After reviewing the state of Idaho’s guidance on holding large public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail has reluctantly concluded that it is not practical to host the Bay Trail Fun Run this summer.
Normally, this annual community event occurs in early June. In March, the Friends group postponed the Fun Run until Aug. 30. However, recent state guidance that calls for social distancing for participants and volunteers will be difficult to follow given the nature of the event.
Also, with the uncertainty surrounding all public events this summer, registration has been slow. And due to the economic hit of the virus, some sponsors have had to withhold their support this year. The Friends will be refunding registrations and will work with existing sponsors to return sponsorships or hold them for the event in 2021.
This year would have been the 8th Annual Bay Trail Fun Run, a family-friendly 5K and 10K run and walk along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille and Sand Creek in Sandpoint.
Instead of a large group run/walk, the Friends are encouraging trail users to gather friends and family to do their own run or walk along the trail between now and Aug. 30, take a photo, and post it on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #baytrailfunrun2020.
Everyone who participates by recording their run or walk on social media with the hashtag will be entered into a raffle for a free pair of Brooks running shoes, courtesy of Outdoor Experience. The drawing will be held on Aug. 30th, when the rescheduled Fun Run was to be held.
The Bay Trail Fun Run is known for its low-key vibe and great views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The race starts and finishes at Sandpoint City Beach in front of Trinity Restaurant, the host of the event. For the socially distant 2020 run/walk, the Friends recommends starting and ending at City Beach, and going as far along the trail and back as you can.
The Bay Trail Fun Run is the signature fundraising event for the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, a Sandpoint non-profit that is dedicated to working with the community to expand and enhance a lakeshore trail connecting the communities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai.
The trail has seen increased use this year – especially following the state’s Stay-At-Home order in April, underscoring the importance of trails near where we live and work.
The first Fun Run was eight years ago, shortly after the trail along the lakeshore was opened to the public when the cities of Sandpoint and Ponderay began purchasing privately held property along the shoreline. The Bay Trail Fun Run celebrates the opening of this mile and a half of shoreline to the public and introduces people to the shoreline trail who haven’t experienced it before.
The Fun Run is the most visible activity of the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. Less obvious is the pursuit of the group’s mission to connect the shoreline communities with this trail. The Friends is currently assisting the City of Ponderay with efforts to fund the construction of a railroad underpass that would connect the shoreline trail and the lakeshore to the town, which is blocked from the lake by a double set of railroad tracks.
The Friends also maintain the trail, provide the portable toilet at the trailhead, and are working on funding improvements and amenities, such as providing safe water access through the large rock rip rap along the banks.
While the Bay Trail Fun Run is on hold for another year, supporters can still contribute to efforts to expand and improve this shoreline trail by making a donation. To make a donation online, or for more information, visit www.pobtrail.org or find Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail on Facebook or Instagram.