‘This is your sled hill’

Kaniksu Land Trust raises $2.1 million to purchase Pine Street Sled Hill

By Reader Staff

Shortly before the final band took the stage at the inaugural SledFest fundraiser on Aug. 26, Kaniksu Land Trust Executive Director Katie Egland Cox made an important announcement to the community members gathered around the stage.

“We have saved the sled hill together,” Cox said. “This is your sled hill!”

The culmination of efforts included $50,000 raised at SledFest and a recently awarded $600,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service through its Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. Combined with funds already raised, the award propelled KLT across the finish line, reaching the $2.1 million goal to purchase the historic Pine Street Sled Hill for the community.

Local children participate in the inaugural SledFest fundraiser. Courtesy photo.

The effort drew more than 500 individual donations, support from local businesses and the successful acquisition of multiple grants to safeguard the 48-acre parcel of land with forests, meadows, a pond and historic homestead structures. Among the features of the property is the iconic sled hill, where multiple generations of North Idahoans have recreated for more than 80 years.

“The Forest Service would like to congratulate Kaniksu Land Trust on their successful grant application for the Pine Street Sled Hill Community Forest project,” said Region 1 Regional Forester Leanne Marten. “This project will provide many benefits for the community of Sandpoint and we look forward to working together on this partnership.”

Schweitzer’s donation of 50 chairlifts from its decommissioned Musical Chairs lift was also key to meeting a matching challenge and engaging the community in the final hours of the campaign.

The coming months will open a new chapter for the community, as plans unfold for the property’s future.

“Our $2.1 million campaign goal includes not only the purchase price of the land, but also establishment costs such as planning, infrastructure development and making the property safe for public use,” said KLT Conservation Director Regan Plumb. “We look forward to opening the sled hill to the public as soon as we are able.”

The story of the Save the Sled Hill effort extends beyond financial triumphs, according to KLT organizers, intertwining with the history that shapes the community’s identity. Once a thriving ski hill in the 1940s, the Pine Street Sled Hill later embraced generations of sled enthusiasts. 

As soon as the land became available, friends of KLT acted quickly to purchase the parcel, giving the community time to fundraise. 

The road ahead calls for ongoing stewardship and financial support, KLT stated.

“This land holds wonderful memories for so many people. The stories that were shared with KLT staff over the past two years have been so meaningful to hear,” Cox said. “They worked to elevate the importance of the success of this effort.”

For further information and updates, visit kaniksu.org, subscribe to the KLT eNews or contact KLT at 208-263-9471. 

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