REPUBLIC, WA–Ferry County Rail Trail Partners recently announced two key advancements that will allow for continued development of the rail trail in Ferry County.

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Rail Corridor Committee submitted the Ferry County Rail-Trail Development Plan Draft to the Board of County Commissioners for review. This plan updates and augments the original Concept Plan that was adopted by the County Commissioners in April, 2012. It also sets the stage for future development on the trail, and allows the county to continue to apply for a variety of grants that will insure completion of this project. A grant application for Phase 5 development will include surfacing from Curlew to the Kiwanis Trailhead, which will complete the surfacing of the entire 25-mile rail trail.

“This will be a tremendous benefit to Ferry County’s effort to complete development of the rail trail, connect our communities and bring recreational tourism to our area,” says Bob Whittaker, President of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

(Photo: Ferry County Rail Trail Partners)

The Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program (WWRP) has received $80 million with the State Legislature’s recent passage of the $4.3 billion Capital Construction Budget. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is a nonprofit organization that leverages the voices of over 280 diverse groups working together to ensure robust public funding for Washington’s great outdoors.

In a January 25, 2018 press release the WWRC said “After being delayed by several months due to a stand-off over an unrelated policy issue involving rural water wells, the legislature’s funding for the WWRP will allow over 100 new high-priority land conservation and public recreation projects to move forward.”

The grants will assist communities in all parts of the state, by funding projects such as the Ferry County Rail Trail – Phase 4 development.

(Photo: Ferry County Rail Trail Partners)

The WWRC went on to say, “Protecting and creating access to public lands is crucial in 2018, as Washington’s population grows and development threatens key habitat and recreation areas. These public lands directly affect the health and wellness of Washington residents and wildlife, support over 227,000 jobs, and help generate $22.5 billion for the state’s economy.”

Ferry County was ranked 6th out of 22 applicants in the WWRP Trails Category. Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office Grant# 16-1936D, Phase 4 will include completion of crusher fines/aggregate surfacing from 3.8 miles north of the tunnel to Danville at the border near Grand Forks, British Columbia for a total distance of 3.5 miles. This will complete surfacing for the Curlew to Danville section.

Men pour a new paved trail.

(Photo: Ferry County Rail Trail Partners)

Included are a proposed primitive campsite and an additional picnic area on BLM parcels that provide access to the Kettle River. A composting toilet is proposed that will service both trail users and the campsite. The trailhead near Danville will be improved, and an informational kiosk will be installed. The budget for Phase 4 is $165,000 with an $83,000 sponsor match, with the Recreation & Conservation Funding Board (RCFB) providing $82,000 towards the project. The state-funded portion of the five other successful grant applicants range from $500,00 to $2,800,000.

The Ferry County Rail Trail has set the standard for cost efficiency with taxpayers funds. In 2017, the RCFB announced a match waiver program for underserved communities. This will allow for a reduction in grant match requirements for Ferry County from the previous 50% to 10%.

Follow the Ferry County Rail Trail Facebook Page to stay up to date on the latest project developments.

A group of bicyclists gather.

(Photo: Ferry County Rail Trail Partners)

You can also check out this previous OTO digital article on the Ferry County Rail Trail for a short video highlighting the beauty of the rail trail.