Remembering My Dad and His Role in Developing the Liberty Lake Regional Park

“By the Stream” by Howard Ball (flute solo) and video footage, by Keith Harris is dedicated to my dad, Howard T. Ball for his role in preserving this beautiful treasure in Liberty Lake, Washington. 

In 1966 my father, Howard T. Ball was a  county commissioner in Spokane, Washington.The Miller family owned the land now known as The Liberty Lake Regional Park (a.k.a. Liberty Lake County Park) The family had owned the gorgeous, lush, forested land on the shores of Liberty Lake in Eastern Washington since 1930. When it came time for the Millers, in their aging years to consider selling the land, my dad, along with friend and fellow county commissioner, Jack Geraghty, went to work convincing the county to purchase the land and preserve it forever for future generations to enjoy. The Millers sold their 2,983 acres to Spokane County in 1966.

My good friend, Keith Harris has hiked over 500 miles in the park in the last 2 years. He shot and developed this video sharing the sounds of nature and the beauty of the stream and waterfall. He then, in his recording studio added my flute to the video. In this video I am playing a song that I have titled, “By the Stream.” I love how the sounds of nature (the birds, insects, and flowing water) perfectly accompany my flute music.

A view from the lake of the marsh shoreline
and forest,
part of
The Liberty Lake Regional Park

Liberty Lake Regional Park, located on the shores of Liberty Lake, Washington in Spokane County is one of the largest county parks in the state of Washington, with over 3,000 acres of wetlands, lake shore, beautiful forest, including the most delicious smelling cedar forest, gorgeous stream and waterfall.

A view of the marshland and shoreline from the beach
in Liberty Lake Regional Park

The park has a designated swimming beach, shelters, and playground equipment, and is a favorite destination for families in the Spokane area. There is also a nice, well-maintained campground and many miles of trails. The long, board walk, reaching out into the middle of the marsh lands, with a view of the mountains and Liberty Lake is a favorite for photo taking and viewing the many varieties of water fowl.

My Grandson, Joey and his wife, Jessica with their two boys,
Zeke and Eli and my granddaughter, Sammy

The Liberty Lake Loop Trail has a beautiful cedar forest and waterfall as seen in my video. The hike through the cedars and to the waterfall is 8.5 miles.

On the trail with some of my family in the
Liberty Lake Regional Park

I personally have walked the park trails for almost 20 years, either by myself or with my friends or my kids and grand kids. I love this place and have always appreciated it for its beauty and serenity. As I walk or sit by this stream, I am always grateful to my dad, Howard T. Ball for his part in saving the land to be enjoyed by all. Since his passing, I feel he is watching me and my kids and grandkids as we come here often to enjoy it and create memories. Thank you, Dad.

Photos by my daughter, Debbie

Echoes of Yesterday, By Lon Gibby Productions

Echoes of Yesterday, by Lon Gibby Productions

This is a documentary that tells an important part of the History of Washington State and the local Native people. It is about a reclamation project headed by my dad, Howard T. Ball, founder of Ball and Dodd Funeral Home in Spokane, Washington. He was in charge of relocating the native graves that were going to be covered by water when Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State was built. (The lake that was created was called Lake Roosevelt.) All of the sacred burial sites would be relocated before the dam was finished. He removed just over 1300 graves. He hired mostly Indian labor and worked closely with the native people and their chief, who were able to find the remains, and relocate them in new cemeteries established above the pending water line. The water would later rise 1300 feet above the normal level of the Columbia River. During this reclamation project he became a friend of Jim James, who was the Chief of the San Poil people. (San Poil is one of the Colville Confederated Tribes)  Chief James taught Dad how to find many of the old burial sights.

Chief, Jim James, Howard T. Ball, Henry Covington

Howard T. Ball (top row, right) with Chief Jim James (bottom row, right)
and friends and family

Dad took pictures and movies of the entire project. This video was later made by Lon Gibby Productions from his original film, taken in 1939. You will see my dad interviewed in this amazing documentary of this important part of North American history.

The video shows many of the pictures and film taken at Kettle Falls where Native People had fished for generations. This location was considered a sacred place, and if anyone passed away while fishing at Kettle Falls, they were buried above the fishing grounds.

This evacuation was a huge loss for all of the local tribes of the region – the loss of their fishery, and the salmon that had fed their people for centuries.

In 1940, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest gathered in remembrance, and mourned the loss of their ancestral fishing grounds. The gathering lasted for three days and was called “The Ceremony of Tears”.

It was estimated that eight to ten thousand people attended. Thus, this video shows the impact that the Grand Coulee Dam had on the Native People.

Purchase this video here: Echoes of Yesterday

See my blog post and a poem that I wrote as a tribute to the Indian people of this region. Ceremony of Tears, The Building of Grand Coulee Dam and a Tribute to the Local Indian People