The poor air quality in Spokane leads to changes and failures in outdoor recreation


City of Spokane Parks and Recreation makes decisions to potentially cancel or change outdoor programs if the Air Quality Index reaches 150 or higher.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Washington – As smoke continues to fill the skies in the Spokane area, people are choosing to stay indoors to avoid any negative health effects. Some people also see their outdoor recreational programs change or cancel activities altogether in order to stay safe.

The north-west inland has been covered in smoke for several days due to a series of forest fires in the region. When the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency’s air quality index hits 150 – or the unhealthy level – Spokane Parks and Recreation will have to make decisions about whether to run their youth and adult programs.

City pools were closed this week due to the smoke, and Fianna Dickson, director of Spokane Parks City and Recreation Communications, said some programs at both youth and adult levels have been canceled.

It got the city to get creative.

“Some of them can get creative with it. For example, one of our outdoor programs this week is an outdoor adventure camp, ”said Dickson. “We were able to move some parts to an indoor water center.

Dickson said they can also offer people refunds if a program or camp is canceled due to conditions.

The effects of smoke are not limited to just the City of Spokane’s recreational programs. Spokane County’s golf courses also require people to be safe.

The Latah Creek Golf Course has seen a decline in golfers since the smoke moved in.

“That [smoke] along with the heat, it kept the game a little small. Or when they’re playing, they want to play early in the morning, ”said Steve Nelke, the PGA Course Pro at Latah Creek Golf Course. “We’re getting the Air Quality Index checked because it’s pretty serious and we don’t. I don’t want people to get hurt. This is a game of a lifetime and we want people to play it for as long. “

The smoke also came in time for the last youth program of the summer’s course. The golf course has not yet had to cancel anything, as the threshold for a cancellation is at 300th place on the AQI. If they cancel, the course also offers refunds.

Course participants hope there will be no closings as the staff is on their heels after a tough year and a half.

“With COVID, we had to limit the number of participants in the courses. You know, now the smoke is coming in, it was a challenge to get through it, but we can do it,” said Trevor Jensen, Assistant PGA Pro at Latah Creek Golf Course.


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