Drought. Snowpack. Wildfire season. Water levels. These are recurring themes in the news that make us all a little wary of a summer we should be looking forward to, if the early and gentle spring is any indicator.
Salvage. Recovery. Clean-up. Rebuilding. Readiness. Firewise. More terms we’ve become all too familiar with and that keep driving local news coverage.
The Carlton Complex Fire and what we commonly refer to as “the other events of last summer” continue to dominate not only our current thinking and but also our short-term outlook. The ongoing economic, emotional and environmental tolls on our community won’t quickly or easily relent.
As a community, we’ve adapted admirably to the conditions and needs the fires (and “other events”) left us with. We’re looking forward with confidence, tempered by the realistic understanding that things take time.
Which means we are in a different place, thought-process wise, than many of the visitors who are already streaming back into the valley and know relatively little about the past nine months. We’re likely to hear the same questions over and over to the point of distraction: How are you doing? What are things like there? Is it safe? Well-meant inquiries, to be sure, but they’ll soon become tiresome. And we’ll (mostly) answer patiently and politely.
We’re also going to be the focus of more media coverage about how we are getting along now. Word is that a TV news crew will be in town soon. Others will follow, because it’s a good “comeback” story, if sometimes told a little hyperbolically.
It would be disingenuous to deny the instant trauma and enduring effects the valley suffered last year. At the same time, we are moving on in anticipation of a high-volume tourism influx and an activity-friendly summer. Despite a lingering edginess, which we feel every time we hear the District 6 trucks heading for a brush fire, our positive outlook is something that visitors can take home along with the memories of a great experience.
Keeping the info coming
Like I said: Interest in the summer of 2014 is not waning. Our 100-page magazine Trial by Fire continues to be enormously and widely popular, to the extent that we are contemplating an updated reprint. We printed 10,000 copies originally, and we are now down to a few hundred — before all those tourists we are expecting this summer show up looking for information about the fires.
We think the magazine would continue to be picked up at distribution points around and beyond the valley, but the harsh reality is that we need to find the cash upfront to print more copies. We are looking at several ideas for how to raise the money, and welcome suggestions.
Meanwhile, our Methow Valley Summer 2015 guide to all things local and doable is included in today’s newspaper, and will be distributed throughout the region beginning next week. We’re ready for whoever shows up.