Friday, May 29, 2009

Railing for Trails

In the golden hills and pine cloaked mountains of northeastern Washington, a broad coalition of folks have gotten on board to create the state’s next great rail trail.
The proposed 28-mile Ferry County Rail Trail will not only provide hikers, cyclists, and cross-country skiers with stunning views of the Kettle River and the lofty and wild Kettle River Range rising above it, but it’ll also become the first international rail trail in the western United States.
Named after the sparsely populated county it traverses, the trail will run from just outside of the historic gold mining town of Republic north to the riverside burg of Danville on the Canadian border. From there the trail will tie in with B.C.’s extensive Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Utilizing a rail bed that served as the local timber industry’s lifeline for nearly a century, the new trail has great potential in promoting an economy based on sustainable ecotourism.
A major highlight along the trail, Curlew Lake, is home to one of Washington’s loveliest state parks, Curlew Lake State Park (where Heather and I tied the knot in 2006), with lakeshore camping and wonderful swimming, fishing, and paddling opportunities. At the north end of the seven-mile long lake is a historic trestle, destined to be a popular feature along the trail.
While local support for a non-motorized trail is strong, spearheaded primarily through the efforts of Bob Whittaker and the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (FCRTP), a small but vocal faction would like to see the proposed trail open to motorcycles and ATVs. Don't let that happen! Help the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners make this trail Washington's next great non-motorized rail trail!

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