Big news: After many years of work, patience, and perseverance, we have reached a deal with Spokane County to transfer our Big Rock 80 acres to their Conservation land holdings. As part of this deal we will also be providing a public trailhead and parking on the south side of the Iller Creek Conservation Area (CA). This is a major step in establishing access to some very impressive natural spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities. To really appreciate this, a little history of this deal is appropriate. We started our efforts under the direction of Tom Rogers, our founder, in 1994, with the purchase of 170 acres on Tower Mountain. It was a traumatic event since we tasked ourselves with big debt. We depended on the people of the community that shared our vision to help us with the resources to payoff this debt, and we were not disappointed. This project was Tom Roger’s “Swan Song” and those of us working with him pledged to see it through. Big Rock and the land around it were soon nominated for the new Conservation Futures Program, since we realized their importance to the community. The ball was rolling and as the century came to a close Spokane County, Washington State, and the Association had all pitched in to create new conservation lands on Tower Mountain that were pushing 1,000 acres in total! But the job was not done. Big Rock was the centerpiece of the new conservation area and it was still not part of it. It was not until 2009 that we obtained the Big Rock lands through a complicated and innovative land swap. Once again the backing of many good people made this step possible. Now, with Big Rock’s inclusion into Iller Crk. CA, and parking and public access to the southern flanks of Tower Mtn., what was once a dream, a wild idea bantered over the table at board meetings, has become a reality. Tom we
have done it.
The Deal: We will be transferring our Big Rock 80 acres into County holdings for a compensation of $439K, but before you gasp over the sum, lets go over the rest of the deal. Much of these funds will have a very short residency time in our pockets. As part of the agreement we will pay out immediately $130K for the land for parking, $108K for parking lot construction, $30K for road improvements, and probably several $k’s for closing incidentals. When the smoke clears, all the above will be in County ownership, and the Association will be walking away (happy) with approximately $170K. Please do not look at this as profit since the costs of the land swapped for Big Rock and the costs for the swap process were significant. But, all of this is very good. The real winners will be the Spokane community. The story goes on. Our next land deal with our latest Conservation Futures Nominations is coming to completion soon and we have pledged to cover $257K (1/2 of total) of the purchase cost if the deal can be completed. Those in command of basic math skills can see the net here is a minus $87K. That puts us back to raising the funds in a new campaign for public support (see below).
The dream: There is no doubt that those working with the Dishman Hills Association are serial dreamers. This deal is also part of our current dream to connect the conservation lands that are scattered along the Dishman Ridge and Tower Mtn areas in order to support ecological health, while providing better recreational opportunities. With the Big Rock transfer we have assured its’ roll in the Iller Crk. CA, while providing new public access and additional funds to take the
next step in obtaining more lands to connect the Dishman Hills Natural Area with the Iller Crk. CA. The Dream Trail would run through the connector lands, and supply an outstanding recreational experience as it climbs from the valley floor to the mountain top. This next project
will also take many years, and we invite all to participate.
CALL FOR SUPPORT OF OUR LAND FUND
We are heading for a new land acquisition,
the Stone Nomination,
160 acres south of the Natural Area.
We need funds by the end of November
Please consider helping us