Trestle Creek is a magnificent place, where one can spot spawning kokanee, bull trout, beaver dams and eagle nests, and is loved by North Idaho locals and visitors alike.

On September 6, hundreds of individuals showed up on its behalf, at a public hearing regarding the Idaho Club’s latest proposal for development at the mouth of the creek. And the IDL extended the comment period.

The proposal to build five single-family estates and a private marina has raised community concern. To move forward, the developer needs a number of permits, including a Lakebed Encroachment Permit from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the agency responsible for permitting docks and marinas. IDL is required to consider whether projects are in the public’s interest because lake beds are held in trust for the benefit of all.

Bright red kokanee spawning in the crystal clear water of Trestle Creek.
Trestle Creek represents the most significant spawning habitat for bull trout in the region, along with accessible sites to view Kokanee spawning areas.


Since the public comment period opened in early July, IDL has received over 1,300 comments, with approximately 96% expressing opposition to the proposed development. Last week’s hearing provided an opportunity for individuals to voice their concerns in person, as well as to hear about the proposal directly from the developers. 

The Idaho Club and their partners from Whiskey Rock Planning and Consulting presented their plan as an enhancement to the area. However, their entire presentation was based on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion that was withdrawn in the Fall of 2022, undermining their argument in the eyes of many in the audience. The suspension of the biological opinion followed litigation filed by ICL and the Center for Biological Diversity, based on its failure to consider the cumulative long-term effects to bull trout . When asked about the potential impact of increased boat and human activity on the habitat, the Idaho Club had no comment. 

About 75 concerned citizens testified, with the vast majority in opposition to the proposal. Some presented factual arguments, while others shared personal family anecdotes and emotional pleas to safeguard the area and the fish and wildlife that depend on the inhabit. The diverse array of comments showed how many people value Trestle Creek, and emphasized the substantial loss that this development would represent. 

The Idaho Department of Lands has until October 23 to make a decision on whether it is in the public’s best interest to grant the lakebed encroachment permit. ICL, and apparently many others in the community, believe the public would be better served by recovering our endangered bull trout and protecting natural wonders like Trestle Creek for generations to come. 

It is important to note that even if this permit is granted, there are further steps to be taken before construction can begin. The developers will need several other permits from various agencies, such as a Dredge and Fill permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, a Stream Alteration Permit from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, and a Planned Unit Development Permit from Bonner County. These additional permitting processes will provide additional opportunities for the public to weigh in.