About Us

Friends of Pend d’ Oreille Bay Trail began as a broad-based community partnership committed to establishing a public waterfront trail along the Lake Pend Oreille shoreline, linking the    communities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai. The Friends of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail started with a core group of partners, including the cities of Ponderay, Sandpoint and Kootenai, as well as Bonner County and organizations such as the Idaho Conservation League and North Idaho Bikeways. In the summer of 2010, the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail reorganized as a 501C3 non-profit corporation.

Top five Trail Benefits

Waterfront Access

Idahoans and visitors love North Idaho’s beautiful lakes, but access is increasingly limited. As our community grows and changes, the shores of Lake Pend Oreille are becoming more and more crowded, and some access points are lost forever. We need our natural areas nearby where we can enjoy what makes North Idaho a great place to live.


Alternative Transportation

The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail will connect our communities with a non-motorized shoreline route for people going to work and play in Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai.


A Park for Ponderay

The City of Ponderay has waterfront property, but no safe way to access it. The vision for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail includes a railroad underpass in Ponderay to provide safe access to the waterfront.


Economic benefits

Greenways, natural areas and trails increase property values, attract tourists and increase money spent on recreation. This trail would be a destination and an attractive amenity for businesses thinking of moving to our area.



The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail features historic sites on either end – with the Humbird Mill site next to theSandpoint Water Treatment Plant and the Panhandle Smelting and Refining Company site at Black Rock. In addition, the trail offers the opportunity to learn about native plants and wildlife.



The proposed trail would help stop trespassing across the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe Railroad tracks that parallel the trail. The trail would direct users to controlled trailheads, create an underpass for Ponderay and prevent trespass where the tracks are easy to access. The trail project also would result in mutual aid agreements between cities and the county to help patrol and respond to emergencies along the trail.

Front Yard Project

The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail (POBT) is a community asset that stretches from Sandpoint for ~1.5 miles along the lakeshore providing precious waterfront access for the public.

Right now, the trail ends at a gate marking private property. It is a lovely out and back trail, but it could be much more.

The City of Ponderay and Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail are committed to creating a natural waterfront that extends to Black Rock connecting the communities of Kootenai and Ponderay and creating a stunning two-mile trail for everyone to enjoy.

Beyond that gate lies private property and Black Rock, the site of the former Panhandle Smelting and Refining Company (PSRC). Black Rock is a slag heap produced from the mining waste of the smelting operation. The ground in and around the site is dangerously high in lead and arsenic levels. Residents and visitors who access the lakefront at that spot risk their health and safety when they (illegally) cross railroad tracks and walk and play on highly contaminated soils.

The Front Yard Project will extend the POBT in a multi-phased project that will be messy at times. It will require community participation in the form of input and sometimes volunteer clean-up. It is an opportunity for us to show off our community, to enhance non-motorized transport between communities and a great place for us as a community to gather and play. It’s our front yard.


The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail weaves our communities and Lake Pend Oreille together, physically and socially, leading us from the hearts of our cities to the lakeshore and each other. Pend d’Oreille enriches the lives of residents of Bonner County and natural and cultural heritage, quiet recreation on and near the lake, and safe, non-motorized travel to and from work, school, play, shopping and social events. The Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail is a collectively held treasure, designed for sustainability and to showcase spectacular lake and mountain scenary. 

Our Board Members



Erik brubaker

Vice President

Michelle Kalphat





Art Bistline