- all have things they want to specifically work on," Amidon says. "So we'll walk around an area they want to work on. Hands-on exercise and brainstorming sessions [will] see what elements are needed to make it better."
Amidon says that identifying positive pedestrian qualities in a neighborhood also illustrates what more needs to be done.
" You want to look around the place you're walking and see if it's pleasant," Amidon says. "The best indication is if there are people walking around." --Cara Gardner
The first workshop of the series is on April 7, at the Hillyard Masonic Temple from 1 to 5 p.m. Call: 343-6370
Trailing Along -- MOSCOW - With springtime comes warmer days and the perfect time to visit some of the many Northwest hiking trails. To help hikers find their way, The Sierra Club is mixing outdoor recreation with history in its newest guidebook, Adventuring Along the Lewis and Clark Trail, by Elizabeth Grossman.
The book documents efforts to preserve lands explored by Lewis and Clark, tracing their magnificent trail all the way from Missouri to Oregon. Grossman also offers her picks for best hikes, walks, backpacks, bike trips, canoeing, and more.
"I actually went everyplace along the whole length of the trail," Grossman says of her book-writing adventure.
"Obviously I didn't walk to St. Louis, but I did paddle the Missouri Breaks; that section of the river was dedicated a national monument in the summer of 2000."
She notes that while she hopes people enjoy the landscape along Lewis and Clark's route, they hopefully will also appreciate the history.
"One of their [Lewis and Clark] instructions for the whole mission was to bring back detailed notes about plants and animals, so in the book there are excerpts of their old journals so you can see what they saw," she explains. "Despite the changes, there are still lots of things that are still the way they were 200 years ago."
She says that though the trail may seem preserved, there is a sad reality.
"A huge amount of the wildlife and natural vegetation are lost," Grossman says. "I thought it would be interesting to see how the animals mentioned in Lewis and Clarks' journals are doing today. About 40 percent of the animals they scientifically identified - 122 animal species - are now listed of conservation concern, either on federal or state endangered species lists, she says.
But she doesn't dwell on the damage to the natural world.
"The whole point of the book is to get people out of their cars and into the landscape says Grossman. "I wrote this with a whole family in mind. There's stuff for all sorts of people - young and old."
The guidebook will be launched at a presentation, which includes a 20-minute documentary film on the Lewis and Clark Trail's history, on Monday, April 7, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Book People, 521 S. Main, Moscow. Call: 208-882-7957.
Nuclear legacy -- SPOKANE -- The Hanford Advisory Board is meeting in Spokane on April 3-4, and in conjunction with its regular session, the board will hold a public forum on April 3, at 7 pm at Jepson Hall on Gonzaga's campus.
Hanford served as a plutonium complex for more than 40 years, a legacy that has left some dangerous traces behind. The Hanford site is currently considered the world's largest environmental cleanup project.
The Hanford Advisory Board is non-partisan, consisting of representatives for the many areas and interests affected by Hanford.
The forum Thursday is focused on raising public awareness about the current cleanup challenges, and it features a panel discussion with board members and representatives for the Department of Energy and the EPA.