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Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day a hit

WINTERSPORTS — The fifth-annual Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day was a huge success on Saturday at Curlew with nearly 90 people showing up, many of them taking their first shot at cross-country skiing.

The event is sponsored by the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

Thanks to J. Foster Fanning for capturing images of the moment.

Red Hot Chili Peppers sign skateboard to boost rail trail auction

TRAILS — A hot band is music to the ears of rail-trail developers in northeastern Washington this week.

The Ferry County Rail Trail is getting a boost by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who've autographed a skateboard that's being auctioned on eBay this week to benefit the 501(c)(3) non-profit Ferry County Rail Trail Partners

The group is developing a 25-mile trail in northeastern Washington between Republic and Canada, mostly along the Kettle River.

This isn't the first time top-name musicians have stepped up for the cause.

How do these big names get interested in a trail in a Washington county populated by fewer than 8,000 people — a fraction the size of the audience that signs up for just one of their concerts?

Bob Whittaker (center in photo at left), tour manager for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, also lives in a cabin near Republic and has been helping spearhead the project. He got the Peppers to sign the skateboard in Brazil on Nov. 9, 2013 when the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs opened for the Peppers while on tour in Rio de Janeiro.

Whittaker, son of Jim Whittaker, who was on the first American team to climb Mount Everest, purchased the skateboard. The eBay auction item also includes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' day sheet, set list and Bob's passes for the event in Brazil.

This skateboard isn't just a pretty wall hanger. The 9.5" x 34" Hendrix model, mid-sized longboard deck was handcrafted, signed and dated by the artisans at El Phante in Rio de Janeiro.

Celebrities sign skateboard to boost Ferry County rail trail

TRAILS — Development of the 28.5-mile Ferry County Rail Trail from Republic along the Kettle River to the U.S. Canada border is getting a boost with an auction item signed by celebrities.

A Longboard Skate - donated to Ferry County Rail Trail Partners by Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder - is being signed by celebrities as a one-of-a-kind auction item. The effort is spearheaded by FCRTP organizer Bob Whittaker, who's also a professional rock band manager currently on a world tour with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Celebs signing the board so far include Nick Zinner, Karen O and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as Eddie Vedder, Neko Case, Nick Cave and pro-skating champ Tony Hawk.

2013 FCRTP Annual Meeting 
The annual meeting of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners will be held at the Carousel Building at the Ferry County Fairgrounds, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday (April 21). Expect to find good people and refreshments, plus a Ferry County Historical Society presentation on area railroad history.

Groomed nordic tracks on Ferry County Rail Trail

WINTER SPORTS — Beautiful cross-country skiing tracks have been groomed into the Ferry County Rail Trail along the Kettle River today.
Retired Forest Service recreation specialist Keith Wakefield used a snowmobile to groom the trails today, supported by donations by members of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
The group will sponsor a Rail Trail Ski Day in Curlew on Jan. 12, featuring free use of nordic ski gear and free ski lessons for beginners.

Big snow: nordic skiers having fun, too

WINTER SPORTS — Alpine skiers weren't the only ones reveling in the early onslaught of winter and the deep powder in the mountains last week.

Cross-country skiers were having a great time making tracks from the back-country of North Idaho, on Mount Spokane's ungroomed but inviting nordic trail system, and even on the Ferry County Rail Trail, Golden Tiger section near Republic (above).