Tucked in the north-east corner of the state, Ferry County is one of Washington State’s least traversed counties, and one of its best tourism bargains. With only 3.4 persons per square mile (by comparison, King County, which includes the city of Seattle, Washington, has 912 people per square mile), citizens of and visitors to Ferry County enjoy a lot more open space, more blue sky, more uncrowded trails and campsites, and a lot less stress and traffic than the folks in more congested areas of the state.
The county shares its borders with British Columbia (Grand Forks) to the north, Stevens County (Spokane) to the east, Lincoln County (Davenport) to the southwest, and Okanogan County (Omak & Okanogan) to the west; however, Ferry County’s topography varies from that of its neighbors. With elevations ranging from 1,250 feet (Keller) to 7140 feet (Copper Butte in the Kettle Mountain Range), Ferry County’s includes 52-square miles of streams, creeks, ponds, lakes, and rivers; the beautiful Kettle River Range that cuts a north-south swathe through the county; and the Colville National Forest which covers a substantial part of the county. The Kettle River Range provides a pleasing mix of pine- and scrub-covered mountains that share similar flora and fauna with their Rocky Mountain relations, but are less rugged and more pastoral.
[Republic] It’s big enough to have motels and inns, gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and medical clinics; yet still small enough not to need a single traffic light and to have wild turkeys and deer roaming its streets.
Set beneath a migratory bird path, the county appeals to birders who come here from all over the U.S. and Europe to see a wide range of water fowl, mountain birds, and birds of prey. Fisher folks return again and again to take advantage of the excellent trout, bass, and tiger muskie (Curlew Lake only) fishing in the area’s lakes, and the peaceful solitude of fly fishing in the area’s rivers and small higher-elevation lakes. Motorcyclists tour the area’s roads and passes enjoying our rolling hills dappled with Douglas firs, ponderosa pines, and larch (with its magnificent fall colors). Hunters are drawn to the area for its wild turkeys, mule and white-tailed deer, and moose. Hikers can’t resist the Kettle River Range, with its beautiful, very hike-able trails. Retirees are moving into the area as they discover the area’s beauty and low cost of land and homes. And, as their parents and grandparents did before them, young and extended families continue to spend their summer vacations swimming, boating, skiing, and fishing while staying at one of Curlew Lake’s many cabin and camping resorts.
The roots of Ferry County’s history and prosperity lay in gold mining, timber, and ranching, and its towns reflect that in their Western style of architecture and their cowboy-style neighborliness. At an elevation of 2500 feet, the county seat of Republic, Washington is authentically Western and rural, without the theme-town qualities of so many towns closer to Seattle. It’s big enough to have motels and inns, gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and medical clinics; yet still small enough not to need a single traffic light and to have wild turkeys and deer roaming its streets.