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Is Ferry County Washington’s Best Kept Secret?

Here’s an interesting question to think about; Which of Washington State’s 39 counties do you think is the best?

The answer obviously comes down to a long list of variable factors, but one of the great things about living in Evergreen country is that no matter the weather, geography or cultural demographics you prefer, Washington is sure to be a province has one that suits you. needs and desires to live or visit.

With that in mind, let’s draw attention to one of Washington’s most rural and least populated counties and give it a little love.

Ferry County was founded on February 21, 1899. Located east of the Cascade Mountains in the north-central part of the state, at 2,257 square miles it is more than half the size of Rhode Island and nearly as large as Delaware, but with a population density of 2,257 square miles. that is only 0.7% of both, out of just under 7,500 inhabitants.

Although the county has the only two car/passenger ferries in the state that are not on the west side, the namesake is not derived from this interesting fact, but rather from the last name of Washington’s very first Governor, Elisha P. Ferry.

Being a longtime warrior on Washington’s roads and a hyper-impulsive wanderer myself, I’ve explored virtually every part of Ferry County accessible by car over the past 35 years, and it’s always been one of my favorite places for a a day out.

The biggest draw for me has always been the two ferries. The most traveled of these is the continuation of State Route 21, about 15 miles north of Wilbur in Lincoln County, across Lake Roosevelt.

The approximately ten-minute journey is free and offers breathtaking views of the lake (Columbia River) and the surrounding mountains. The ship that carries traffic today is called the “M/V Sanpoil”, but I remember many trips were made on the old Martha S., which was in service from 1948 to 2013.

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Ferry County’s other traghetto, the Gifford-Inchelium Ferry, is also free and crosses the waters of Lake Roosevelt about 55 miles to the northeast. Administered by the Colville Confederated Tribes, it connects the county’s second-largest city, Inchelium (pop. 431), to State Route 25 in neighboring Stevens County to the east.

This lake tour is completed in about half the time of the Sanpoil, but also offers some pleasant views of the area’s rural surroundings. The ferry itself is much older and exudes a bit more character with its well-patinated yellow paint job and twin diesel engines above deck that qualify the ride as a few notches below deafening when parked right next to it.

Besides the water taxis, Ferry County has much more to offer for the avid adventurer.

The provincial capital and largest city of Republic (992 inhabitants) provides an eternal pioneer spirit mixed with Arcadian charm. You can browse forgotten treasures in the many shops downtown and sample the few local eateries, including the Kettle Crust Bakery and Republic Brewing Company – both of which get high marks from visitors from near and far.

Although much, much smaller, there are also a handful of other villas to tour, including Curlew, Keller, Orient, and the Canadian border towns of Danville and Laurier (combined population 502).

There is an old blue bridge with a wooden plank deck that makes you think about the crossing that spans the Kettle River at Curlew; a weather station in Orient that simply consists of a hanging rock; and the airstrip at Laurier is the only one in the world that occupies real estate on both American and Canadian soil.

Other reasons to love Ferry County include the complete absence of traffic lights and chain stores/restaurants; they are affordable house prices; four glorious weather seasons; and interesting geography.

So if you’re looking for a haven to live or visit where you won’t find a McDonald’s or Wal-Mart, ever miss a green light, or pay too much for a studio apartment, Ferry County, Washington State might just be it. something for you!

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Gallery credit: Reesha Cosby

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