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PALISADES WINS GRANT (5/19/2006) Palisades has just received notification that we have been awarded a grant from Rotary of Spokane #21. We asked for a grant worth $832.50 for educational signage for Palisades Park and that is what we received. Craig Volosing notified Robbi Castleberry of the grant availability, Robbi wrote the grant, Craig made suggestions and Julia McHugh made the presentation to the Rotary. An important part of our ongoing effort to educate the public to the acceptable uses in the Palisades Park Conservancy Area is the posting of signage throughout the park alerting the public to the fact that Palisades is a Conservancy Area, as defined by City Parks. This designation allows for non-motorized passive recreational uses and a Leave no Trace ethic in a designated No Shooting area. Because of budget shortages in the City and especially in the Park Department, Palisades has borne the cost of producing, mounting, placing and replacing computer generated informational signage throughout the Park. Our request from the Rotary Club of Spokane is for assistance in producing more permanent signage for the Park. The citizens of the Greater Spokane area and other visitors to Spokane will directly benefit from this project as they will immediately be aware of the special nature of the Palisades Conservancy Area and that it welcomes public, non-motorized, non-shooting uses.
A PORTION OF RIMROCK TO BE CLOSED TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC (6/16/2007) The Spokane City Park Board last thursday approved the closure of a portion of Rimrock Dr to vehicular traffic. Palisades had requested the closure after 20 years of picking up garbage along this portion of Rimrock Dr that included, but not restricted to dead animals, couches, tires, stoves, condoms, needles, syringes, baby diapers, chests of drawers, bicycles, auto bodies and parts and THOUSANDS of beer and liquor bottles, fast food left overs and TV sets. The pointed focus of the request, was the astounding increase in gang graffiti that showed itself during this spring's cleanup. Not only were the rocks painted this year, but so were the ground and the trees, and the inside of the waterfall tunnel at the Big Overlook. Our desire is that this portion of Rimrock Dr will now provide a quiet, clean, safe and secure area for those who frequent the Park. Taylor Bressler expects the gates to be in by July 4th. Please take the time to thank the Park Board for it's courage and foresight in taking this action. City Park phone #: 625-6200
GRAY DAY LEADS TO GREEN CLEANUP IN PALISADES Even with the skies overhead threatening rain, our volunteers showed up for the Annual Palisades Cleanup ready to go. Lynda Bowman and Julia McHugh signed them up and sent people on their way to pick up trash and other people’s junk. Craig Volosing and his crew sloshed through typical Palisades wetlands to take down the east fence on the Gusman 30 Acres that was acquired this spring by the Conservation Futures Program. Chris Hicks and his crew worked on thinning the pine forests along Rimrock. Paul McBride arrived with his trusty truck to pick the sacks full of garbage and deliver them to one location for pickup by the City Park Crews. By a little after 12 noon the crews were gathering for the Tailgate Party. Good food and conversation were enjoyed by our wonderful volunteers. Earlier in the week, Julia McHugh, Phil and Babs Robinson seeded native grasses on the land where the Baker house was located. Julia provided the native seeds and the straw to cover and hold them in place. Babs and Phil transported the straw bales. This is another example of our neighbors working and volunteering together to make Palisades Park and more pleasing and enjoyable low impact recreational experience. Many thanks from all of us!
PALISADES RECEIVES NATIONAL FIREWISE COMMUNITY RECOGNITION Robbi Castleberry, president of the Palisades Organization, accepted an award on the community’s behalf recognizing its work and dedication to becoming a FireWise Community. The presentation occurred after the Firewise demonstration at Palisades Park on May 12, 2012. Palisades’ members and residents have volunteered their time for many years to keep the park clean, beautiful and open for everyone to enjoy. In the last few years, in close partnership with DNR, they’ve dedicated time and financial resources to making Palisades safe from fires by clearing dead trees and brush, removing possible fuels.
FireWise Demo Day at Palisades Huge Success Palisades Park hosted the annual FireWise Community Day on May 12th, 2012. Local residents, volunteers from the Fire Department and DNR, and Boy Scouts, all came together to pick up garbage, remove dead trees and brush and participate in a nature hike. The demonstration was also featured on the local news. The goal of the event was to raise community awareness about Fire Wise preparation—both around the parks and around our homes. Events of the day showing how home owners different ways to care for forest areas included a free chipping event for neighbors, a “Lop and Scatter” demo and a fascinating demo of the use of a masticator for thinning in a dog hair pine forest. Asplund provided a chipper and volunteers for the chip and haul out demo. Volunteer, Becky Brown, a Botanist from EWU, and Larry Skillestead from the APHIS group hiked with a group through the park to locate and identify the native flowers, shrubs and trees. Larry pointed out the areas where “good bugs” has been seeded to control Dalmation Toadflax and Spotted Knapweed. It was a beautiful day and the park was bursting out in spring blooms.
It was a wonderful event and huge success for Palisades Park. We arenow proud to be recognized as a FireWise Community.
Gates Installed on Rimrock Dr (7/28/2007) City Park maintainance crews installed both the north and south gates on Rimrock Dr this last week. At both gates they developed a parking lot surrounded by rocks and covered in gravel. This represents 15 years of volunteer work by our Palisades Neighborhood to attempt to keep this drive and the surrounding area clean of garbage that included everything you could imagine from kitchen left overs to dead animals, tires, TV's, baby diapers, couches and chairs and just about anything else you could think of that should have gone to the Waste to Energy Plant. Now park visitors can enjoy a quiet walk, bicycle or horseback ride along the Rimrock without vehicular noise. The animals residents of Palisades will also appreciate the quiet atmosphere.
This load of disgusting garbage was not only dumped, but flung over the Rimrock the day before the gates were locked. Let's hope that people will respect this Conservancy Area and appreciate it's natural beauty and not visually disturb it. Please come to Palisades Park and enjoy a quiet Rimrock Drive.
Good Bugs Released on Knapweed (7/1/2009) On July 1, 2009 Larry Skillestad and his co worker Moose, released Larinus minutus in three different areas in Palisades. Insect Pest Management (IPM) is new this year for Palisades. These small bugs were released in areas of pretty heavy knapweed infestation. The bugs are harvested and stored in comfortable containers until released on a plant. They will attack the flower and prevent its production of seeds. Unlike the Mecinus released for the Dalmatian Toadflax, the plant will not die but it will not be able to produce any of its usual 35,000 to 40,000 seeds per flower. As you travel through Palisades, stop and carefully look for these small good bugs. Larry also found three different good bugs attacking Skeleton Weed, another noxious plant, found in Palisades. The attackers seem to completely change the look of the plant. You can harvest a plant that has good bugs on it by cutting off the stem about 4" above the ground, place it a plastic bag and take it to another infestation and lean the cut plant against a growing Skeleton Weed.
Palisades Initiates Biological Weed Control (6/11/2009) Palisades in conjunction with City Park, the Spokane County Conservation District and Aphis instituted biological weed control program for Palisades Park. Larry Skillestad and his assistant, Moose, from APHIS joined Garth Davis and Ben from the SCCD and Robbi Castleberry Tuesday morning to distribute a cute little black bug names Mecinus janthinus that loves to munch on Dalmation Toadflax. To the surprise of everyone, Mecinus was already hard at work on the Dalmation Toadflax in the park. This stem boring weevil attacks the leaves and stems of toadflax. Mining of the stems by the larvae causes premature wilting of shoots and suppresses flower formation. Effects of the weevil on the plant are increased under drought stress. The bugs will lay eggs in the stems, these will winter over and be ready to munch next spring. Larry also spotting what he termed "a really bad invader" called Houndstongue. He recommended that anyone finding one, cut off the flowering stem and place it in a plastic bag for disposal. Houndstongue is a poisonous plant that contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that stop the reproduction of liver cells. Sheep are less susceptible that cattle or horses. When dried plants are found in hay they are still capable of poisoning and the animals do not recover. As you recreate in the Park, take a moment to to locate a damaged dalmation toadflax plant. Please do not pull the plants and be careful not to knock these good bugs off the plants. Larry will return in about two weeks to release bugs that will attack the spotted knapweed.
Cleanup of Palisades Begins (2001) Driving through Indian Canyon or along Rimrock you can see the activities of the logging operation by Steve Moe Logging. The Palisades organization has been monitoring these activities actively for a couple of years. First, we saw the results of poorly planned random cutting of diseased pines in the park last year. Geiger Release folks did that logging. Logs were limbed and many were cut into unmarketable lengths and abandoned to the elements of decay where they were dropped. This was not a small lost resource but major amount of board feet. Neighbors were able to interest Chuck Taggart in this project. He is a logger with an interest in rehabilitation and correct forest management. He met with the City of Spokane Parks and proposed the 5-acre demo cleanup and thinning that could salvage some of the lumber and bring the area into a state of conservancy. There was economic gain by both parties in doing this work and we citizens benefited by having the beetle infestation either stopped or retarded and wild fire hazard brought under better control. All of us that ride, walk or bike the numerous trails have been witness to the severe destructive effects of ice storm, which created extreme potential for fire conditions and ripe medium for the spread of the endemic pine beetle. These opportunists love kicking a tree when it is down or better, shredding it when it is up. With the successful demo site, city parks were now in a position to move ahead with a plan to clean and thin the remainder of Palisades Park. This would involve selective logging , skidding out logs that are marketable to decks prior to hauling to the mills, trimming and piling., and shredding debris. Palisades set up a meeting with Jim Flott of City Parks and their forestry consultant, Bill Barrigan, at a neighborhood gathering at Paul and Robin Valsvig‘s home. Neighbors had a lot of questions about the bidding process and are still confused as to why Taggart and other loggers in the St. Maries area were not included in the bid announcement. All in all, the forests in Palisades Park are being changed in conformance to the contract. The thinning and removal of fuel on the floor of the forest is moving along. The large clusters of diseased trees are disappearing and hopefully this has been in time to avoid the spread and infestation into surrounding trees. The Palisades organization wants to preserve the esthetic qualities of this magnificent park. Equestrians , hikers, and other nonmotorized users are interested in keeping rails open and safe as well as preserving the habitat and wildlife.
Continued involvement and communication are the tools that we need to bring this about.
Logging Continues in Palisades Park (2001) Although they got started late, the City's logging project seems to be catching up to speed. As Jim Flott, the City's Arborist, shared with us several times over the past few months, the project started alongside the 5-acre test plot logged last spring by St. Maries logger, Chuck Taggart. The logger contracted with this spring, Scott Moe Logging out of Rice, WA. began with the hillsides around the previous horse-rental stable area. His directive was to take only marketable timber which was dead or dying and create a stockpile accessible to the road for the trucker contracted to haul these logs to the mill. A third party has been contracted to come along behind with a chipper and clear the slash and smaller, unmarketable trees which need to be removed. The first equipment came into the park late in February, and we've seen several extensions to the original plan since that time, with work progressing nicely. Although there have been areas damaged by the wet ground and heavy equipment, the contractors are conscientiously maintaining a barrier between the public access road and their internal trails, preventing off-road abuse and dumping which has been problematic in the past.
Selective Logging Resumes in Palisades Park (1-17-2002) A logging company that left deep wheel ruts in the forest floor of Palisades Park last spring is back on the job this month, removing more dead timber.
The damage drew complaints last June from some park users who were angered to see knee-deep ruts caused by the selective logging work. Those complaints led to city assurances that the area would be reseeded to prevent noxious weeds from taking root where the soil was disturbed. City officials and neighborhood leaders said they have talked with the logger about avoiding damage to the delicate plant life in Palisades Park this year. "We'll try to work with him and keep an eye on where they are working," said Robbi Castleberry, who lives near the conservation park land along Rimrock Drive, west of downtown. Castleberry and other members of the Palisades Organization neighborhood group have been calling for better management of conservation lands. They supported removal of beetle-infested trees to reduce the spread of the outbreak. They are also asking the city to make good on its promise for reseeding disturbed areas. The city hired a Colville, Wash., logger a year ago to remove conifers killed by infestations of bark beetles, both to Most of the work was done without damaging the forest floor, in part because it took place when the ground was frozen last winter. About $40,000 from the sale of logs offset the cost of the logging and provided some money for forestry efforts citywide. Jim Flott, the city's urban forester, said the logger was hired to finish removing beetle-killed trees and to clear a fire-safe zone where park land meets residential properties. The city received $68,000 in grant money from a fire protection program to remove small timber and undergrowth that could provide fuels for wildfires at Palisades and Wyakin parks, Flott said. Wyakin Park is another conservation property owned by the city north of Francis at Assembly. Some of the growth that needs to be removed is in the form of overcrowded and spindly pine trees called "dog-hair thickets." "The real major impact of this is public safety," he said. A program called Fire Safe Spokane is providing the funding, which came originally from a congressional allotment for Western fire suppression. Small trees being removed under the Fire Safe grant will be chipped and spread on the land to return nutrients to the soil, Flott said. This article appeared in the South Side Voice on Thursday January 17, 2002. Mike Prager Staff Writer, The Spokesman Review
Update on Baker Trail (2001) Our re-opened trail has gotten regular use over the summer months and looks great. We still need to lay down wood chips on the rockiest areas, a job volunteers hope to accomplish this fall.