After a two-year absence, the Ferry County Ski Day has returned and is scheduled for Saturday.
“We have a nice base, it’s ready to rock and we might get some sun this weekend,” said Bobby Whittaker, president of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. “We’re just celebrating the trail and public land and trying to come together outside.”
The annual cross country ski day is free and the Spokane Parks and Recreation department is providing skis for no cost. There will also be free lessons. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and in 2021 due to low snow. This year’s event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will start at the Curlew trailhead. The day is sponsored by Ferry County Rail Trail Partners, the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation, REI and Altai Skis.
Unlike previous years, Whittaker said they won’t be providing food or drinks, but he encouraged people to get food and coffee from Tugboats or the Curlew Saloon.
Although the ski day is not a fundraiser, it does highlight ongoing trail work in Ferry County. For years, a local coalition has worked to build a 25-mile nonmotorized trail from a few miles north of Republic to the U.S.-Canada border. That effort has been stymied in the past by local politics.
That seems to have shifted, Whittaker said.
“We have great support in the commissioners office now, which is huge,” he said. “The future is pretty bright here in Ferry County for recreation and tourism, we couldn’t be happier.”
On Monday, the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners announced the results of their year-end fundraiser. The group’s initial goal to raise $16,000 was met and surpassed by donations totaling $21,186, according to a news release from the organization.
Organizers plan to use a portion of the funds for the 10% match requirement related to a development grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).
That grant will pay for more trail surfacing between Curlew Lake and Curlew, as well as a permanent vault toilet at the Curlew trailhead. The rest of the funds will be used to pay for expenses related to the three major trail washouts, and to fund the group’s winter nordic ski grooming program.
“The community showed up big time and we thank everyone that has donated, past and present, to make our community trail a reality,” vice president and project manager Keith Bell said in a statement.
“We have been grooming at Curlew Lake and along the Kettle River to the tunnel, and with 14 inches of new snow this morning, we’re in pretty good shape for the return of Ski Day,” Whittaker said. “It’s exciting to think that this year we’re going to finish what we started, thanks to overwhelming community support.”
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