Monday, April 22, 2024

City gets a little help from its 'Friends'

Staff Writer | February 25, 2024 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The “Leaning Wall” on Tubbs Hill leans no more, thanks to city crews who got a little help from their "Friends."

“Repairs needed to be done sooner rather than later,” said Dave Yadon of Friends of Tubbs Hill.

City crews spent three days this week tearing down and rebuilding a failing retaining wall along the main trail closest to the west entrance of Tubbs.

The top boards were bending, erosion was visible and it was reaching a point where it could have become a safety hazard at a narrow part of the trail.

While it was only a short stretch of the 165-acre hill, it was an important one.

Tubbs Hill is popular. It offers viewpoints to admire Lake Coeur d'Alene and numerous trails that lead around and up to the 2,500-foot summit. In a recent 12-month time frame, the hill was host to more than 350,000 visitors.

“It’s really important to keep that trail in good shape and the infrastructure up to snuff,” Yadon said. 

Monte McCully, city of Coeur d’Alene trails coordinator, said a city crew took on the task of replacing the roughly 25-year-old section of timber and steel and received some welcome help from foundation volunteers.

“It probably had a couple more years but we didn't want to take a chance,” he said.

Friends of Tubbs Hill volunteers hauled tools, materials and equipment to the leaning wall, as well as the timber and steel for the project. 

"We were glad to do what we could," Yadon said.

Because the wall worksite was tight, volunteers focused on a trail rehabilitation project some 600 feet away while city crews went about their business. They moved rock, hauled soiled and reconfigured an uneven, eroding section of the trail.

"This way the volunteers could be on call a short distance away in case the parks crew needed additional assistance," wrote George Ives, one of the Friends of Tubbs Hill.

There are about 10 such retaining walls on Tubbs Hill that will be replaced when necessary, so the project was likely the first of more to come.

The rest promise to be a little easier.

Replacing the first section of the retaining wall took two days. The second, one day.

“We figured it out pretty quick,” McCully said.