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History Comes Alive on the Old Stage Trail in Ferry County!

By Lu Young, BCHW Ferry County Chapter Historian

Howdy from the Ferry County Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen! In case you have never been to our corner of Washington, this area is rich in wildlife, history, and GOLD as well as one of the most wonderful places in Washington to ride your horse or mule!

Where else can you ride where you will see white face cattle still grazing on the grassy hills? In Ferry County you can feel like you are going back in time to when cattle grazed and stagecoaches rolled on the trails.

History comes alive on the “Old Stage Trail”. If you went back in time to 1892 and lived in this beautiful area, you would know that the old State Wagon Trail was constructed as the first highway in Washington State! A bill was passed through the State legislature that would establish a wagon road system to link the river port town of Marcus with the bustling gold camp of Republic. The State Wagon Trail was built for wagons and passengers to cross over the Kettle Crest mountains to the Republic gold fields.

In 1992, an energetic Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen, called the “Kettle Ridge Riders”, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), reconstructed this trail for its 100th anniversary. The trail was dedicated on August 8, 1992, complete with a BBQ, riders with flags, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and horses and wagons! The Old Stage Coach trail, as it is now called, in the Colville National Forest, was dedicated for horseback riding, hiking and also mountain biking.

On July 27, 28, 29th, YOU, will have a chance to ride this historic old trail! The Ferry County Chapter Backcountry Horsemen will be having our Steak and Poker ride using the Old Stage Trail. This loop trail consists of five miles of climbing up the Midnight Ridge Trail to the Kettle Crest. On the upper reaches of this trail you are treated to vistas of green grass bent over by the wind and large stands of Lodge Pole Pines, as well as Aspens. Portion of the Old Stage Trail have wide turnouts, where we are told stage drivers turned their teams. There are interpretive steel and rock cairns along this trail, and halfway down is Lust Spring where thirsty teams were watered. This loop trail ends over a wooden bridge and fords Lambert Creek and back to Lambert Creek Horse Camp.

If you look closely you may see gold flakes in the creek. The ride is 9.94 miles of breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

Our Steak/Poker ride, Saturday, July 28th, will end with a steak dinner and dessert for $20.00. A pancake breakfast will be included on Sunday morning. Sing around the campfire and sleep under the stars in Ferry County on July 28, 29 at Lambert Creek Horse Camp in Republic, Washington. For information and pre-registration, call: Linda Peterson at 509-775-2140 or email steakridefcbch@wildblue.net.


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6/7/07 10:21 PM