SANDPOINT — An outdoor recreation center is coming to the newly acquired Pine Street Woods property at the edge of town, according to a press release from the Sandpoint Nordic Club and Kaniksu Land Trust.
This new facility will serve as a gathering space for community members to enjoy the many outdoor recreation opportunities at Pine Street Woods, particularly during the winter, and is expected to be in place by snowfall this coming season, KLT’s conservation director Regan Plumb said.
“This is a pivotal moment in the history of cross country skiing in our community” added SNC board member Jeannie Higgs. “We have been scouting out locations for a few years to offer higher elevation skiing close to town, and this opportunity will allow us to create a true hub for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. We are thrilled that this partnership with KLT will offer that, along with so much more for our community.”
The center will be funded through a Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health “Community Transformation Grant”, awarded to the city of Sandpoint. The purpose of this grant is to fund projects that encourage healthy eating and physical activity for children. The Pine Street Woods project is one of seven proposals funded from High Five, the Foundation’s childhood obesity initiative.
The allocation of the High Five grant funds was determined by the Bonner County Coalition for Health, which engaged in a visioning process with the Foundation to identify projects that support either increased physical activity or access to healthy, affordable foods. A Youth Needs Assessment, conducted as a part of this visioning process, arrived at the startling conclusion that more than 70 percent of Bonner County’s youth do not engage in meaningful physical activity during the winter. The new recreation center at Pine Street Woods will directly address this need by providing low and no-cost cross country ski and snowshoe rentals, access to beginner trails, and basic instruction, all in a safe, welcoming, near-town environment.
“We couldn’t be more happy about this important partnership with Sandpoint Nordic Club to provide meaningful outdoor opportunities at Pine Street Woods, even during cold weather months,” said Plumb. “This type of project is exactly what we had hoped for at Pine Street Woods, and to see it now coming to fruition is a great testament to the collaborative spirit and enthusiasm of our community partners.”
Located at approximately 500 feet above Sandpoint, the property is expected to retain snow for 6-8 weeks longer than SNC’s current trail system on Boyer Avenue, thus significantly extending the season for cross country skiing and snow shoeing.
With the eventual addition of mountain bike rentals, the center’s use will be expanded to encompass year-round activities, creating an all-season hub for community recreation at Pine Street Woods.