Save the Cancourse!
The Cancourse connects the Coeur d’Alene National Forest (including the peak of Canfield Mountain) to our community. Unfortunately, some individuals don’t want to share our public streets, and creative complaints to the Kootenai County Community Development Department have led officials to demand that the public be locked out of the Cancourse. The Cancourse owners are appealing this edict, and your support is critical to success. Submit a comment, attend the public hearing, save the Cancourse!
Submit a comment
The most important action you can take to support ongoing access to the Cancourse is to submit a comment before 4:00pm on December 9, 2019. Assuming you are supportive of the appeal and agree that the Cancourse can legally allow public access without a conditional use permit, the following template should suffice for emailed comments. For full instructions (such as alternate submission methods), see this PDF of the appeal notice.
From: A. Citizen <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Case APP19-0004 (Cancourse) A. Citizen 999 X Street City, ID 838__ Case number: APP19-0004 File name: Cancourse, LLC - Jason Evans I support the Applicant request. The Cancourse is not an outdoor recreation facility, and Kootenai County should not prohibit public access.
Please include a comment in your own words that describes how the Cancourse is important to you and/or the community. Here are some suggestions to get you started, based on feedback we have received over the past year.
- I can hike to the top of Canfield directly from the edge of town.
- I can walk my dog every day in peace.
- I can enjoy great views of the valley below without going all the way to the top of Canfield.
- I can ride my bike on Canfield without the danger of being struck by a motorcycle.
- I can ride my bike on the Cancourse early in the spring and late in the autumn, when snow/mud make the trails up in the national forest impassable.
- I enjoy the visual beauty of Canfield Mountain without a full skirt of residences perched on its sides.
You may also want to comment at length on why the Cancourse should never have been issued a notice of violation. For additional detail, read the three-page application for appeal. Here are the main points:
- The Cancourse is not an outdoor recreation facility. It is a commercial timberland compatible with limited forms of recreation.
- There are no improvements on the land. Forest, roads, trails, fences, and signs do not constitute a facility.
- There is no precedent for classifying the Cancourse as a recreational facility. Similar uses throughout Kootenai County are not bound by conditional use permits.
- County officials insist that the Cancourse must be posted No Trespassing, and the public prohibited from entering. This is a violation of property rights, based on a presumption that Cancourse is somehow irredeemably tainted, and that its owners are denied the right to allow access. This is especially bizarre in light of strongly worded state laws that limit liability, specifically to encourage private land owners to allow access.
- County officials insist that the cancourse.net website must be taken down. This censorship has a chilling effect on public discourse that is generally harmful.
You can access the public records for this appeal, including the application for appeal, list of notified neighbors, and comments submitted by the public (as they are processed). Enter APP19-0004 as the project number in the search box on the Project search web page, then click the SEARCH button.
Attend the public hearing
The public hearing will begin at 6:00pm on December 19, 2019, at the following location:
Administration Room 1
Kootenai County Administration Building
451 Government Way
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Please attend the hearing to help the hearing examiner recognize the Cancourse’s positive impacts.
The hearing promises to be interesting, in part because the complaint process provides anonymity for the complainant for as long as the case is open, and the complaint itself also remains obscured. We have inferred from communication with county officials and neighbors (but do not definitively know) that the complaint contained a smorgasbord of items, with the hope that at least one would be acted upon. Likely complaints:
- There is site disturbance without a site disturbance permit.
- The site is a “privately owned outdoor recreational facility open to the public”, operating without a conditional use permit.
- There is no provision for off-street parking.
- Street traffic/parking constitutes a fire hazard because East Shadduck Lane is so congested that emergency crew access is blocked.
It is probable we will hear further complaints such as:
- People are using a public street.
- People are making noise on a public street.
- Someone might burn the forest down.
- Someone might pee on my lawn.
In all earnestness, while we might excuse dogs peeing on lawns, we hope people find more appropriate places to relieve themselves. Indeed, we all benefit from mutual respect and kindness both on the Cancourse and off.