By Marcy Stamper
The owner of the Skalitude Retreat has submitted an application to Okanogan County to add up to 14 overnight rental units and a commercial zip line on the property, which is adjacent to National Forest land about 7 miles from Carlton.
Overnight accommodations are currently provided in a lodge with three rental units and a separate berm house that contains another three units, according to the application submitted by Skalitude owner Lindsey Swope. Swope plans an additional 10 rental units through the development of six small, self-contained cabins.
The owners also propose adding to the lodge and building a 2,000-square-foot conference center for meetings and banquets.
The facility currently allows tent camping in an undeveloped field for larger gatherings; under the new proposal, they would build permanent open-air structures in the camping area for special events.
The planned zip line course would run for 8,000 lineal feet and be constructed and maintained by a licensed zip line company.
Water would be provided by an existing group water system. Electricity is provided by solar power, supplemented by propane- and gasoline-powered generators in the winter.
In addition to drawing overnight guests for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, Skalitude hosts yoga retreats, vision quests and weddings. Their biggest event is the annual Fairy and Human Relations Congress.
As proposed, the changes would be codified in a development agreement with the county, which would replace the current agreement and remove the limitations on the number of people who could use the overnight rentals.
The existing arrangement with the county does not provide for large festival events. To continue to hold events with more than 50 people a night, Skalitude must amend that agreement, according to the materials submitted to the county.
The 160-acre property is located within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It is accessed from Smith Canyon Road off of Libby Creek Road. More than 145 acres, or 91 percent of the property, would remain open space if the proposed changes are made.
There is no set schedule for development of the new amenities.
Okanogan County has determined the changes would have no significant environmental impact. For more information, contact senior planner Ben Rough at (509) 422-7122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments on the environmental impacts of the proposal are due to Rough by Sept. 23. The county will accept comments on the project itself at a later date.