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Beach and shoreline access on Lake Pend Oreille, specifically near our population centers, is limited. With limited access comes crowding. We live here for many reasons, one of them being our lake and we like access to water with peace and quiet, to discover things like flora and fauna and to linger. As our community grows, our level of access is diminished, while our opportunities to secure public waterfront are challenged…

The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail (POBT) is a community asset that stretches from Sandpoint for ~1.5 miles along the lakeshore providing precious waterfront access for the public.

Right now, the trail ends at a gate marking private property. It is a lovely out and back trail, but it could be much more.

The City of Ponderay and Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail are committed to creating a natural waterfront that extends to Black Rock connecting the communities of Kootenai and Ponderay and creating a stunning two-mile trail for everyone to enjoy.

Beyond that gate lies private property and Black Rock, the site of the former Panhandle Smelting and Refining Company (PSRC). Black Rock is a slag heap produced from the mining waste of the smelting operation. The ground in and around the site is dangerously high in lead and arsenic levels. Residents and visitors who access the lakefront at that spot risk their health and safety when they (illegally) cross railroad tracks and walk and play on highly contaminated soils.

The Front Yard Project will extend the POBT in a multi-phased project that will be messy at times. It will require community participation in the form of input and sometimes volunteer clean-up. It is an opportunity for us to show off our community, to enhance non-motorized transport between communities and a great place for us as a community to gather and play. It’s our front yard.

The good news is that we have the funding to complete the cleanup of the soils around the smelter area and potentially purchase the privately held land through a combination of Grant funds and the “penny tax”, a sales tax authorized by Ponderay voters and dedicated to two local projects, Lake Access and the Field of Dreams.


The primary components of the project

Brownfields Cleanup Grant – clean up the toxic soils around the former PSRC.
Purchase of privately held property.
Construction of a railroad underpass for Ponderay residents to access the trail.

The Front Yard Project Overview
  1. Details
  2. Benefits
  3. Background
  4. Brownfields Cleanup
  5. Frequently Asked
  6. Questions and Inquiries

If you’d like to stay informed and/or provide feedback on this project, you can do so here.

Get in touch.