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Pearl Jam skateboard nets $4,450 for Ferry County trail

TRAILS — Somebody made out like a bandit in an auction benefitting the Ferry County Rail Trail.

Eddie Vedder and the rock group Pearl Jam band members supported the 25-mile Ferry County Rail Trail in northeastern Washington by signing and donating a cool skateboard to an online auction that  ended Sunday night on eBay.

The winner out of 47 took the prize possession for $4,450.

But every little bit counts. Funds generated will be used to enhance the surface of the abandoned railway that connects four towns, two school complexes and meanders along miles of pristine waterfront, including Curlew Lake and the Kettle River.

The photos posted here show Vedder with the longboard and one of the major projects on the trail to reconstruct the trestle over the north end of Curlew Lake.

"Over the years, the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners have done well competing for state and federal development funds," said Bob Whittaker, president of the non-profit group, which is seeking more funding.

“We have 25 miles of donated property, much of it waterfront, along the Kettle river," he said. "We have a 770-foot trestle over Curlew Lake that was decked with $200,000 in bicycle/pedestrian safety funds, but we need surface improvements and we need them yesterday.

“An improved surface means more users, a healthier community, and happy, repeat visitors to the region.”

The "Longboard” style skate was signed by all the members of the band back stage before their sold out concert at the Spokane Arena last November. “It was a fun night- and all for a good cause," Whittaker said. "Ferry County even got a shout out from Eddie while on stage. How sweet is that!”

Eddie Vedder skateboard auction benefits Ferry County rail trail

TRAILS — Eddie Vedder and the rock group Pearl Jam band members are rallying to support the 25-mile Ferry County Rail Trail in northeastern Washington by signing and donating a cool skateboard to an online auction that's underway on eBay.

At last look, the bids were in the $2,000 range.

The auction is set to close Sunday, Aug. 31, at 7:24 p.m. (PDT).

Funds generated will be used to enhance the surface of the abandoned railway that connects four towns, two school complexes and meanders along miles of pristine waterfront, including Curlew Lake and the Kettle River.

"Over the years, the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners have done well competing for state and federal development funds," said Bob Whittaker, president of the non-profit group, which is seeking more funding.

“We have 25 miles of donated property, much of it waterfront, along the Kettle river," he said. "We have a 770-foot trestle over Curlew Lake that was decked with $200,000 in bicycle/pedestrian safety funds, but we need surface improvements and we need them yesterday.

“An improved surface means more users, a healthier community, and happy, repeat visitors to the region.”

The "Longboard” style skate was signed by all the members of the band back stage before their sold out concert at the Spokane Arena last November. “It was a fun night- and all for a good cause," Whittaker said. "Ferry County even got a shout out from Eddie while on stage. How sweet is that!”

Included as part of this auction is an original photo taken by Bob Whittaker and signed by PJ frontman Eddie Vedder. The photo of Vedder on a canoe originally appeared in Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" songbook. Vedder autographed a uke used in that recording and donated it to the Ferry County group for an auction that raised $17,000 for the trail.

The current auction is listed by Keith Bell, Vice President of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to this all-volunteer federally recognized non-profit organization.

The auction can be found by visiting FerryCountyRailTrail.com

Ferry County Rail Trail trestle decked, ready to ride

TRAILS — The Ferry County Rail Trail's Curlew Lake Trestle across the north end of the great fishing lake has been re-decked and is being opened for public use.

Ferry County Rail Trail Partners and the county commissioner’s Rail Corridor Committee will dedicate the bridge at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the east end of the trestle.

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.

"This project represents the culmination of several years of planning and effort by local, state and federal agencies and volunteers who are working together to improve the Ferry County Rail-Trail," the Rail Trail Partners said in a media release.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony refreshments followed by a group hike on the trail 2.5 miles to Black’s Beach.

State seeks tips on trophy whitetail poached near Republic

HUNTING — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife requests information leading to the arrest of suspects involved in the killing of a trophy white-tailed deer near Republic in northeast Washington’s Ferry County. 

The deer may have been killed near Gibraltar Mountain and Sherman Pass near the end of November.

Contact the WDFW Eastern Region Office at 892-1001. 

Information can also be reported anonymously through WDFW poaching hotline, 1-877-933-9847, or online.  

Colville repairing bridge on upper Barnaby Creek

FORESTS — Until a bridge is repaired, access to the Barnaby Buttes Trailhead and many prized huckleberry picking patches on the Colville National Forest will require a much longer drive for those used to accessing them off of South Fork Sherman Creek Road.

The South Fork of Sherman Creek Bridge on Barnaby Creek Road, Forest Service Road (FS RD) 2014000, has been closed because of damage sustained in the July 20 wind storm, officials reported today.

Read on for details.

Storm nearly dealt Cheney family a death blow at campsite

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CAMPING — The best part of this camping trip?   Nobody was killed.

A Cheney family survived a harrowing evening during the storm that ravaged Ferry County on July 20, 2012.

See their photos above.

See a story about the storm and brief surge of hurricane-force winds swept through the region

Ferry County residents need donations to get through storm disaster

OUTDOORS — There's plenty of firewood for keeping warm in northeastern Washington this week, but many People are hurting for other necessities.

With hundreds of families still without power after last Friday's wind storm wreaked havoc in the region, officials in Ferry County are trying to drum up help with a list of basic necessisties people are needing to get back into gear — including a family that lost their home.

"There's a snowballing effect to this Ferry County disaster," said Bob Whittaker, who lives near Curlew. "Ferry County has Washington State's highest unemployment rate.  Everyone has freezers full of deer meat that gets us through the year. Being this rural, all of us shop in bulk and freeze food. 

"But without power, its all going bad. I just found out they are still rationing blocks of ice in Republic.

"Keller on the Colville Reservation is even more devastated than North County but we are not hearing about it as much, yet. again, no power."

Appeal denied in grisly Ferry Co. murder

A decision Tuesday by appellate judges most likely ended all legal recourse for a man convicted of killing his 19-year-old employee in a brutal slaying that will forever haunt a Ferry County man who witnessed it and barely escaped with his own life.

The Division III Court of Appeals denied an argument by Cory J. Monaghan, 38, of Maple Valley, Wash., that he was not guilty by reason of insanity of first-degree murder for killing Jeremy Karavias and first-degree arson for setting fire to his uncle’s Malo, Wash., home in 2008.

“He killed and butchered that kid,” Ron Wessel said of his nephew, Monaghan. Karavias “was just an innocent kid. I think about it every day.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 29, 2008: Slain man identified as Kent 19-year-old

Locals help introduce 170,000 young trout to Curlew Lake

FISHING — Next year’s fishing season looks bright at Curlew Lake in Ferry County. About 20 volunteers helped the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department introduce 170,000 rainbow trout, 4-5 inches long, delivered last month to the a net pen tended by the Curlew Lake Association.

Hatchery trucks deposited the fish in predator-proof floating net pens local volunteers constructed and tended from pontoon boats. The fish were allowed to acclimate. Then the nets were slowly towed to the middle of the lake and released where they have a better chance of surviving their initial swim into Curlew without getting ambushed by bass and other predators.

In addition, the volunteers raise about 57,000 rainbow fry from the Spokane Fish Hatchery in net pens near Tiffany’s Resort. The fish are received in May and released in November as 9 inchers with even more capability of avoiding predation. The fish grow about a half inch a month, according to tagging studies facilitated by local volunteers.

Those fish are available to anglers now, but they’ll be about a foot long when anglers start showing up with big expectations in April and even larger for the summer crowds. 

The Curlew Lake Association is doing great things for the local community and anglers far and wide by cleaning those pens, tending the fish and other lake improvement projects during the year.  They welcome new active volunteers.  Info: Bobbi Weller, association president, (509) 755-3690.

Eddie Vedder strums up cash in Ferry County

Eddie Vedder's ukulele is proving to be a windfall for the Ferry County Trail Partners.

The Pearl Jam front man has donated his ukulele to an auction to benefit this rail-to-trail program in Ferry County. Rich Landers gives details in his Outdoors blog, which you can find here.

Growth Management: Should counties be allowed out?

OLYMPIA – The state's environmental community is fighting a plan to allow four lightly populated Eastern Washington counties to opt out of the Growth Management Act.
But in trying to generate opposition to the proposed change, the group Futurewise seriously overstated the impact that law has on Ferry County, one of four that would be allowed to drop the law under HB 1094 .
 GMA is protecting nearly three-quarters of a million acres of farmland in Ferry County, keeping it from being “paved over,” the Seattle-based organization claimed in a recent website posting and a separate appeal for funds.
“In Washington, it’s far too easy to pave over farmland if it’s not designated as such,” the group said on its website. “That’s why we were fighting so hard to get the county to property designate and protect the best of the county’s 749,452 acres of land in farms and ranching.”
Wait a minute, said Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, sponsor of the bill. There aren't 750,000 acres of farmland – or any other kind of land – subject to GMA in Ferry County…
  

To read the rest of this post or to comment, go inside the blog.
  

Ferry County trail gets $100,000 grant

TRAILS — A $100,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation will help put railings and other safety features on a 770-foot trestle — one of the jewels in the rough of the rail trail that runs 33 miles from Republic to the Canada border.

The Ferry County Rail Tail Partners group, which received the information this week, is planning a small celebration to be held in conjunction with Rail Tail Ski Day, set for Jan. 15 in Curlew.  Activities includ free ski clinics and gear us, along with snowshoeing.

These types of state transportation enhancement funds will be vital for developing the trail into a facility the communities can enjoy and will also draw much needed recreational tourism dollars to the area, said Bob Whittaker, FCRTP president.

The trail runs along a scenic route past Curlew Lake State Park as well as along the Kettle River.