Living BONNERS FERRY sign?

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Dear Editor,

During the Town Hall meeting on Feb. 25, Idaho Legislature Rep. Sage Dixon, who is on the Transportation Committee, said he is willing to help with a two-stage project for our community if I can get it going at the grassroots first level.

It is a two-stage project: first, a viewing area with access from HWY 95 northbound to allow residents and visitors to safely view and photograph (and artists to paint) this gorgeous valley; second, a living sign that will highlight and honor our community’s tree crops and logging history.

In the hope that our first settlers, the Kootenai Tribe, our area’s longtime logging industry, local tree nurseries, local artists, Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, construction company owners, and landowners in the vicinity of the project will be willing to help and will contact me after reading this, here are the basic details of what I propose:

Bonners Ferry’s gorgeous scenery is also our biggest draw for tourists and future residents. Of the countless beautiful vistas in our amazing county, one of the most sensational can best be seen halfway up HWY 95 on the north hill, but it’s a fleeting glance for most because there is no safe turnout.

I want the state to build a safe turnout with a viewing area off of the northbound lane. There is only a tiny spot to park a car off the southbound lane on HWY 95 and walk the old road to the top where two benches have been installed for us locals to use. (I’ve enjoyed that thoughtful addition in pouring rain as locals walked their dogs on the old road bed.)

Directly across from the view turnout, I want the state to build for us and visitors is a steep, bare slope with benches located directly above it. Brave teenagers have built graduation year signs there of rocks and such on that steep slope.

I know that with the right individuals involved in planning it, our logging industry, local construction companies, tree nurseries and the Kootenai Tribe could plant on that steep hill a LIVING SIGN that spells “Bonners” in native evergreens or native shrubs that will not need much maintenance to provide a living sign to promote our community’s history and natural beauty into perpetuity.

Among the reasons I’m confident about this is that I have personal knowledge from my childhood of “The World’s Largest Living Sign.”

I’ve researched this and it still exists today.

Anyone reading may want to go to ‘Canisteo Living Sign’ online.

My family lived in the village of Canisteo below the finger lakes of upstate New York while I was in junior high.

At that time, Canisteo’s biggest claim to fame was its living sign spelling ‘Canisteo’ on a hillside not far from the Canisteo River.

Since moving to bonners ferry in 1997, I have dreamed of a similar living sign here.

Just like in Canisteo, we have a river running through our beautiful valley.

But better than Canisteo, we have gorgeous mountains encircling our river, and if it were built where I am suggesting, it could be seen for miles in several directions.

Canisteo is only a square mile in size; our community seems boundless in comparison.

If you agree that we should undertake this project as a community who loves and appreciates the views and our Native American, logging, construction, and nursery histories here, please join me in forming a committee to plan this two-phase project to present to our legislator so he can begin to do his part on our behalf.

Clarice McKenney

Bonners Ferry

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