Ferry County Rail Trail improvements continue
by Rich Landers, Spokesman Review
|Curlew Job Corps students have helped with paving sections of the Ferry County Rail Trail in May 2016. Pictured here is Tim Sauer along with the paver they call “The Smooth Move.” (Photo: Bobby Whittaker)
The Ferry County Rail Trail north of Republic is being improved with smooth surface sections.
A 8-foot wide surface of crusher fines was spread and compacted on 2.3 miles of the abandoned railway along the west side of Curlew Lake in May.
The new surfacing from Pete’s Retreat South to Herron Creek Road connects to the improvements made last summer for a total of 5.5 miles.
The Ferry County Rail Trail runs 28.5 miles on an abandoned railway from the U.S.-Canada border to an existing trail at Republic, the county seat. Some portions of the trail are in good condition for mountain biking while some stretches are still rough.
The stretch north from Curlew is especially nice as it follows the Kettle River.
The new surfacing was funded by a $198,000 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office non-motorized trail grant, said Bobby Whittaker, president of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. The group has raised thousands of dollars and donations for matching money to fund improvements.
In April 2014, the Curlew Lake Trestle across the north end of the fine fishing lake was re-decked and opened for public use.
The phase 3 plan being carried out this year also includes surface improvements to about 2 miles of rail-trail from Lundimo Meadow Road to the Curlew School then North along the Kettle River and ending at a tunnel, Whittaker said.
“These other improvements, including a new vault toilet at the Black’s Beach Trailhead, are scheduled for later this summer,” he said.
Materials for the surfacing were donated by Kinross Gold Corp., transportation of materials by ACI Northwest Inc., equipment use from Stott’s Construction and volunteer hours from Curlew Job Corps, students and many other local stakeholders and trail advocates, he said.
“Now that the full 6-mile length of trail next to Curlew Lake is improved you can see the greater potential to connect the Lake to the town of Republic,” Whittaker said.
When school starts at the end of summer, Curlew students “will have a new, safe, off-highway route to the center of town and beyond,” he said.
Trail improvements have been made through funding for non-motorized trail and recreation programs, which Whittaker says are threatened by recent Ferry County Commission actions to plan an adjacent route for four-wheelers.
County residents voted 61 percent in favor of non-motorized use of the trail in a 2009 advisory vote.
“Proceeding with a plan to motorize a section or sections of the Ferry County Rail Trail… could result in the need to repay grant funds and jeopardize future funding opportunities, Whittaker said.
Sixth annual Ski Day a big success!
Over 150 rail trail enthusiasts enjoyed a day of skiing during the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners sixth annual Ski Day. Held at a new location this year, people of all ages came from as far away as Spokane, Kettle Falls and Tonasket. Meeting at the Kiwanis Road trail head, people were greeted by volunteer ski instructors who brought over 25 pairs of skis and boots loaned by the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation. Altai skis of Curlew provided versions of their unique snowshoe-ski combination. Kids of all ages and grownups alike were fitted with boots, skis and poles and headed out toward the recently decked trestle. Keith Wakefield of Northeast Washington Recreation groomed the trail the day before creating two ski tracks and a packed deck to facilitate easy gliding over the abundant snow. First time skiers were treated to personal training by the instructors and help from the many seasoned skiers.
Ferry County Rail Trail Partners volunteers provided mounds of cookies, homemade chili, hot cider and chocolate and prepared steaming coffee donated by Scott Brothers Coffee of Danville. Ten donated TIMEX Expedition watches were awarded to lucky winners who were decked out in their own versions of retro ski outfits. When it was all over tired skiers enjoyed a cold beer donated by Rainer. Many visitors dined at local restaurants, stayed the night in motels, and enjoy swapping ski stories at the Brewery.
Every year on the second Saturday of January the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners sponsor the annual Ski Day, and every year the enthusiasm and participation grows. President Bob Whittaker commented the “multi-use, non-motorized rail-trail is a signature destination in Ferry County, offering a fun, safe, healthy community recreational experience for the enjoyment of both local residents and visitors.”
2016 Donation Opportunity
Please Consider a TAX DEDUCTIBLE Year-End Donation to Ferry County Rail Trail Partners
We can double your dollars! - Donations will go directly to the trail surfacing and other improvement projects and will be matched $1 for $1 by trail grants from the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office.
As an all volunteer federally recognized 501c3 non-profit, FCRTP prides itself on getting things done on-time, on-target and on-budget, Your donations help our volunteers build and maintain the Ferry County Rail Trail, design and print maps and apply for grants. Memberships are crucial to what FCRTP can accomplish and make a great holiday gift. Joining FCRTP helps confirm the large number of people who care about trails.
2015 was full of accomplishments:
• June 2015 – Ferry County is approved for Phase 3 funding by Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office grant. The total budget for this grant is $197,000 which will include completing surfacing along Curlew Lake south to Herron Creek Rd., installation of a vault toilet at Black’s Beach and surfacing from the tunnel north of Curlew south to at least Lundimo Meadow Road.
• May 2015 – Phase 2 surfacing project completed along Curlew Lake including the section from the east side of the trestle to Kiwanis Rd. parking area for a total of 3.2 miles. Phase 2 access control and signage was installed during the summer of 2015. This project was completed with over $35,000 in donated labor, equipment and materials which met Ferry County’s entire match commitment.
• September 2015 – Ferry County Rail Trail Partners receives four year $8,000 grant from The Great Northern Railway Historical Society. This grant will provide for four interpretive historical signs.
See the full time line, click here: Time line
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Skateboard Auction Benefits the Rail Trail
An autographed skateboard sold on eBay on 11/22 for $2,605 — money that will benefit the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. The 43-inch old-school longboard is autographed by an amazing group of international pop and rock icons including Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam vocalist; skateboarding legend Tony Hawk; Nick Zinner, Karen O and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Michael Stipe, REM lead vocalist; and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame.
The longboard by Gordon & Smith was donated by Spokane City Council member Jon Snyder. The money will go to the nonprofit Rail Trail Partners and the current trail surfacing improvement project to be used as matching funds for a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
FCRTP President Bob Whittaker has worked in the music industry for over 25 years as manager and tour manager for many recording artists. While touring, he was able to get a variety of autographs on this one of- a-kind skateboard to support the Ferry County Rail Trail.
Ferry County Rail Trail
from the air
Watch the video and get a birds-eye view of the Rail Trail
TRESTLE DECKING PROJECT RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY A BIG SUCCESS
By Brenda Starkey, Ferry County View
REPUBLIC – A crowd turned out in blustery weather Saturday afternoon for the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the old railroad trestle across the north end of Curlew Lake, part of the Ferry County Rail Trail. County
Commissioner Brad Miller snipped the ceremonial red ribbon with a pair of scissors acquired for the occasion.
The 10-foot-wide, 770-foot long trestle has been decked and railings constructed on the sides. There are also twin, cantilevered observation decks on each side of the trestle.
The trestle is phase one of the long-term rail trail development, and at the ceremony Ferry County Rail Trail Partners Vice President Keith Bell announced that the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has funded a grant application that will allow $70,000 for surfacing the trail from the trestle south toward Black's Beach trail head.
Kinross is donating $20,000, the Rail Trail Partners is putting up $10,000, and there will be $5,000 in donated labor that will serve as matching funds for the grant, for a total of $70,000.
Joel Fields from Wilbur-Ellis Company also presented the Rail Trail Partners with a check for $1,800 following the ribbon cutting. (photo by: Nick Vacarro)
The project was made possible by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement Program.
The project was the culmination of several years of collaborative effort between county commissioners, their advisory board—the Rail Corridor Committee—and the local citizens' group Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
Goldline Construction, a local company owned by Grant Tolton, submitted the winning $163,919 bid for the project. It was the lower of two bids and came in under the grant funding reserved for the project.
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