Master plan to avoid Tubbs

Open Space Committee project will not mention possible trail alterations

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SHAWN GUST/Press Catherine Dale walks her dogs along a trail on near the west entrance of Tubbs Hill Wednesday in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - After some tweaks, the city's open space master plan probably won't mention a north side trail on Tubbs Hill after all.

It won't mention alterations to the natural hiking hill that had been attached to the original McEuen Field conceptual plan more than a year ago, either.

The city's Natural Open Space Committee agreed Wednesday to make the changes to its inaugural open space management plan draft at the request of the Tubbs Hill Foundation, which opposed listing specific changes to the natural hiking hill in the proposed plan.

"I hope so," said Mike Kempton, parks lead maintenance man and liaison to the NOSC, on whether the changes would be enough to get the THF's stamp of approval and the inaugural master plan on the books. "It's important to get a management plan for our sites."

THF member Charles Hosack said the THF could approve the changes tonight during its meeting, as the foundation would more likely favor broader language when it comes to outlining Tubbs Hill's future in writing.

By mentioning too specific a project in the open space master plan, like a north side trail, or focusing on specific areas on the hill, it sounds like the project is supported and already under way, he said.

"There's no real need to jump into this," Hosack said of listing specific projects. "I don't think you'll have any trouble from the Tubbs Hill Foundation that say 'we'll consider changes in the future.'

The city's inaugural open space management plan is more of a comprehensive look at how the city will manage all of its open space in the future.

Crafted by a citizen-comprised Open Space Committee over more than a year, the draft calls for developing hiking trails at Fernan and the mostly vacant Veterans Centennial Park off Fernan Hill Road while addressing Canfield and Winton parks, and outlining fire protection plans as well.

While the draft is still going through the editing process, it drew opposition from the THF last month for specifically listing the north side trial and other specific components on Tubbs Hill that had been attached to the original McEuen Field Conceptual Plan before they were dropped off last year.

Wednesday, the committee agreed to scale the language back.

Instead of naming a possible north side trail or calling the east side trail's widening a pilot project, for example, the draft would say: "Monitor trail construction and use of this trail to determine the impacts to the aesthetic and natural habitat on Tubbs Hill and use this information to determine if additional accessible trails are desirable or necessary through a similar public process as was used through the east side trail."

Kempton said he hopes to have the draft to the City Council for adoption by August or September.

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