For a town that is surrounded by outlying national forests and public lands, Sandpoint has only a few undeveloped natural areas that are close by and available to city residents without a lengthy car ride. That could be about to change, with the announcement by the Kaniksu Land Trust of a new campaign to acquire 160 acres for a community forest, just a little more than a mile from the town centers of Sandpoint and Dover. The property, located at the top of the Pine Street hill, is owned by the Weisz family and has been dubbed the “Pine Street Woods” – an area of rolling hills blanketed with evergreens, with open meadows and beautiful vistas. The land trust envisions that the property will become a place where the public can come to recreate, unwind, explore, or attend programs pertaining to ecological and community health and education.

Before the community forest can become a reality, the Kaniksu Land Trust must raise $2.1 million to pull off the acquisition (over half of that sum has already been secured). The property is situated adjacent to the popular “Sherwood Forest” trails, a mecca for area hikers and mountain bikers, and the Pine Street Woods will provide an enhanced experience by dispersing people onto new trail networks and offering gentler, more accessible terrain. There will be trails for users of all ability and fitness levels, in addition to road access and a parking lot and trailhead on the property. “We envision multi-use trails for walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and picnicking, as well as places to just find solitude in nature,” says Eric Grace, executive director of the Kaniksu Land Trust. More information about the project is available at Kaniksu.org. //