Initially settled in response to the discovery of gold in the 1850s, Ferry County is largely left undeveloped and holds a wealth of natural resources and picturesque scenery. Densely populated by trees, much of the northern section of Ferry County is included in the Colville National Forest, while most of the southern section of Ferry County belongs to the Colville Confederated Tribe. Tourism, spurred by the ample hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping opportunities provided by both the National Forest and the Colville Indian Reservation, has opened up Ferry County’s traditionally natural resource-based economy to include service and hospitality industries.
Abundant in both gold and timber, much of Ferry County’s economy relies on resource extraction, though the development of dams in the region has provided employment opportunities to residents. Republic, the county seat, is home to Ferry County’s largest mines, where much of the state’s gold originated throughout the 20th century. While mining operations have substantially slowed down, mining still remains an important industry for Ferry County and continues to employ many of the county’s workers.