Spokane, Wash.

In the past year, negative news significantly overshadowed positive news. But that doesn’t mean that 2020 positive news isn’t cause for outdoor enthusiasts to celebrate. Many of the regional outdoor institutions have accomplished significant goals. Here is a brief summary of multiple benchmarks that vastly improved recreation in the region.

For starters, the trailhead at Sandifur Bridge received some much-needed parking lot asphalt, and special attention aimed at the upcoming South Gorge Trail linking the southside of the Spokane River between Monroe Street Bridge and Sandifur Pedestrian Bridge

Continued renovations at Riverfront Park included an extra special bouldering rock in the North Park playground area next to the Spokane Public Facilities District’s Sportsplex. Generous donations from the Jess Roskelley Foundation finalized this project as a way to honor the late climber and mountaineer.

The Jess Roskelley Foundation also partnered with the Bower Climbing Coalition to install a crucial restroom at the Deep Creek climbing area in Riverside State Park.

Serra Baron climbing The Roach at Deep Creek. // Photo: Jon Jonckers

Meanwhile, the Dishman Hills Conservancy opened up a new trailhead parking area and connector trail for the Glenrose Cliffs Trail. The new Phillips Creek Trailhead is genius. Located in the Ponderosa Neighborhood in the Spokane Valley, it features 20 parking spots, native landscaping, a publicly viewable webcam, lighting, and connecting pathways for neighborhood access.

Last but not least, the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation celebrated their 30th anniversary this year. Although they had to postpone their usual fundraising party, they did release a fantastic book that reveals the history of the trail and the struggle to turn it into the Northwest treasure everyone appreciates today. Look for North Idaho Centennial Trail: The Trail That Almost Wasn’t at several Coeur d’Alene bookstores.

Jon Jonckers is a long-time contributing writer and photographer for Out There and writes Dispatch news stories for every issue. Check out his website to see more of his stunning photography.