By Cameron Rasmusson
Kaniksu Land Trust is well on its way to raise funds for the Pine Street Woods Community Forest, a proposed site for community members to recreate and disconnect from their busy lives.
According to KLT officials, the group has raised 75 percent of the $2.1-million goal, which will purchase 160 acres of forests and meadows located west of Sandpoint. The goal is to establish a community forest that residents can hike, bike, snow-shoe, cross-country ski or simply relax in with the family.
With a support base already established through grants from the LOR Foundation, the Equinox Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, the proposal has garnered significant public support, KLT executive director Eric Grace said. One individual donation came in to the tune of $100,000, while another donated 20 acres adjacent to the property. In total, $1.65 million has been raised for the project.
“The gifts we are receiving, many from first-time supporters of KLT, tell me that a community forest with easy access for everyone is very desirable and needed,” said Grace.
The next step this month is to seek support from the Idaho Department of Recreation’s Recreational Trails Program, which provides $7 million annually for trail maintenance, restoration and development across Idaho. Should work continue on pace, Kaniksu Land Trust officials hope to purchase the property and open it to the public by summer 2018.
“An ambitious goal to be sure,” said Grace, “but the people of Sandpoint, Dover and Ponderay are known for their generosity and their ability to make big things happen.”