Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Team seeks input on Sand Creek

Staff Writer | November 9, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Armed with community input from a public survey, a team of collaborators plans to promote healthy, vibrant conditions along the Sand Creek corridor as part of the Sand Creek Connections Project.

Kaniksu Land Trust, along with the Kalispel Tribe, Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society, and the City of Ponderay began issuing the survey this summer to garner feedback identifying community goals for the area. 

“The online survey was used to establish an understanding of how people currently interact with the landscape as well as understanding what the public values in the Sand Creek basin,” Cox said. “The survey and community meetings will drive the direction of the work as we progress forward.”

Questions like “What are significant challenges facing Sand Creek” and “How do you frequently use the Popsicle Bridge section of Sand Creek for recreational purposes?” offer participants a chance to share their own thoughts on the corridor. 

Katie Cox, executive director of Kaniksu Land Trust, said that it’s very important that goals and actions for the corridor’s future be determined by collaboration with the community and the feedback their team receives. To date, around 90 participants have engaged with the survey, but their hope is to involve many more, she said. 

“These responses will be vital as the advisory team, made up of 14 community organizations and representatives of the residents that live along Sand Creek, begins to determine how to create a future vision planning document that stems from the feedback we receive,” Cox said.  “We will have points along this process where we will ask the greater community to help weigh in on the direction this plan is going.  Right now, the best way to participate is by taking the survey.”

The project is expected to create awareness of the unique ecosystem in Sand Creek, develop better public access, encourage stewardship, and unify the area with the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, Cox said previously in a presentation to the Sandpoint City Council. The three primary focuses will be recreation access, conservation, and education.

Throughout the past year, the project team has been conducting research to determine the current condition of the area, which includes surveys of plants, animals and water. Cox also said the team is developing a page on the Kaniksu Land Trust website where updates will be posted as the project progresses. 

To participate in the survey, go online to bit.ly/40xHvXE.

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