Idler’s Rest begins month-long reading event

Nature preserve hopes to bring in more locals to enjoy forest, wildlife



Jaime Walker, a community outreach coordinator with the Palouse Land Trust, discusses Tales on the Trails as a way to get locals into nature at the Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve in Moscow.

RYAN LUNDBERG , Evergreen reporter

August is drawing to a close and the Palouse Land Trust must prepare for one of the most eventful months of the year for Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve in Moscow.

Jaime Walker, the event coordinator for the Palouse Land Trust, explained the annual month-long event called “Tales on the Trails” as she walked through the pines of Idler’s Rest.

“It’s totally self-guided,” Walker said. “Anyone can come out and do it. We start on Sept. 1 because it’s the first day of Literacy Month and we have little book nooks set up around the trail where there [are] logs where you can sit, with shade if it’s too hot.”

Walker pointed out the spots in the forest where she’ll set up small shelves, where visitors can pick up and read a selection of books for all ages and reading levels. Hikers are not limited to only the books provided in the book nooks. They are encouraged to bring their own and even leave their undesired books in the boxes for others to enjoy.

“[Last year] was the first time it happened, and I just started crying when I was cleaning up the books,” Walker said. “Like, ‘oh my god, there are more books than I came with.’ So that’s what’s so special, is that folks are donating too.”

Walker will change the genres of books every week in September. She will begin with plant and wildlife guides, move on to nonfiction books in the second week and finish with fiction and poetry.

Along with “Tales on the Trails,” the Palouse Land Trust will host various events in the month of September. One of these will be “Yoga in the Cedars” from 8 to 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 15.

Sarah Belschner, a mother of two from the Moscow area, said she often comes to Idler’s Rest to unwind.

“I think it’s a beautiful setup and there are short hikes that won’t take too long,” Belschner said.

Grae Foster studies electrical engineering at the University of Idaho and has come to Idler’s Rest for over 14 years with his dogs. He said the trail changed over time.

“A lot more people are coming,” Foster said. “I think it’s because both universities are growing, and I’ll come out here and see groups of students that weren’t here a year ago. I can understand why they come out, and if I were them, I’d want to too. But as a local I want to keep it kind of secret for myself.”

Some locals may want to keep the trail for themselves, but Walker said she has always been outspoken about getting more of the community involved in the Nature Preserve and Idler’s Rest.

“We talk a lot about the economic value of land, but with Idler’s Rest it’s as much about the spirituality and connecting with nature, whatever that means to you,” Walker said. “If you want to be an active member of your community, go experience some of these local treasures and see why everyone loves it here, experience it. It’s just lovely out here.”