Floating a plan for river - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Floating a plan for river

Proposal lists improvements for North Fork recreation area

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Posted: Friday, September 16, 2011 12:00 am

The funding could be daunting, and the work would require cooperation from all.

But what cost wouldn't we pay, to keep folks from acting like jerks during their off hours at the Coeur d'Alene River?

To put a lid on escalating incidents of littering, trespassing, drunkenness, public urination and damage to riverbanks in the area, several agencies have collaborated on a recreation management plan to better protect Coeur d'Alene River users and the resource itself.

With some funding already procured, the document is a wish list of improvements, said Tammi Laninga, assistant professor with the University of Idaho.

"If you drilled down and said 'OK, we want to take care of all these suggested recommendations,' I couldn't even give you an estimate," Laninga said of the plan's cost. "It's outlining a vision at this point."

The North Fork Coeur d'Alene River Cooperative Recreation Plan was spearheaded by the Department of Environmental Quality's Watershed Advisory Group, which brought on board U of I, the U.S. Forest Service, Shoshone County and other agencies.

"Different people over the years have wanted to figure out how to address the issues in this section of the river," Laninga explained.

The 46-page document includes measures to address general safety issues along the lower 35 miles of the North Fork, where folks often camp, float the river, fish and hunt.

Ideas include adding more parking areas, to reduce vehicles lined on the road during peak season.

The plan would also improve signage and add more trash bins, to minimize the piles of litter often scattered down the riverside and roadways.

More restrooms are also a priority, to curb public urination.

"There's just the quality of the experience and the quality of life for people who live up there," said Kajsa Eagle Stromberg with DEQ, on the need for the plan.

The document suggests improving visitor experiences by adding trails, more commercial shuttle services and activities for visitors with disabilities.

With local law enforcement facing limited resources, it also calls for developing a safety strategy among management agencies and local government.

"There have been drownings and fatalities. It can be dangerous," Stromberg said. "We want to make sure people are properly educated on the risks and what they can do to keep themselves safe."

Education on safety and environmental protection is also a chief goal, Laninga said.

That could include an advertising campaign, and developing a river "code of conduct" to discourage excessive drinking and trespassing.

"What we're trying to do with the education is to try to educate people before they go to the river, before they have issues, so law enforcement doesn't have to be so involved," Laninga said.

Habitat improvement and water quality projects are also proposed, in response to erosion and waste contamination from intense activity in the area.

The author entities will pursue funding as a group, Stromberg said. The plan will hopefully be implemented by all stakeholders, including various agencies and even local businesses.

"I think it will probably take several years to really get it rolling," Stromberg said. "People are very motivated, and some of these steps will be so simple."

The Forest Service has already procured dollars for a river ranger next season, she added.

The full plan can be viewed at: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/north-fork-cda-river-subbasin-wag.

Folks interested in participating can contact Stromberg at 769-1422.

"Now that it's done and published, we're ready to roll," she said.

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  • efromm posted at 6:18 pm on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    efromm Posts: 701

    I say new locals cause they are young people. And the majority of them I saw this summer were from Idaho. I stopped and talked to them as I was floating down river. Sure there are some from Washington out there. The disc golf courses are full of people from Wa and Idaho that like to drink beer and leave there beer cans on the courses. Me and my buddy spend a lot of our time picking up beer cans while we play. And it's not just beer cans. Its cups and other trash too they throw on the course. It got so bad at cherry hill that they have a cop there looking for people doing it. It's about time! People should care about throwing their trash away. And not leaving it lying around. I don't care where it is or where they are from. Respect the place you live. Don't trash it period...

  • JoeIdaho posted at 4:58 pm on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Just follow a car from Washington, and I BET you will see them doing things like emptying ash trays in the road, flipping cigs out the windows, and leaving trash everywhere. The biggest problem North Idaho has is Spokane, Washington.

  • Ziggy posted at 9:17 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1285

    JoeI, you have a point. I live around Hayden (not a mansion, just a real people house). In the winter, there is a little bit of trash but not a huge amount and people drive mostly slow as is dictated by the deer, kids, dogs, hikers, and bikers who use the road as well as vehicles. In the early summer, Katy bar the door! We started picking up trash along our section of the road years ago. This summer, we filled our huge blue recycling barrel the first week that we got it, not from our own recycling, but from all the stuff we picked up along the road. Also cars started passing us doing 60 miles an hour. We have motorcycles and cars speeding by, yes, mostly from Washignton. The huge mansions are mostly owned by Washington people and I wonder if they are claiming the home owner's exemption here in Idaho as they probably do in Washington.

  • local res posted at 8:16 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Do you think this issue is related to the Forest Service paving the roads up the river?

  • unfortunate posted at 7:53 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    unfortunate Posts: 9

    Some people seriously need to get real. "New Locals"? I was born and raised here, have never lived anywhere but Hayden and Rathdrum. We lived on a ranch right near Hayden Creek. These recreational areas have ALWAYS been disgusting as far back as I can remember (about 35 years). Is there a major problem with the mistreatment of our forest lands and recreational areas? Absolutely, but quit blaming it on the "New Locals". While their are certainly some less desireables that have moved in here, some of the biggest dirtbags I know are home grown right here in North Idaho. So lets just pass the blame around here equally.

  • mister d posted at 7:43 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I'm glad they are looking at a plan to protect the river. When people are unable to police themselves then others need to step in and police them for the good of the majority. The river is beautiful and it's a shame individuals (not groups) cannot clean up after themselves and use common sense to protect the use of this waterway. It's the same everywhere in the woods around here - slobs who haven't the brains to pick up after themselves.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 6:47 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    The majority of people that leave cans, throw cigs out the window, and leave bags of garbage come from WASHINGTON. They do the same thing in most everywhere they go in North Idaho. They figure if they don't live here.....I also think that if you have a license plate from WA you shouldn't be able to buy gas here; either.

  • efromm posted at 5:12 am on Fri, Sep 16, 2011.

    efromm Posts: 701

    GOOD IT"S ABOUT TIME! I say KICK THEM ALL OFF!!! They are ruining the place! They do not respect it at all! I have picked up so many beer cans that were in the river it's not even funny! It's sad. This is what the new locals are doing to their new home town. They have no respect for the environment they live in. Just like Canfield just like spades mountain hayden creek and any place they go. They are ruining everything and yet no one does anything about it. It's about time! STOP TEARING EVERYTHING UP! Your ruining it for everyone that really wants to enjoy the outdoors cause they are gonna punish us all for your bad behavior!! And people wonder why they banned everything in California! This is why!!!

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