Friends of the Trail

Updated: Aug 6

The North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation continues to provide opportunities to stay connected and celebrate the outdoors in 2020

By Taylor Shillam

Photo Courtesy of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation


It’s no secret that Coeur d’Alene’s community members celebrate the outdoors.


In a beautiful town surrounded by every possible opportunity to be active outside, there are those who take that passion to the next level and find ways to ensure the favorite local destinations for active community members are well taken care of.


That’s where the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation (NICTF) comes in.


The North Idaho Centennial Trail is 23 miles long, extending from the Idaho and Washington state line over to Higgins Point, located a few miles east of Coeur d’Alene, at the end of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive. Loved and enjoyed by runners, walkers, bikers and families on a daily basis, the paved trail is well-known and well used throughout the year.


A cooperative effort shared by the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, Kootenai County, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, and the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, the trail is shared and loved by many.


The NICTF was founded in dedication to the maintenance and capital improvement of the trail. It supports the continuous development of new trails and non-motorized trail connectivity throughout North Idaho.


A nonprofit organization founded solely through private contributions, the NICTF values and recognizes its members. “Every membership makes an impact,” the foundation’s website states, recognizing that the amount of community members who use and enjoy the Centennial Trail every year is in the hundreds of thousands.


Community members can join the NICTF as an individual “Friend of the Trail” or as a business with levels including small business, corporate, and the “Supporters”—the highest level of membership recognition every year.


Each year, the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation holds three main fundraising events: the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, Ales for the Trail and Coeur d’Fondo.


This year, as event planning has become increasingly unpredictable, the Ales for the Trail event has needed to change its course for 2020. In the spirit of community safety and support to local businesses, the event has been changed to Brew Hop in a Bag.


From every $30 purchase of the Ales for the Trail Brew Hop in a Bag, all proceeds support the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation and its mission of keeping the trail clean, safe and well-maintained. Each bag contains goodies from the NICTF, local breweries and more, allowing participants to enjoy the flavors of the area.


Bags are on sale now through the foundation’s Facebook page and website, and will be available for pickup from the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce during business hours beginning August 1. The bags will be available through the month of August, with a virtual live auction to follow on September 2.


As of press time, the foundation’s remaining major annual fundraisers for the year, the Coeur d’Alene Marathon and Coeur d’Fondo, as well as their upcoming 30th Anniversary Party, are scheduled to occur.


The Coeur d’Alene Marathon is scheduled for the morning August 23 in McEuen Park. According to Negative Split, participant safety is the event organizers’ first priority, and they will be implementing several new measures to enhance safety for both participants and spectators.


New measures will include a self-selected start time window (i.e. 7 to 7:30am), signage displayed to encourage physical distancing, and the ability for spectators to watch their finisher live online, with finishing photos and videos available for download.


To keep up with regular updates to the status of the Coeur d’Alene Marathon and safety measures taken during this time, visit NSplit.com and follow the Coeur d’Alene Marathon on Facebook.


On September 19, the Coeur d’Fondo, a bike ride around the perimeter of Lake Coeur d’Alene, promises breathtaking views of lakeside communities and forest scenery. Riders will enjoy scenes along Highway 97 and finish their ride in Downtown Coeur d’Alene to celebrate Oktoberfest.


The year’s events will conclude with the foundation’s 30th Anniversary Party, set for October 1 in the Innovation Den.


Volunteers and sponsors are always welcomed for the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation’s major events, or one of their smaller, third-party fundraising events throughout the year. The foundation promises a fun-filled event showcasing great craft breweries, wineries and ciders along with live music and local food vendors. Truly an event for the entire community, all proceeds from the party will support the NICTF in its continued maintenance of the Centennial Trail. Mark your calendars for the celebration on October 1 at 6pm.


The foundation provides several additional ways to continue to show your support. The Sponsor-A-Mile Program is a great way to show your support. Sponsors are recognized through signage placed on the trail, along with social media posts, website recognition, a support sticker and a press release. You can join the waitlist for the three-year minimum commitment to Sponsor-A-Mile, found on the foundation’s website.


Ongoing projects for the NICTF are currently accepting donations, a great way to contribute to the trail’s continued improvement and safety. Current projects include bridge lighting at the North Idaho Centennial Trail Bridge, near the Idaho/Washington state line.


As the bridge currently is without a lighting system, vandalism and costly repairs have been a repeat issue. The North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation aims to help Kootenai County by raising enough funds to provide a lighting system for the bridge.


Signage and maintenance for the trail are a continued focus for the foundation. They aim to continue to keep the trail safe, clean and well-marked for all who enjoy it.


Visit the foundation’s website, NICTF.org, to learn more about the foundation’s members, goals and initiatives. There, you can become a member or sponsor, and plan your next visit to the trail with their interactive map.


Continue to celebrate adventure this summer in the last few weeks of the season. The North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation events provide the perfect combination of outdoor activity, community celebration and the ability to make a difference in the environment we cherish.