The Pend Oreille River is central to life in Pend Oreille County and constitutes its original travel corridor. Kalispel Indians traveled it by canoe, as did explorer David Thompson. Eventually, steamboats plied its waters and tugs moved barges and logs. But the river also divided the county. Settlers established a system of ferries that connected the gap and eventually bridges were built that made the Pend Oreille even less of an obstacle. On land, a system of trails linked the Pend Oreille River valley with points in all directions. Roads and rail eventually took their place.