Increasing Conservation in the Dishman Hills and Iller Creek Area
The Dishman Hills Conservancy (formerly known as the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association) in association with its partner organizations (known as the Dishman Hills Alliance (DHA)) is a coalition of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, recreation groups, and individuals working to create conservation corridor, or greenway, linking the Dishman Hills Natural Resources Conservation Area (DHNRCA) and Iller Creek (Rocks of Sharon) Conservation Area (ICCA). Although not an entirely pristine ecological community, the Dishman Hills-Iller Creek area has significant biological diversity. Both ICCA and DHNRCA are fragmented, isolated, and small enough to risk species loss, so these ecological connections are a high priority for conservation efforts and ties to the larger scale regional corridor program to connect Turnbull Wildlife Refuge with DHNRCA. Also, the unique geology and scenic nature of the area, and its proximity to Spokane and the Spokane Valley, make the Dishman Hills a good choice for low-impact recreation and environmental education.
Conservation corridor locations will depend on negotiations with the landowners and would rely on a combination of land purchases, easements, and agreements.
 The Dishman Hills Alliance is an offspring of the coalition that started as the Dream Trail Team, which submitted nominations for County Conservation Futures funding acquisitions in 2003 and 2005 and received “B list” priority.
- Enable the DHA to plan and manage both for environmental conservation and, where appropriate, for education and non-motorized recreation;
- Permanently protect a wildlife corridor between ICCA and DHNRCA;
- Maintain ecological systems on purchased properties, and cooperate with neighboring landowners and easement holders on environmental restoration and maintenance;
- Establish a corridor for public recreation with a through-trail to provide a critical link between DHNRCA and ICCA trail systems;
- Encourage opportunities and programming for low-impact activities such as bird-watching, sightseeing, photography and education;
- Develop a pool of agencies and volunteers to design, construct, and manage trails, including weed control, litter removal, and patrol;
- Acquire funding, through grants and other sources, to develop and maintain conservation corridors for benefits to wildlife and public recreation.
Tools for Conservation
Conservation corridors can be created using a variety of tools that are both informal and formal and have varying costs and degrees of permanence. The DHA prefers permanent, formal arrangements for protecting the corridor lands, but recognizes that, at times, less formal arrangements may be required. Sometimes several tools are used, starting with less formal arrangements that transition to legal agreements as circumstances evolve. However, the DHA will focus on permanent protection.
Land Acquisition * Formal Agreements * Informal Agreements
More information, examples and detail - click here
Landowners who provide recreation opportunities to the public are protected by the Washington Revised Code Ann. §4-24.200: (1967, 1997). This recreational-use statute applies to landowners who do not charge a fee nor are grossly negligent. The statute encourages landowners to make their property available to the public for recreational or conservation purposes by limiting their liability to individuals who may be injured. Spokane County relies on the Washington statute for protection for their no-fee use of public land.
The Dishman Hills Alliance is an outgrowth of the Dishman Ridge Dream Trail Committee, an informal group of individuals and organizations that started meeting in 2002 to develop a “Dream Trail” that would increase the connectivity for animal migration and human recreation between areas of natural and recreational significance in the Dishman Hills area.
One of the first projects of the original committee was to nominate the Sprow and “Dream Trail” properties for the Conservation Futures Program. While those nominations did not move forward, other Dream Trail projects have succeeded including acquisition of the DNR land on Big Rock Ridge, the Big Rock land swap, the Carroll property acquisition, and the bargain purchase of the Lemon property.
The newly-formed Dishman Hills Alliance is taking advantage of an RTCA technical assistance from the National Parks Service. Alex Stone of NPS is helping DHA engage the community to support this project.
The Dishman Hills Alliance is in this for the long haul – we are interested in long-term results but are willing to explore the many ways a landowner can help conserve wildlife habitat and recreational access now and in the future.
This is an on-going project. Major efforts to protect the Dishman Hills started in 1950s and continue to this day. There are many ways that the Dishman Hills Alliance and its partners can work with landowners who would like to help create a conservation corridor and protect the natural habitat in the Dishman Hills. It’s a matter of identifying opportunities, waiting until the right moment, and developing the resources to act when that moment arrives. And even after the wildlife corridor is “complete” the responsibility for maintaining the conservation area continues into the future.
DHNAA 2010 Form 990
DHNAA 2011 Form 990