Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UPDATED: Downtown Spokane River access point opens Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 4:16 PM

Fans of the Spokane River can plan on enjoying it even more with new, unprecedented access when the downtown Spokane River access point has its grand opening Wednesday.  

The new access point is located just east of the Convention Center, right underneath the Division Street bridge. The grand opening will start at noon and last about 30 minutes, include a few words from Mayor David Condon as well as representatives from other community stakeholders, and feature children from the Northeast Youth Center paddle-boarding with Outdoor Recreation Supervisors. 

Anyone with non-motorized boats (like kayaks, canoes and paddle boards) is invited to try out the new access point directly after the ceremony. Here’s information on parking and make sure to visit the Spokane River website for a map of access points on the water trail.

City of Spokane Parks & Recreation Marketing and Communication Director Monique Cotton says this new access point shows how city organizations are focused on bringing people to the river.

“This river access point symbolizes our commitment – as a city and as a community – to invest in our greatest natural resource, which is our river,” she says.

Cotton references the Riverfront Park Master Plan as another example of city commitments; the master plan says one of its core principles is “bringing people to the center,” that is, drawing people to the Spokane Falls and the park surrounding it.

“There are very few cities that have a large river running directly through them, and even fewer that have direct access to that river directly in the downtown core,” she says. “It’s a very unique opportunity that we want to celebrate to reconnect with the river.”

The project is the result of collaboration between City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Spokane Public Facilites, Avista Utilities and the Spokane River forum. It was first visualized in the 2011 Spokane Convention Center Completion Study.

Parks and Recreation and Spokane Public Facilities passed an agreement in Fall 2013 that funded the development of this river access point; the access point then had to clear permitting falling under Spokane Municipal Code (Section 10.19.010, Ordinance C-C-34982 Section 1) which allows permits to be given to access to the south channel between Havermale Island and the South bank known as the forebay. The permitting process officially began in Spring 2014.

Those who want expert guidance on what to do and where to go from the trail can sign up for a $15 guided tour on Saturday, September 5 – all proceeds will go back to the Recreation Fund. More information will be available in the next few weeks at spokaneparks.org and facebook.com/spokaneparks. 

UPDATED, Aug. 24, 2015: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the City Council allowed non-motorized boating west of the Division Street Bridge. That is inaccurate. Spokane Municipal Code allows permits to be granted by the Chief of Police to allow entry in the forebay (which is the south channel between Havermale Island and the South bank). The area allowed to be accessed from the new access point is clearly marked; it is unsafe and illegal to leave this marked area. The post has been corrected to reflect this information. 

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