The next Keller Ferry has a name — “Sanpoil.”
The state Department of Transportation said “Sanpoil” was selected from among 200 suggestions that met the parameters set by officials. Some 500 suggestions were received.
The ferry crosses Lake Roosevelt near the spot where the Sanpoil River flows into the Columbia and near one of the old time favorite salmon fishing sites visited by native tribes.
The new ferry, now under construction by Foss Maritime at Rainier, Ore., will be delivered for final assembly at the Crescent Bay boat launch site late this fall. It will go into service sometime in July next year.
The 116-foot vessel will be the state’s smallest ferry boat and will replace the Martha S ferry, which has been in operation since 1948, and has a capacity of 12 cars. The new Sanpoil will hold 22 standard cars and some 149 walk-on passengers.
The naming of the new ferry was announced June 19, and the DOT information stated that Sanpoil is the Anglicized form of the native name given to the Columbia River, as well as to the ancestral and current native residents of the area.
The DOT had sponsored a naming contest encouraging people to submit names. A committee of tribal, community and DOT representatives selected the final name.
The new ferry was funded by the federal government, the state and the Colville Confederated Tribes, and cost about $9.6 million.