Kalispel Canoe Journey, Sandpoint Festival Spotlight, #No2ndBridge Appeal Participation

Second Annual Remember the Water Canoe Journey

The River Warrior Society, Kalispel tribal members, and regional canoe families are hosting the Remember the Water canoe journey again this summer, paddling traditional, wooden canoes 71 miles on Pend Oreille Lake and River, from the Hope peninsula, Idaho, to the Kalispel village north of Usk, Washington [1-3].  Tentatively meeting on Tuesday, July 31, at Sam Owen Campground near Hope, participants will discuss water, wind, and wave temperature and speed and other conditions on the lake.  The journey will put-in at Denton Slough on Wednesday, August 1, after prayers and smudging the canoes at 8 am.  Approximately nine miles into their first, 20-mile day, paddlers will stop for a lunch break at Trestle Creek.

The journey plans to land at City Beach Park in Sandpoint at 3 pm or later on Wednesday afternoon, August 1, although its timing is difficult, having never previously covered this stretch of Lake Pend Oreille.  The canoeists welcome everyone and groups like Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) to greet their arrival and take-out, among possible song and prayer.  Please join us for this significant event, and for canoe smudging, prayers, send-off, and re-launch from the City Beach boat ramps, at 8 am on Thursday, August 2.

Indigenous and accompanying paddlers will continue downriver 21 miles, from Sandpoint to the next, Thursday night layover on Kalispel tribal lands, at the Carey Creek Game Management Area off Dufort Road, near Priest River, Idaho.  The voyage has also scheduled a Friday, August 3, lunch break in the Newport, Washington area, next to the Rotary Park boat launch by the river bridge, in Oldtown, Idaho.  The 17-mile, Friday paddle concludes at Downs Island, just upriver of Indian Island, near the Sandy Shores boat launch.

On Saturday, August 4, after breakfast, canoe smudges, and prayer at 8 am, the canoe journey will travel 14 miles from Downs Island, breaking at the Usk boat launch under the bridge, and reaching the Kalispel village boat launch and yearly Kalispel Tribe Pow Wow.  The destination offers buffalo burgers, camping, and Wellness Center showers.

WIRT activists are grateful for the Remember the Water canoe journey, as we resist reckless railroad coal pollution, potential oil spills, and proposed bridge construction in the life-giving waters of Lake Pend Oreille.  Please contact River Warrior Society organizer Nathan Piengkham at npiengkham@kalispeltribe.com, for finalized event itineraries.

Spotlight Messaging at the Festival at Sandpoint

As the sun sets over Sandpoint, Idaho, between 8 and 9 pm on Friday, August 3, Occupy comrades from Spokane, Washington, will graciously offer a brief, light projection display of social and climate justice messages on tall structures around the Festival at Sandpoint.  Meet in or near Lakeview Park, wherever you see this light show, for discussions among curious passersby, about #No2ndBridge and Northwest coal and oil train and terminal issues.

#No2ndBridge State Permit Appeal Participation

Unwilling to miss the Friday, July 20, deadline for challenging a state permit, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) filed pro se (without attorney representation) a notice of appeal in Idaho’s First District Court, of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) encroachment permit granted to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) for its proposed rail bridge and track expansion across Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint, the “Sandpoint Junction Connector” project [4-9].

The 12-page appeal calls for a judicial review of the permit’s issuance and public record, considering the Lake Protection Act and other state and federal laws.  It argues that the project jeopardizes water resources, air quality, wildlife habitat, indigenous rights, health and safety, navigation, tourism, and recreation, and would increase noise, pollution, and potential accidents and derailments of fossil fuels and hazardous materials trains.  The petition also states that the project would increase chemical pollution of Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, the drinking water source for over 10,000 people in the Sandpoint and north Idaho area.

“Through the final and preliminary orders’ apparent dismissal of local concerns over this project, railroad pursuit of profit, at the expense of rail line communities’ environmental and economic wellbeing, unfortunately persists in the Idaho Panhandle, in stark contrast to state of Idaho obligations to uphold the public trust.”

As anticipated, WIRT received from the court a July 25 notice of proposed dismissal and an order striking our notice of appeal, in response to a few procedural mistakes.  The documents require a reply, via an amended notice of appeal or petition for judicial review, and legal representation of non-nonprofit WIRT and co-plaintiffs by August 8.

WIRT invites the other 18 project opponents, among the majority of testifiers at the May 23, public hearings about this permit decision, to soon join as co-plaintiffs in this appeal that calls for “appropriate revision, denial, and/or revocation of the negligent and culpable, BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project application and permit.”

While initiating possible arrangements with a local attorney, WIRT is still searching and seeking suggestions and offers, from within our network, of good, inexpensive lawyers with comprehensive understandings of relevant laws, who could provide legal advice, assistance, and/or licensed, Idaho representation for this case that we plan to continue in every possible way.

The bond and filing fees for this appeal cost frugal, grassroots volunteers $721, along with looming attorney expenses that would benefit from your financial support.  We will soon post online a petition and crowd-funding campaign backing our lawsuit claims and expenditures, but meanwhile encourage your much appreciated, generous contributions, through several avenues:

Online donations: Donate to WIRT

WIRT mail boxes: 301 N. First Avenue 209B, Sandpoint, ID 83864, and P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, ID 83843


[1] Remember the Water Kalispel Pow Wow Paddle 8-3-17, August 5, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos

[2] Kalispel Paddle the Pend Oreille in Dugout Canoes, Embracing Historic Ties to the Waterway, August 6, 2017 Spokesman-Review

[3] Tribal Members to Begin Journey at City Beach, August 2, 2017 Bonner County Daily Bee

[4] Activists Appeal State Permit for Lake Railroad Expansion, July 26, 2018 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[5] Group Appeals BNSF Bridge Permit, July 26, 2018 Bonner County Daily Bee

[6] Idaho Environmental Group Appeals BNSF Bridge Permit, July 26, 2018 KXLY (Spokane, Washington)

[7] Idaho Environmental Group Appeals BNSF Bridge Permit, July 26, 2018 KMVT (Twin Falls, Idaho)

[8] Environmental Group Appeals BNSF Second Bridge Permit, July 26, 2018 U.S. News & World Report

[9] Environmental Group Appeals BNSF Second Bridge Permit, July 26, 2018 WRAL

4 thoughts on “Kalispel Canoe Journey, Sandpoint Festival Spotlight, #No2ndBridge Appeal Participation

  1. Pingback: WIRT Lawsuit & Petition Against State Railroad Bridges Permit | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

  2. Pingback: Crowdfund WIRT Litigation of Lake Railroad Bridges Permit | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

  3. Pingback: Fifth Kalispel Remember the Water Canoe Journey | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

  4. Pingback: Sixth Kalispel Remember the Water Canoe Journey | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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