Reardanís Audubon Lake, long a favored spot of birders, will be dedicated as a public wildlife-viewing site Saturday, Oct. 14.
The 1 p.m. ceremony will be conducted at the access point on the south side of the property, off Railroad Avenue, east of Highway 231 and north of Highway 2. Directional signs will be posted for the dedication.
Following the ceremony, refreshments and displays about planned site amenities will be offered at the Reardan Schoolsí Smith Gymnasium on the corner of Spokane and Aspen streets. Free guided tours to the north side of Reardanís Audubon Lake, including a quarter-mile walk to an overlook, will depart from the school after the ceremony.
The dedication ceremony celebrates cooperative efforts to secure the 277-acre Lincoln County site for public wildlife watching. Partners in the effort included the Inland Northwest Land Trust, Spokane Audubon Society, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Reardan Area Public Development Authority and Susan Eastman, the former landowner.
The site was acquired by WDFW earlier this year. Funds to hold the acquisition rights were provided by the Land Trust and Audubon Society, and acquisition funding was provided by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program of the state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. Long-term management of the property will be shared by WDFW and the Reardan Area Public Development Authority.
ďPreserving this unique property as a wildlife-viewing site protects critical wildlife habitat while generating economic benefits for the community from nature tourism,Ē said Howard Ferguson, district wildlife biologist for WDFW in Spokane.
The property, 30 miles west of Spokane and north of the town of Reardan, includes wetlands, vernal ponds, grasslands and channeled scablands. The site supports more than 250 species of birds and other wildlife, including 13 species and four habitat types of special concern. Long popular with bird-watchers, the site is expected to be a key component of the planned Northeast Washington Birding Trail.
Planned site improvements include fencing, parking, toilets, walking trails, wildlife-viewing blinds, interpretive signs, and native grassland restoration. Until the public amenities are completed, the Spokane Audubon Society will manage access to the site. Advance permission for wildlife viewing, environmental education or research activities may be obtained by contacting the society at 509-838-5828.