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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

Fat bikes the ticket for old Milwaukee railroad trail

BICYCLING — Todays S-R story about long-coming proposals to begin developing the Palouse section of the abandoned railroad stretch known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is good news for bicyclists. 

Although the state of Washington acquired the railroad right of way in 1981, the section from the Columbia River east to the Idaho state line remains largely rough with gaps that make it difficult to use even if you go through the hoops to get the required permit from Washington State Parks.

BUT, the growing popularity of fat bikes offers a chance for tough riders to get on the trail now.

These bikes with extra-wide, extremely low-pressure tires tame the rough ballast and bogs that greet trail users on long stretches of the trail.

But don't expect to be the first to fat bike the entire route. Others have already figured it out.

On his 26InchSlicks blog, Spokane fat-biking-fanatic Pat Sprute has posted an excellent story with photos and maps of his 2012 trip along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail from Tekoa to the Columbia.  

Check it out and be inspired.  

Winter weary pronghorns, deer slaughtered on Montana roads, railways

WILDLIFE — For three hours on a recent afternoon, Blaine County Undersheriff Pat Pyette and a deputy shot wounded antelope in Montana.

The herd had congregated on the only place clear of snow — railroad tracks used by BNSF Railway Co.

Pyette figures he and the deputy put down about 100 animals that day, about 5 miles east of Savoy. Parts and pieces from another 200 antelope were strewn across the tracks, enough to fill a dozen dump trucks, he said.

See the rest of this disturbing report from the Great Falls Tribune.