Funds Needed to Protect Saltese Uplands

Liberty Lake, Wash.

When your boots crunch through the dirt, or your tires race over a technical section of trail, or you catch a glimpse of an eagle in the trees, do you wonder how that land is available for your enjoyment? As recreationists, it’s all too common that we take land for granted—thinking it has always been, and always will be, available for our use. 

Think of areas like the Little Spokane River, Beacon Hill, Liberty Lake Regional Park, Palisades Park, Iller Creek, and Saltese Uplands. What do these local areas have in common?

Besides providing beautiful destinations for enjoyment of the outdoors, they are all home to pieces of land that experienced widespread use before they were open to the public. In recent years, securing public access in commonly used but privately owned areas has gotten a lot of attention with projects like “Make Beacon Public.” 

Organizations like Evergreen East, Spokane County, Washington State Parks, and other entities work hard to protect places that have become meaningful to our recreation community. One of the unsung heroes of this work is Inland Northwest Land Conservancy. INLC has worked to bring about land deals that protect things like the cedar forest on the Liberty Lake Loop, the kiosk area at the head of the Iller Creek Trail, access to Avista-owned property on Beacon Hill, and most recently, Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve on the Little Spokane River. 

Bikers along a windy dirty trail on the Saltese Uplands area in the city of Liberty Lake, Washington.
Saltese Uplands has great trails for hiking and biking.

INLC needs your help to raise $500,000 to protect more land that is currently (illegally) being trafficked by well-meaning but likely oblivious recreational users. These fifty-five acres (about 42 football fields) are adjacent to the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area, where usage has increased 48% over the past two years, reflecting rapid residential growth in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.

Located on Henry Road, the Uplands are home to dozens of species of birds and native plants. Across the street, Spokane County Environmental Services is restoring the historic wetlands of the Saltese Flats and working on a proposed nature education center nearby. The land to be purchased by INLC and retained for public enjoyment is prime for residential development.

If you’ve ever watched the sunset from the water tower at the top of the hill, or gazed down into the valley at Liberty Lake or at Mica Peak in the distance, you know how that view would change with houses butted up against the hillside. 

Protecting land and water for the health and future of our community, the natural world, and the climate is at the center of INLC’s work. Ensuring that the Inland Northwest remains a beautiful, adventurous, and easily accessible place should be at the center for all of us who love to play outside. 

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