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Auction races to help 'Sled Hill' campaign

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | August 20, 2023 1:00 AM

Sure, you could use one of the amazingly painted sleds to race down the Pine Street Sled Hill when it opens.

But do you want to?

While one of the of sleds encourages just that, the sleds are works of art — and part of a silent art auction to raise money for Kaniksu Land Trust's "Save the Sled Hill" campaign.

KLT announced the launch of its sled art silent auction during an art reveal event at Pend d’Oreille Winery on Thursday, Aug. 17. The event showcases the creativity of local artists — and raises money to both buy the historic site and funds a master plan for the entire Pine Street Woods area.

The auction features 20 Flexible Flyer runner sleds that have been transformed into stunning art pieces by 20 talented local artists. These one-of-a-kind sleds are now available for public bidding through an online silent auction.

The event kicked off Aug. 17 at Pend d'Oreille Winery, where the beautifully decorated sleds were revealed. The online silent auction went live on KLT’s website during the event and will continue throughout the week, culminating at the Aug. 26 SledFest just prior to the last band of the night.

The sleds can be viewed in person at the Alpine Shop, 213 Church St., in downtown Sandpoint.

"Interested individuals can visit the shop to admire the creativity and craftsmanship behind each piece," Marcy Timblin, KLT communications director, said. "Each sled features an introduction to the artist and description of their inspiration and artistic mediums employed in their unique art piece."

Bidders can also explore the artwork, learn more about the contributing artists, and place their bids at bit.ly/KLTSledAuction.

All proceeds from the Sled Art Auction will directly benefit the community effort to "Save the Sled Hill." KLT aims to preserve and maintain this beloved winter recreational area for generations to come.

Described by land trust officials as the “front door” to the Pine Street Woods, the sledding hill was purchased by angel donors to give KLT time to raise the funds needed.

Kaniksu Land Trust previously bought a 160-acre section of the Weisz property, and in the fall of 2019, opened Pine Street Woods to the public. The family retained the 48-acre homestead with the historic ski and sled hill until Joe Weisz’s death in 2021. When the parcel was put up for sale, the community looked to KLT to preserve the beloved iconic property.

Set along Pine Street Loop, the 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.

The fundraising campaign was launched during the Fourth of July parade to raise the $2.1 million needed to purchase the historic community skiing and sledding hill on West Pine Street.

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

That amount not only secures the site but helps fund a master plan for the entire 400-plus acres that includes the 180-acre Pine Street Woods as well the Sherwood Forest and VTT sites, both of which the public has access to through the land trust. It also will help fund parking and other "establishment costs" needed to make the property safe and fulfill KLT's vision — and that of the community — at the site.

While the group has until the end of November to raise the total needed, Cox said she hopes to raise the money before the deadline so they can begin work on “establishment projects,” including a parking lot, a road and a trail.

While a master plan is part of the fundraising drive, KLT Executive Director Katie Egland Cox said land trust officials hope to see the sled hill once again being a spot for the community's youth to sled in the winter, and perhaps another spot once again serving as a skill hill. They'd love to see kids learning to fly fish at a pond that Joe Weiss once kept stocked with fish, having a picnic by the pond or going for a hike or a run.

Information: Kaniksu Land Trust: online, kaniksu.org; phone, 208-263-9471; or via email, info@kaniksu.org

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(Photo by CAROLINE LOBSINGER)

A few of the art sleds available as part of a new art auction that aims to raise money for Kaniksu Land Trust's "Save the Sled Hill" campaign.

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(Photo by CAROLINE LOBSINGER)

One of the sleds available to bid on as part of Kaniksu Land Trust's "Save the Sled Hill" campaign.