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FCRTP is a federally recognized, non-profit 501(c)3 organization

Safe Routes to School
programs enable community leaders, schools and parents
to encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school.
Learn more

What is the
Ferry County rail trail?

Click HERE

Answers to common
questions regarding railroad abandonment. Click HERE

Learn about rail banking.
Click HERE

Express your concerns, questions, and comments.
Click HERE

Tunnel on rail corridor Skiing on rail corridor Rail corridor
A growing collection of photos of the rail corridor
and multiple uses.


The Ferry County Commissioners, led by Commissioner Mike Blankenship, are currently working on a plan that may dissolve the County’s Rail Corridor Committee (RCC), rescind all previous rail-trail resolutions and potentially turn it over to be managed by the Golden Tiger Pathway Committee who have not applied for a grant since the Ferry County Rail-Trail was railbanked in 2008.

The RCC is one of the most successful all volunteer committees in the history of the County. The RCC was responsible for the community driven Rail-Trail Concept Plan, developed with a National Parks Planning Grant. This Concept Plan was adopted as Resolution No. 2012-09 and is essential to seeking the grant funding which has allowed the RCC to work on 3 phases of trail development so far. The Phase 4 grant application was tabled by the Commissioners two weeks ago and remains in limbo. 

ACTION: If you want the Ferry County Rail-Trail to continue to have the support of the commissioners’ office and to continue to win federal and state development grants then the Commissioners need to hear from you. Please plan to attend the public meeting May 22 at 1:00pm in the commissioner’s office. Bring your written comments to submit to the Commissioners. Please email in your comments to and cc Go to for a link to detailed information on this issue including the audio recording of the Commissioners’ session on May 1 where this plan is discussed.  Please note that on Saturday, May 13 RCC Chair Bobbi Weller received a letter giving notice of the intent to vote to dissolve the RCC from Commissioner Davis.

Click the link for audio and other relevant files related to the upcoming Monday May 22 at 1pm Commissioner’s meeting!AieVwd4m1i_k0jxEEQMCB4B2gck8

Brief Rail Trail History

•  December 15, 2008 - BOCC signs railbanking agreement transforming the corridor into a long public park. Volunteer railbanking attorney provided by Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
•  April 17, 2009 - BOCC passes Resolution 2009-26 which creates the Ferry County Recreational Trails Committee and appoints 5 motorized advocates and 4 non-motorized advocates as members.
•  Summer 2009 - failure of RTC due to lack of common purpose prompts November 2009 advisory vote.
•  November 3, 2009 - General Election results on the advisory ballot measure are over 60% favor non-motorized trail for the entire rail corridor.
•  February 7, 2010 - BOCC passes Resolution 2010-01 Amending Resolution 2009-06 thereby creating the Rail Corridor Committee. This resolution states in part “the Board of Ferry County Commissioners realize the continued need to have a special advisory committee to advise and make recommendations to the Board of Ferry County Commissioners regarding the future management of the trail. The Board of Ferry County Commissioners feel this committee should be more specific to ‘multi use non-motorized’ for the portion of the Rail Corridor described above.”
•  Since 2010 - Seven successful grants have been received that provided for development of the Curlew Lake trestle decking and surfacing of over half of the 25-mile long rail-trail.

JUST RELEASED: Updated rail trail map. Cick here.

For up to date info and trail conditions please check our Face Book site:

LLS Fun Run Volunteering*
May 21, 2017, the first annual Ferry County Rail Trail Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Fun Run will be taking place. We need all the help we can get to make this fundraiser a success, and we’re looking for volunteers! The event will start at the Rail Trail parking lot in Curlew and take place from 2-4 pm, with set up starting around 12:30. We need people to work at the info/signup and water/food booths, to help with setup and take down, and to walk along the trail during the run to help make sure there are no incidents. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Amara Wentz at

*This event is being organized by a student at the Curlew School and will be held on on the FerryCountyRailTrail. The Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (501c3) are not the organizers but do support this initiative 100%. Hope to see LOTS of folks out on the trail for this wonderful cause!
Way to go Amara Wentz and Curlew School!

Ferry County Rail Trail in the news

Beauty of Rail Trail Open to all
By Al Camp The Chronicle

CURLEW – People in the tiny town of Curlew near the Canadian border continue working on sections of the Ferry County Rail Trail while racking up national recognition for the project. Work most recently included Ferry County Rail Trail Partners Vice President Keith Bell and Stotts Construction trail manager Johnny Metcalf spreading and compacting surface materials on the trail north of the tunnel along the Kettle River.

“This freshly surfaced four-mile segment brings the Curlew/Kettle River total to seven miles,” Ferry County Rail Trail Partners President Bob Whittaker. “Earlier this year surfacing was completed for the entire 5.5-mile length of the Curlew Lake section, bringing the grand total of miles surfacing improvements to 12.5 miles.”

So far a smidge more than half of the 25-mile trail has received a non-motorized surface between Curlew and Republic.

“These improvements were made possible with non-motorized trail grants from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program,” Whittaker said.

Read the rest of the story: CLICK HERE

Pearl Jam charity donates $25K to Ferry County Rail Trail

by Rich Landers

TRAILS -- Eddie Vedder, front man for the rock group Pearl Jam, says the band plans to contribute $25,000 to the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners' next surfacing project on the trail that runs from near Republic to the Canada border.

The donation comes from the Vitalogy Foundation,which supports the efforts of nonprofit organizations doing commendable work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education and social change.

The Ferry County Rail Trail is a 25-mile multi-use, nonmotorized route along an abandoned railway that connects four towns, two school complexes and has miles of waterfront on Curlew Lake and the Kettle River.

“I’m totally amazed,” said Bob Whittaker, president of FCRTP. “I had heard it announced on the news that Pearl Jam are inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then a few hours later I got a text from Vedder with the news. What a lovely guy, band and a wonderful organization.”

Vedder, a friend of Whittaker's from their youth in Seattle, has supported the rail trail in the past with signed skateboards. Vedder also autographed a ukulele used in recording his album "Ukulele Songs" and donated it to the Ferry County group for an auction that raised $17,000 for the trail.

Keith Bell, vice president of FCRTP, said the $25K will be, “a real boon for our nonmotorized trail project. Specifically the funds will likely be used as a match for a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant.”

Vedder asked that the donation be made in the name of Chris McCandless, a modern adventurer who was the subject of the award-winning book and movie "Into the Wild". He said the donation also is in recognition of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and their ancestors who have walked this valley for thousands of years.

Ferry County Rail Trail on governor’s recreation radarTrail Group
Another segment of the Ferry County Rail Trail was smooth-surfaced last month bringing the improved sections along Curlew Lake and the Kettle River north of Curlew to 12.5 miles. The latest project completes surfacing on more than half of the 25-mile non-motorized rail trail that runs from north of Republic to the U.S.-Canada border, said Bob Whittaker, president of Ferry Count Rail Trail Partners. Most of the work is being done by volunteers and area businesses with the aid of non-motorized trail grants from the the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, he said. The years of grass-roots effort to transform the abandoned railway into a local and regional asset has caught attention in Olympia.

Read the rest of the story by Rich Landers on the Spokesman-Review Outdoor Blog: Click HERE

Rails to Trails Conservency selects Ferry County Rail Trail as
Trail or the Month For October 2016

“It's rugged territory, and the rail-trail offers a beautiful wilderness experience.”It sounds too good to be true. Northeast Washington’s Ferry County Rail Trail winds through a forested valley carved by the pristine Kettle River, passes through an otherworldly rock tunnel and crosses a 770-foot trestle that skims over a vast lake. Framed by mountains, the 25-mile trail is especially breathtaking this time of year, brightened with the golden hues of aspen, western larch and cottonwood. Every few miles, a quaint town welcomes visitors in a place so remote there’s not even a single stoplight in the whole county." Read the rest of the story

Bicycle Raffle at County Fair Bike Winner
Over 1300 Ferry County Rail Trail supporters purchased a ticket for one dollar hoping for a chance to win a new Specialized Cross Trail Disk bike. Clark's All Sports in Colville sold the bike at cost and one of the Rail Trail Partners board of directors donated the bike. The awesome bike was on view at the Republic Brewery and at the Fair. Many people bought tickets, not only to win the bike but to support the continued work to improve the Rail Trail. The lucky winner was Janet Brown of Colville pictured in the middle of this picture.

See pictures from the Fair: Click here

Trout Creek Bridge Resurfaced

August 15. This week community volunteers, members of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners, County Rail Corridor Committee and Curlew Lake Association joined forces to resurface the Trout Creek Bridge located just north of the Blacks Beach Trailhead. The improvements included adding decking over the existing creosote railroad ties that also had dangerous open voids between them. Brush was cleared and the same crushed rock surface used on the trail was added to the approaches and compacted to make it ADA compliant. Funds for the improvement came from a non-motorized trail grant from the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program (WWRP) that is part of the State Recreation and Conservation office. This is the same organization that has funded surfacing 5.5 miles of the trail next to Curlew Lake and 3.14 miles from the Curlew School (Lundimo Meadows Rd.) north through the town of Curlew and along the Kettle River to the tunnel. Midway Building Supply and Halls Sales and Service also provided some materials.
Ferry County Rail Trail improvements continue
by Rich Landers, Spokesman Review
Curlew Job Corps students have helped with paving sections of the Ferry County Rail Trail in May 2016. Pictured here is Tim Sauer along with the paver they call “The Smooth Move.” (Photo: Bobby Whittaker)

The Ferry County Rail Trail north of Republic is being improved with smooth surface sections.

A 8-foot wide surface of crusher fines was spread and compacted on 2.3 miles of the abandoned railway along the west side of Curlew Lake in May.

The new surfacing from Pete’s Retreat South to Herron Creek Road connects to the improvements made last summer for a total of 5.5 miles.

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.

The new surfacing was funded by a $198,000 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office non-motorized trail grant, said Bobby Whittaker, president of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. The group has raised thousands of dollars and donations for matching money to fund improvements.

In April 2014, the Curlew Lake Trestle across the north end of the fine fishing lake was re-decked and opened for public use.

The phase 3 plan being carried out this year also includes surface improvements to about 2 miles of rail-trail from Lundimo Meadow Road to the Curlew School then North along the Kettle River and ending at a tunnel, Whittaker said.

“These other improvements, including a new vault toilet at the Black’s Beach Trailhead, are scheduled for later this summer,” he said.

Materials for the surfacing were donated by Kinross Gold Corp., transportation of materials by ACI Northwest Inc., equipment use from Stott’s Construction and volunteer hours from Curlew Job Corps, students and many other local stakeholders and trail advocates, he said.

“Now that the full 6-mile length of trail next to Curlew Lake is improved you can see the greater potential to connect the Lake to the town of Republic,” Whittaker said.

When school starts at the end of summer, Curlew students “will have a new, safe, off-highway route to the center of town and beyond,” he said.

Trail improvements have been made through funding for non-motorized trail and recreation programs, which Whittaker says are threatened by recent Ferry County Commission actions to plan an adjacent route for four-wheelers.

County residents voted 61 percent in favor of non-motorized use of the trail in a 2009 advisory vote.

“Proceeding with a plan to motorize a section or sections of the Ferry County Rail Trail… could result in the need to repay grant funds and jeopardize future funding opportunities, Whittaker said.

2016 Donation Opportunity

Please Consider a TAX DEDUCTIBLE Year-End Donation to Ferry County Rail Trail Partners

We can double your dollars! - Donations will go directly to the trail surfacing and other improvement projects and will be matched $1 for $1 by trail grants from the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office.

As an all volunteer federally recognized 501c3 non-profit, FCRTP prides itself on getting things done on-time, on-target and on-budget, Your donations help our volunteers build and maintain the Ferry County Rail Trail, design and print maps and apply for grants. Memberships are crucial to what FCRTP can accomplish and make a great holiday gift. Joining FCRTP helps confirm the large number of people who care about trails.

2015 was full of accomplishments:

June 2015 – Ferry County is approved for Phase 3 funding by Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office grant. The total budget for this grant is $197,000 which will include completing surfacing along Curlew Lake south to Herron Creek Rd., installation of a vault toilet at Black’s Beach and surfacing from the tunnel north of Curlew south to at least Lundimo Meadow Road.

May 2015 – Phase 2 surfacing project completed along Curlew Lake including the section from the east side of the trestle to Kiwanis Rd. parking area for a total of 3.2 miles. Phase 2 access control and signage was installed during the summer of 2015. This project was completed with over $35,000 in donated labor, equipment and materials which met Ferry County’s entire match commitment.

September 2015 – Ferry County Rail Trail Partners receives four year $8,000 grant from The Great Northern Railway Historical Society. This grant will provide for four interpretive historical signs.

See the full time line, click here: Time line

To make a year end donation of any amount please click here Donate
We will provide you with a receipt for your tax deductible donation. 

Thank you for your support!

Skateboard Auction Benefits the Rail Trail
An autographed skateboard sold on eBay on 11/22 for $2,605 — money that will benefit the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. The 43-inch old-school longboard is autographed by an amazing group of international pop and rock icons including Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam vocalist; skateboarding legend Tony Hawk; Nick Zinner, Karen O and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Michael Stipe, REM lead vocalist; and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame.

The longboard by Gordon & Smith was donated by Spokane City Council member Jon Snyder. The money will go to the nonprofit Rail Trail Partners and the current trail surfacing improvement project to be used as matching funds for a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

FCRTP President Bob Whittaker has worked in the music industry for over 25 years as manager and tour manager for many recording artists. While touring, he was able to get a variety of autographs on this one of- a-kind skateboard to support the Ferry County Rail Trail.

Ferry County Rail Trail
from the

Watch the video and get a birds-eye view of the Rail Trail

Click Here


By Brenda Starkey, Ferry County View

REPUBLIC – A crowd turned out in blustery weather Saturday afternoon for the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the old railroad trestle across the north end of Curlew Lake, part of the Ferry County Rail Trail. County

Commissioner Brad Miller snipped the ceremonial red ribbon with a pair of scissors acquired for the occasion.

The 10-foot-wide, 770-foot long trestle has been decked and railings constructed on the sides. There are also twin, cantilevered observation decks on each side of the trestle.

The trestle is phase one of the long-term rail trail development, and at the ceremony Ferry County Rail Trail Partners Vice President Keith Bell announced that the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has funded a grant application that will allow $70,000 for surfacing the trail from the trestle south toward Black's Beach trail head.

Kinross is donating $20,000, the Rail Trail Partners is putting up $10,000, and there will be $5,000 in donated labor that will serve as matching funds for the grant, for a total of $70,000.

Joel Fields from Wilbur-Ellis Company also presented the Rail Trail Partners with a check for $1,800 following the ribbon cutting. (photo by: Nick Vacarro)

The project was made possible by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement Program.

The project was the culmination of several years of collaborative effort between county commissioners, their advisory board—the Rail Corridor Committee—and the local citizens' group Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

Goldline Construction, a local company owned by Grant Tolton, submitted the winning $163,919 bid for the project. It was the lower of two bids and came in under the grant funding reserved for the project.

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FCRTP is a federally recognized, non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Click Here



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