The Methow Valley Ranger District will host an informational open house on Monday (May 23) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Methow Valley Community Center Gym in Twisp to answer questions about the proposed Mission Restoration Project.

Project managers, U.S. Forest Service specialists and District Ranger Mike Liu will be there to answer questions about the project and the process.

Included in the project are proposed forest thinning, prescribed burning, soil treatments and changes to roads within a 50,200-acre area in the Buttermilk Creek and Libby Creek watersheds west of Twisp.

The Methow Valley Ranger District has begun the environmental review process for the project, which is needed to address declining “ecosystem health and resilience” in the Libby and Buttermilk watersheds, according to a letter issued recently by Liu.

While the Mission Restoration Project area encompasses more than 50,000 acres, only about 20 percent of the total area will undergo some kind of treatment such as tree thinning, commercial harvest, prescribed burning or road changes, said Meg Trebon, leader of an interdisciplinary team that conducted an ecosystem analysis for the project.

The project is named after Mission Peak, located on the boundary between the Libby Creek and Buttermilk Creek watersheds.

It is the first project in the Methow Ranger District to use the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Restoration Strategy, which was completed in 2010. That strategy emphasizes planning for large, landscape-scale projects, and utilizes decision-making software to help evaluate ecosystem conditions, and compare and prioritize alternatives for restoration and management.

A description of the purpose and need for the Mission Restoration Project, proposed actions, and maps of the project are available on the Forest Service website at www.fs.usda.gov/project?project=49201.

Public comment on the project is being accepted until May 31. Electronic comments can be submitted to: comments-pacificnorthwest-okanogan-methowvalley@fs.fed.us. Letters can be addressed to Meg Trebon, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Road, Winthrop, WA 98862.  For more information contact Trebon at 996-4032.  

“We invite the public to come and ask questions and obtain information on the Mission Restoration Project,” Liu said in a press release. “We would like to hear from the public regarding any concerns or opportunities we may have missed.”