TRAILS – Another segment of the Ferry County Rail Trail was smooth-surfaced last month bringing the improved sections along Curlew Lake and the Kettle River north of Curlew to 12.5 miles.
The latest project completes surfacing on more than half of the 25-mile non-motorized rail trail that runs from north of Republic to the U.S.-Canada border, said Bob Whittaker, president of Ferry Count Rail Trail Partners.
Most of the work is being done by volunteers and area businesses with the aid of non-motorized trail grants from the the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, he said.
The years of grass-roots effort to transform the abandoned railway into a local and regional asset has caught attention in Olympia.
Whittaker was invited by Gov. Jay Inslee last week to a who’s who of Washington state outdoor advocates in Olympia.
The meeting, organized by John Snyder, the Governor's Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development Policy Adviser, sought input on budget and policy priorities and a vision for outdoor recreation in the state. Snyder is a former Spokane city councilman.
“I was thrilled to be a part of it and very happy that the governor was interested in hearing from our rural part of the state,” Whittaker said, noting that Ferry County has the smallest population in the state.
Stakeholders at the meeting included:
· Barb Chamberlain (formerly of Spokane), Chief Strategic Officer, Cascade Bicycle Club
· Bob Whittaker, Founder Ferry County Rail Trail Partners
· Kathy Young, President of Backcountry Horsemen of Washington
· Shiloh Schauer, Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
· Kendee Yamaguchi, Trade and Economic Development Director, Snohomish County
· Marc Berejka, Government and Community Affairs, REI
· Jim Goldsmith, Board member, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation
· Julie Gregg, Director of Marketing, Sportworks Northwest
· Glenn Nelson, Contributing Editor, High Country News
· Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
· David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics
· Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Advocacy Director, The Mountaineers
· Mary Dodsworth, Parks Director, City of Lakewood