PALISADES NW: PARTNER IN CONSERVATION
An exceptionally dedicated, enthusiastic group with a sustained stewardship calling, Palisades NW members have a significant role in the Rimrock to Riverside project. Legally known as just “Palisades,” this nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization is open to anyone with an interest in Palisades Park. Although most of the members live near the park, many are from elsewhere in the Spokane area. The group currently has nearly 50 memberships (single, couple, or family), and there were over 70 people at the annual meeting in March. (See http://www.Palisadesnw.com/ and on Facebook, Palisades Park Spokane.)
Palisades NW unofficially began in 1984. A handful of neighbors got together to clean up the park they loved for year-around outdoor activities such as running, biking, snowshoeing, picnicking, and horseback riding. It was being used as an illegal, free dumping ground for everything from old cars, to roof shingles, to defunct refrigerators, to household trash. Moreover, the park didn’t seem to be a high priority for Spokane because at that time residents were more interested in formal gardens, grass, and ballparks than a natural area.
Easy access via Rimrock Drive, a lane that traverses Palisades Park, facilitated the massive trash dumping and other activities that created a fire danger and safety concerns. Consequently, the organization began a movement to close Rimrock Drive. After years of extensive effort the road was finally closed in the early 2000s. Just prior to this huge victory, in 2001 the group formally incorporated.
Many people have played important roles in Palisades NW since it began 35 years ago. Particular leaders have been Robbi Castleberry (and her husband Vic) and Craig Volosing (and his wife Karen Stevenson), past and current presidents of the organization. Both the Castleberrys (now deceased) and the Volosing-Stevensons lived adjacent to Palisades Park, chose to put INLC conservation easements on their properties, and loved horses. Robbi rode her horse in Palisades Park until the very end of her life, and Craig currently raises Quarter Horses.
These leaders, and many others, spurred Palisades NW members to envision the Rimrock to Riverside project over a quarter of a century ago. They saw that only a handful of properties separated the large parks: Palisades Park and Riverside State Park. A major step was reaching out to “conservation angels” to buy properties for protection until they could become part of Palisades Park. Once Rimrock to Riverside began to become a reality in 2018, Palisades NW reached out to INLC, the latter described by Volosing as “The preeminent organization in the Inland Northwest, a group that is perfectly positioned, qualified, and absolutely capable of taking the lead.” Volosing adds, “We couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
Both Palisades NW and INLC continue to work closely on Rimrock to Riverside. In fact, Palisades NW has signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department recognizing that both share a mutual goal of expanding Palisades Park, and work closely together in the stewardship of Palisades Park. The neighborhood organization’s activities include clean up, invasive species control, trail maintenance, fuel reduction for fire safety, and other steps for optimal human safety and wildlife habitat. INLC's role is spearheading and coordinating the work to permanently protect the land; raising the capital necessary to purchase parcels for eventual public ownership; and building public awareness, enthusiasm, and support.
INLC could not be more pleased to partner with Palisades NW for the realization of our common goal of preserving land, especially in expanding Palisades Park to connect it to Riverside State Park. By working together, the once only dream-like goal is fast becoming a reality.