Under sunny skies, a crowd gathered October 10th to dedicate Spokane’s newest park – the Trautman Ranch Conservation Area (see map). This 280 acres neatly fits the missing piece of the 10,000-acre Riverside State Park puzzle, missing ever since the Park was created in 1933-34. And the Trautman Ranch is a vital link for recreation – think Centennial Trail plus miles of hiking and biking and horseback riding paths. And it’s a known corridor for winged and wandering wildlife, now a sanctuary, no longer at risk of being split up.
If you were there on the 10th, you heard how it took 15 years of dogged work by INLC people like Eric Erickson, Asha Rehnberg, and Roger McRoberts to make the Trautman Ranch conservation area possible. INLC worked diligently with the late John Trautman, then with his sons, as well as with state and county agencies and Avista to make John’s dream come true: to preserve the land forever as a haven for wildlife and a place of solitude for people to enjoy.
John Trautman died in May 2014 without acting on his wishes for the property. INLC’s Eric Erickson contacted the sons Gary and John Trautman, and the county and the state parks departments. INLC championed the land for an “unforeseen opportunity” for the county park system. Meanwhile, the county and the state moved at “warp speed” to negotiate a management agreement, whereby the county would buy the land and the state would manage it. Private donors and the Trautman family agreed to contribute over $100,000 to a management fund. To make a long story short, on June 5, 2015 the deal went through – hooray! – and on October 10, 2015 we celebrated with a dedication ceremony and a tour led by son Gary Trautman. Our own Tom Kessler tagged along, video camera in hand, to capture the tales of Trautman. Click here to see his videos on You Tube.