Spokane Rowing Club Relocates

Map showing general location of Silver Lake Public Boat Launch

Spokane River Rowing Association opens this season on Silver Lake near Medical Lake in eastern Spokane County. We look forward to having more days on the water at the lake location and it’s a great place to launch our boats. On the river, the rowing season usually started in June as the river is quite swift with spring runoff. Since Felts Field would not consider issuing a lease to SRRA to remain at the site near Upriver Dam, we were fortunate to get a permit from the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife to launch at Silver Lake. With our new site, we look forward to getting on the water in May and rowing until November. We will offer Learn-to-Row courses each month and novice (completed Learn-to-Row course) and experienced rowing sessions at least 5 days/week.

New recruits who have been practicing on rowing machines this winter are eager to get on the water. Experienced rowers are also looking forward to the 3500 meter long lake. We’ve worked hard to establish a safe site at Silver Lake which also offers plenty of parking. Rowing is a growing sport in the Northwest. We are an inclusive and welcoming club and are excited to share it with people. If you are interested in finding out more contact srra@spokanerowing.org.

Gayne Sears, President

2021 Spring President’s Message

Gayne Sears / SRRA President 2021
As newly elected President of SRRA I hope to help the club rebuild a viable and enjoyable Masters rowing season in 2021 as conditions permit. Unfortunately we will not be offering Learn to Row sessions this year. We are hopeful and are keeping in contact with Gonzaga rowing to share our interests and willingness to adapt. Please know that members are welcome and encouraged to attend our SRRA board meetings, as your Board is open to new ideas and we encourage active participation.

My rowing biography starts at University of California Davis in the mid 1980’s where I walked onto a small but mighty women’s club team and rowed starboard on every outing from then on. I made some of my best friend during that year on the freshman crew and keep in touch with them to this day. I skipped rowing the following year (needed to study harder), but I participated as the land coach and pushed my teammates to run the stairs faster and lift the weights harder. I rowed seven seat in the varsity eight the following year, with my favorite win a Head of the Sacramento 5000 meter race where we pounded our competitor by several boat lengths!

Twenty years later I took a weekend sculling class, five years after that I moved to the PNW and joined SRRA, where I increased my sculling, sweep, and coxing skills. I’m also a founding member (and President of the Board) of the Pend Oreille Rowing and Paddling Association and am planning a rowing and paddling event on the Priest River for the summer of 2021.

I have rowed with international clubs in Scotland and Victoria BC and am enticed by rowing vacations across the world. I adore rowing, I adore the people who row and cox, and most of the time I adore the coaches :) JK. Rowing is my lifelong sport and I try to lure people into it wherever I go.

Your Other Board members for 2021 are:
Dennis- Vice President
Julie/Brandon Treasurer
Peggy – Secretary
Bob, Bruce, Marnie At Large

2020 June SRRA President’s Letter

Dear SRRA Crew Members:

Welcome to the beginning of another rowing season.  As we have all come to expect from the pandemic, this season will look like none we have ever experienced.  The new Board of Directors has been meeting and planning all year and while most of our planning will likely not materialize as we envisioned, we are excited about the Club’s successes over the past year, and we look forward with great enthusiasm to what we will be able to do this year and the years to come.  Spokane Rowing and our Club are very much alive and well.

Here are some updates and plans for 2020:

Spokane River Flow

As you know, every year we constantly monitor the official River flow of the Spokane River to determine when we can access the water.  We feature information from the USGS on our website, https://www.spokanerowing.org/wp/river-flow/, where you can track the river flow for yourselves.  As of today, it is under 10,000 cfs (cubic feet per second); we typically wait until flows get down to 10,000 to 12,000 CFS before we consider it safe to get on the water.  

Gonzaga Women’s Rowing Coach

You may have heard that there is an opening for the head coaching position for Gonzaga University Women’s Rowing.  Our own Mark Voorhees has applied for the important position and we think he would be an excellent choice.  On behalf of the Board, I submitted a letter of recommendation for Mark, and our Past President, Marnie Schroer, also submitted her own personal recommendation.  Good luck, Mark!

Due Diligence

We are consulting with and monitoring a number of organizations, entities, and experts regarding the appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including US Rowing, Spokane Regional Health District, the Office of the Governor, Gonzaga University, and other local and regional governmental officials.  The goal here is to determine to what degree and in what form we may be able to engage our sport and to provide a safe and healthful environment for all of us.

Learn to Row 2020

The Board unanimously determined that our popular Learn to Row Summer Program will be cancelled for 2020.  We were all challenged by having to make this call, but all had strong conviction that this was the right decision.  There is simply too much uncertainty regarding access and safety to reasonably expect to be able to offer the program beginning early July.  We will certainly engage with those expressing an interest and keep them connected for a big splash in 2021.


As you all know, a portion of the money we pay every year is our Club Membership dues of $100.00.  The balance of what we pay is for our actual coached rowing and competition privileges.  The membership dues are just that; we pay to belong to SRRA.  The club’s operating expenses continue whether we are rowing or not, including US Rowing liability insurance, equipment insurance and licenses.   Because we consider this a contribution and because we are a 501(c)(3) corporation, this is a non-profit or charitable contribution.  Notwithstanding, this year is unique and likely our time on the river may be impaired, but each Board member will pay their membership fee for 2020.  We encourage each of you to do the same.  This can easily be done through our website https://www.spokanerowing.org/wp/practices/ or just send us a check to SRRA, P.O.. Box 13646, Spokane Valley, WA  99213.

Rowing Experience 2020

The more we live through this pandemic, and the more we learn about how the coronavirus is transmitted, the more challenging a rowing experience becomes.  It is a very athletic endeavor, with all of us exerting ourselves and breathing hard, as well as being in very close proximity to each other.  To say nothing of the amount of equipment we jointly share and handle.  We have not seen any recommendation which makes this an easily answered inquiry.

Nevertheless, we continue to look at all the possibilities of providing some kind of rowing experience this summer which would offer the depth of safety and health we expect as part of our “Rowing DNA.”  Stay tuned!

Other Club Activities

Because we are also a social organization, the Board is looking for ways to continue to engage and share our lives in other ways.   Marnie Schroer has offered to set up a Virtual Regatta if there is enough interest, we only need 15 competitors.  If you would like more details or would like to throw caution to the wind and just sign up, email Marnie at mschroer44@gmail.com.   How about a Zoom Happy Hour hosted by Carol Williams?    Carol will we put some dates and times together and we will get this party started!

More information to come!  In the meantime, please take care of yourself.

Peggy Coyle, President