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Time to reopen the sled hill

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | March 26, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — It is the perfect front door to the Pine Street Woods.

The site also is home to a historic sledding and ski hill.

Now, thanks to supporters of the Kaniksu Land Trust who have the 48-parcel under contract, the land trust will have time to fundraise toward purchase of the property.

“This is such a win for our community, we are so grateful for the support of our partners. What we have needed all along the way is time and having the property under contract and secure now gives us that,” Katie Cox, KLT executive director, said. “The work ahead of us is going to take the entire community. We know that together, we can do it.”

Set along Pine Street Loop, the 48-acre parcel includes forest, meadows, a large pond, and structures associated with a historic homestead. The most notable feature is the large hill that has served as a community recreation site for a half century.

KLT officials say they would love to reopen the sledding hill and see opportunities to expand existing programs onto the property. A home on the site could be used for Kaniksu Folk School programs, including a variety of traditional crafts and music classes. A pole barn on the site could become home to the land trust's portable sawmill and lumber operation, and an existing pond could be stocked with fish to teach youngsters how to fish.

"There are lots of possibilities that we see," Regan Plumb, KLT conservation director, said.

KLT staff and board have made no secret of their dreams for the property. Prime for conservation, education, and recreation, they said the parcel will augment the community benefits of Pine Street Woods, including serving as a new potential access point for the Syringa Trails network. 

"We kind of see it as a front door to Pine Street Woods because it has such extensive frontage there on Pine Street," Plumb said. "It's kind of a natural front door and it's going to allow us to really welcome the community to Pine Street Woods in a different way."

With a historic sledding hill located on the property, it serves as another way to engage the community in the outdoors. Location of a great place to sled is among the top questions the land trust has been asked since the Pine Street Woods opened two-and-a-half years ago.

"So with the addition of this property and the ability to bring back the sled hill, we see that as opening up a tremendous wintertime outdoor recreation activity for local families," Plumb said.

KLT officials said the land trust's interest in the property is reflected in the desire to conserve the rural values of the West Pine neighborhood. And, they added, to support creative opportunities for use that benefit the community while contributing to an ethic of land stewardship and sustainability.

The property is not fully protected until KLT is able to purchase it outright, but now there is time for planning and fundraising around that goal, KLT officials said.

KLT has already received contributions toward the purchase of this historic property, giving the land trust a great kick start, land trust officials said. It now has 18 months to complete the fundraising effort.

"We are grateful to all of our friends who have been supportive in many ways through this process," Cox said. "Stay tuned to learn how each of us can share in making this project happen."

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(Photo courtesy KANIKSU LAND TRUST)

Friends of the Kaniksu Land Trust are under contract to purchase the historic Pine Street sledding hill historic property.

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Set along Pine Street Loop, the 48-acre parcel includes forest, meadows, a large pond, and structures associated with a historic homestead. Thanks to Kaniksu Land Trust supporters who have the site under contract, the land trust will have the opportunity to fundraise toward purchase of the site.