Ponderay, the “little city with a big future,” made a big commitment to its own future this week when the city council voted to make every effort to purchase nearly 2,500 feet of shoreline in its city limits.

The purchase won’t happen for another two years, but is part of a four-year deal shoreline property owners have made to sell nearly one mile of shoreline to the cities of Sandpoint and Ponderay.

Last month, the city of Sandpoint agreed to set aside money in its budget to purchase the first 200 feet of shoreline-the anchor for what some day will be the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, a non-motorized corridor connecting the cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai along a shared shoreline.

If the deal is sealed, Sandpoint would purchase another 500 feet next year, and in the final year (after Ponderay’s purchase), the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail will have raised enough money to purchase the last parcel with 1,600 feet of shoreline.

This doesn’t complete the trail, or build a much-needed railroad underpass in Ponderay, but it does sew up a big chunk of shoreline and make it a public shoreline for the first time-even though people have been traveling this trail for years.

And it builds momentum and confidence so that eventually the entire Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail will be completed and provide much needed lakefront access to the people who live here and a safe, beautiful path for getting around the communities on the northwest shores of the lake.