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Ferry County votes on trail

Ferry County residents will make a critical decision on Nov. 3 regarding use of a prized abandoned railway the county acquired this year:

Will motorized vehicles be allowed on the 28.5-mile route that runs from the Canada border to an existing trail at Republic?

The election-day issue has become contentious. Signs promoting a non-motorized trail have been vandalized and counterfeit response cards were detected in a survey of property owners along the trail.

“It’s clear that a vast majority of the landowners along the corridor would prefer to keep the trail non-motorized,” said Bob Whittaker, president of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

The trail corridor’s numerous natural attractions include:

•Curlew Lake for a 7-mile stretch, past resorts and over a trestle across the north end.

•Curlew State Park, with access to camping, picnicking and fishing.

•Kettle River for a 10-mile stretch that includes a tunnel and access to a county campground.

•Town of Curlew, with food, services and a nifty swimming beach.

•Safe route for Curlew kids to avoid traffic en route to school.

•Town of Republic and full services at the trail’s south end.

•Link to Kettle Valley Rail Trail at Grand Forks, British Columbia.

•Possibility for a one-of-a-kind 82-mile international horseshoe-shaped route linking 10 communities, including Kettle Falls, in the likely prospect that another stretch of railway is abandoned.