Rafting the Methow River. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

File photo by Laurelle Walsh

 

BY MARCY STAMPER

How do people use the Methow’s rivers for recreation – do they use rafts or inner tubes, where do they go, do they plunge into rapids or wait for calm waters?

The Yakama Nation Fisheries are working with a consultant on studies of recreational use of the Twisp River, Chewuch River and Methow River to understand how boaters, restoration projects and natural hazards interact.

The research, expected to be completed this November, will complement a study the Yakamas commissioned last year of another popular stretch of the Methow River, from the Winthrop Barn to Twisp. That study found that many river users were inexperienced, used inadequate inflatable rafts or inner tubes to float the river, and did not have personal floatation devices.

Researchers will be conducting interviews with river users at popular put-in and take-out sites, taking counts and observing users’ behavior over the course of the recreation season. They are also collecting information via an online survey.

The studies will cover the Twisp River from Newby Creek (river mile 8) to town, the Chewuch River from 20 Mile to Winthrop, and the Methow River from the Weeman Bridge to Wolf Creek. Many of these sections are more technical and tend to attract more experienced users, according to Jarred Johnson, habitat biologist for Yakama Nation Fisheries.

Study results will help inform restoration and salmon-recovery projects, said Johnson. The Washington Department of Natural Resources is collaborating with the Yakamas on the study of the Big Valley reach.

Online surveys for the Chewuch and Twisp have been completed. The survey for the Big Valley reach of the Methow is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BigValley and must be filled out by July 15.

For more information, contact Johnson at 996-5005, ext. 3.