Third Panhandle Paddle 8-27-17 (35 event photos)
Thanks to each and all of the grassroots activists who converged from across the country, for third, annual, Panhandle Paddle activities co-hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies, on August 25 to 27 in Sandpoint, Idaho. Participants discussed, trained for, planned, and staged resistance to Alberta tar sands, Bakken shale oil, and Powder River Basin coal trains and terminals that have caused wrecks, fires, spills, and pollution throughout the Northwest, from the Clark Fork upriver town of Heron, Montana, to the Columbia River Gorge village of Mosier, Oregon, and dozens of other locations. Their enthusiastic involvement shows that Northwest residents will continue to protest fossil fuel and railroad industry proposals of new and expanded infrastructure, like north Idaho, double track construction and a second, Lake Pend Oreille, rail bridge. After seven Idaho and Montana train derailments and collisions, two deadly, in seven months within 43 miles of Sandpoint, concerned citizens are rising up against coal and oil train traffic that recklessly endangers the health and safety of Northwest communities, environments, and the global climate.
At a third, informal, two-hour, No2ndBridge meeting on Friday evening, August 25, at the Gardenia Center, activists shared information and brainstormed creative tactics for ongoing, collective resistance to Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s (BNSF) second, parallel, lake, rail bridge plans and pile load test preparations. Participants brought snacks, beverages, and ideas about campaign organizing, site monitoring, and bolstering Idaho Panhandle and regional momentum against this BNSF scheme, and continued conversations throughout the weekend.
Direct Action Training
Water protectors, land defenders, and climate activists gathered for a five-hour, interactive, direct action training workshop on Saturday, August 26, at the Gardenia Center. Through participant-adapted presentations and videos with discussions and practice sessions, resident and recorded trainers offered frontline skills, stories, and insights on knowing your rights, community security, strategizing, action roles, ground games, countering police tactics, and jail solidarity. Event coordinators contributed potluck food and encouraged attendance of upcoming films and trainings on specific topics.
Flotilla & Rallies
For a third year, on Sunday, August 27, activists from western Washington to New Hampshire brought their boats, bodies, and bravery to City Beach Park, for rallies and a kayaktivist flotilla around the current, Lake Pend Oreille, rail bridge. With manual watercraft and large, highly visible banners and signs, Panhandle Paddlers launched a canoe and walkers who protested en route and at BNSF’s pile load test site for a second, lake, rail bridge at Dog Beach Park. With plenty of mutual aid during four hours of actions, the successful event provided enjoyable and effective, activism opportunities.
Visit the WIRT facebook and website pages, and contact WIRT, for further background and event information, and to support necessary costs and materials with donations of funds and supplies.