The Kootenai County Commissioners are considering the sale of county property that includes Chilco Falls, the only accessible ice climbing in the area.
County officials argue that the site is inaccessible, not maintained, often unused, and that its sale could fund a more useful county effort. In February, Commissioner Jai Nelson suggested selling the property at public auction to use the funds for other properties. At an April meeting, Commissioner Nelson reported that a county attorney had been authorized to move forward with selling the property.
While the property does not feature park improvements, it has legitimate public access. After the County tried to dispose of the property in 1998 for similar reasons, the title was cleaned up and access was solidified. Fortunately, Commissioner Dan Green said that the commissioners are open to other suggestions for the site and your input is needed to present alternative solutions. “If these people are using it and we can create access for them, and find some funding mechanisms, I think we're all open to ideas," said Green.
The Kootenai Environmental Alliance has received several calls from concerned climbers and is willing to provide volunteers and help fundraise to improve access. Members of the Spokane Mountaineers and Kootenai Climbers join us in opposition to a sale.
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