Mailbox

Thanks for trail work

Dear Editor:

The Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) deserve a huge shout-out for its trail maintenance work from all of us who use trails on public lands. While hiking in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest over the holiday weekend, I encountered dozens of hard working women and men of the BCHW volunteering their time to log out, brush out, restore bridges and drainage features, and otherwise maintain the trails. Some of the volunteers I encountered had been hard at work for days. 

This volunteer stewardship, done in cooperation with our public land agencies, helps to keep the backcountry open to all trail users. While the volunteers each personally bear some of the associated expenses to conduct this work, there are also costs to the organization – for tools, lunches, supplies, etc. I suspect that any donations that we make as a show of support would be put to good use to maintain and restore trails. Visit www.bchw.org.

Thank you, BCHW!

Dayle Wallien, Seattle and Winthrop

Why so many lawsuits?

Dear Editor:

In the last couple of years, Okanogan County has been sued for the Three Devils Road closure, the county’s draft comprehensive plan, and ATVs’ use of county roads. Now the Okanogan County Superior Court has filed suit against the county and its commissioners for violating separation of powers doctrine, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, that the three parts of government – executive, legislative and judicial – remain separately managed without interference from each other. These four suits have been in the local papers. Are there more against the county?

The Three Devils Road closure is in appeal, as is the comprehensive plan. The county lost the suit regarding ATV use because it did not follow state law regarding environmental impact issues (the county has asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision). As a result, the county is paying both their own attorney fees, and those of the appellants.

It is difficult to determine how much the county is spending on lawsuits. Legal fees should be recorded as professional services, but public disclosure requests have not shown which lawyer received how much, for what suit. Lawyers are paid about $350 an hour. It has been said that the citizens’ Three Devils Road lawsuit has cost more than $40,000. In the last three years the county has been sued at least four times. We do not know the actual litigation costs, but they could be in excess of $160,000. This is taxpayer money that has not gone towards county services or its citizens.

Why are the current commissioners making so many decisions that result in lawsuits and litigation? They do not seem to negotiate in good faith on the behalf of the majority of the county’s citizens. They do not value the desires, needs and safety of our local residents, but seem to be swayed by the desires of their preferred special interests.

What do you think?

Karen Mulcahy, Rick Rottman, Winthrop

Headwaters Campaign grateful

On Saturday (July 2), we were pleased to welcome over 500 people to John Doran’s Walking D Ranch Adventures for our homegrown music festival. Our goal was to raise awareness of the ongoing work of the coalition to protect the Methow headwaters from large-scale mining and celebrate the special qualities of the Methow Valley. Our efforts were a tremendous success, with over 300 postcards signed in support of halting the development of mining operations in the upper headwaters of the Methow.   

The festival featured delicious food provided by Kathy Borgersen of Sunflower Catering, and a pig roast barbecue by Aaron Studen with meat from Thomson’s Custom Meats. Over two-dozen local businesses contributed to make this event possible, and we can’t thank you enough for that. There were live local musical performances by Ken Bevis, Pat Hale, Danbert Nobacon and Anna Dooley, Laura Love and Family Dog, Meghan Colleen Doran featuring Greg Knab and Terry Hardesty, Sky Kyss, Wild Mountain Nation and Terry Hardesty and The Last Outlaws. Bill Pope, featured campaign speaker, outlined the history of the campaign, next steps, and ways to support our work and get involved.    

There are still many people to thank, including John Doran who hosted the festival on his property, Danbert Nobacon for working closely with the bands to create an evening of lively entertainment, and Don Ashford for his boundless energy and dedication to promoting the event. A special thanks to Hans Smith of Yakama Nation Fisheries for giving river restoration tours during the day of the event highlighting salmon habitat and restoration work they completed on the Methow River.   

Thank you to all the volunteers and dedicated campaign supporters who helped make this an event to remember and a true community celebration. We are working hard to make sure this watershed is protected from the risks of industrial-scale mining, but couldn’t do it without such strong local support. 

The Methow Headwaters Campaign 

Back in the pool

Dear Editor:

The Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp will hopefully open momentarily, or is open already as you read this. It looks great.

The wait will be so worth it when we can finally get into summer fun in the pool.

We have been given a very generous donation of $10,000 from Hank and Judy Konrad and the whole Konrad family to help us reach our goal. The Konrad family does so much for us all in the valley. We can only thank them from our hearts.

So many people have stepped up to help. We thank them all. We live in a wonderful, caring place. People here understand the need to all pitch in and help. We have received donations from people who were lifeguards at the pool and are now grandparents and live as far away as Montana and Arizona.  

The job may be finished; however we still need to pay the bill. Will you please help us with your donation? We are planning a 50th birthday for the pool party on Aug. 7. We will update and remind you as we get closer. Save the date.  

Please send your donation to Friends of the Pool, P.O. Box 438 Twisp, WA 98856.

Thank you all for supporting us in this effort to keep our pool alive.  

Patty Yates, Twisp

 

PREVIOUS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR