Grizzlies in the North Cascades? This is “marketed” as a “restoration” project. What evidence do we have that 200-plus grizzlies ever lived in the area? The history of the westward migration has a lot of stories of grizzly encounters, from the Rockies, and the Great Plains, but not from this area. The Skagit, Methow and Okanogan drainages have very few, if any, stories of encounters with grizzlies.
The North Cascades is largely wilderness and has never been “settled” or inhabited by large numbers of humans. If they were ever here, humans didn’t drive the grizzlies out. If they were ever here, why did they leave; and will they leave again?
Early cost estimates from the National Park Service state the cost at $100,000 per bear. A total of $20 million, assuming no cost overruns, and an accurate estimate. We don’t have anything better to do with $20 million? What happens if the bears don’t stay and become a problem? Do taxpayers pay the state to kill problem bears, while we pay the National Park Service to continue to bring in more?
This is what we are doing with wolves. Wolves became a problem in, and around, Yellowstone National Park. They are being transplanted to other areas where in some cases they are becoming problems. Taxpayers are paying the federal government to bring them into Washington, and taxpayers are paying the state to kill them, for being wolves. Are we going to repeat this process with grizzly bears?
Mike Newman, Twisp/Sedro-Woolley
As a retired long-haul trucker, I see some concerns surrounding the volume of truck traffic along Highway 153 that would occur as a direct result of the proposed gravel pit by the town of Methow.
Taking into consideration the amount of traffic there was on Highway 153 20 or 30 years ago, and considering this project is to last at least 75 years, how much more traffic will there be in addition to all these trucks, tourists, etc., 15, 20, 30 or 75 years or more from now?
With the additional truck traffic, how long will it be before we need a four-lane divided highway — or at least long passing lanes so the long strings of commuters, tourists, etc., can safely pass the slower-moving trucks without being killed? How long before thousands of extra trips of trucks full of sand and gravel take their toll on bridges that are already in need of constant care?
Methow is a small, quiet town. The people that live there were there first. Their lives are invested in their homes, their neighbors, and their quiet life in a small town where they have chosen to live. Regardless of mitigations, this will be extremely disruptive of the little town, its residents, and the surrounding neighbors — visually and noise-wise.
All of these reasons point to why the location of this gravel pit is such a poor choice.
Richard Tingelstad, Twisp
Express your opinion
It’s probably safe to say most American adults follow the national news. I think it is also probably safe to say that most voting adults in Washington Congressional District 4 know that Dan Newhouse is our representative.
I have written to Mr. Newhouse and encouraged him to poll his constituents to see where you and I stand on the topic of impeachment of the President. He has, to date, not seen the necessity of such a poll. Presumably, because he thinks he knows what’s in the mind of his constituents because the majority of voters in District 4 vote Republican and therefore believe the way he does.
But his constituents are also highly patriotic and firm believers in the American way. And not all of us believe it is acceptable for an American president to ask for aid from a foreign country in order to win an election or even just to smear another candidate. Not all of us agree with the President’s behavior and the way he is handling our country.
So I encourage you to call, email or write and let Mr. Newhouse know. Otherwise he is going to vote the Republican party line regardless of what we, his constituents, believe. His phone number is (202) 225-5816. His email address can be found at http://newhouse.house.gov. His address is 1414 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Let him know where you stand on the issue of impeachment. It only takes a minute.
It is our right, privilege and duty to not only elect our officials but to interact with them frequently so they may actually know how we feel and vote according to our wishes — not their own.
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Not a wise choice
Proponents and opponents of gravel pits agree: “It’s not about whether to permit new gravel pits, it’s about where.” (Seattle Times, 2008.)
In preparing comments on the proposed gravel pit in the town of Methow (due now for those who cannot attend the public hearing on Nov. 14), I find the same dilemma described in Mary Yglesia’s letter last week: needs for county gravel vs. disruption of the way of life in a tiny, peaceful town rich with valley history on the banks of the Methow. Added are the investments of newcomers who purchased property that would overlook the mine — plus impacts upon all related traffic north of Pateros.
During a meeting last June I voted, along with half of other attendees, to support the county’s exploration of the possibilities. However, the county’s “Response to Comments” just emailed on Oct. 14 revealed far greater traffic issues than was ever expected by the public. It was sent to two agencies, two citizens’ groups, and three individuals in Twisp/Winthrop who had managed to file comments before the deadline regarding environmental impacts. (The MV News and its legal notices are no longer available on newsstands south of Twisp.)
Quick research for my comments revealed the following:
• We inhabit a gravel-hungry world, with sand and gravel sold by British Columbia to San Francisco at twice the amount in Seattle, as of 2008. An industry rep stated: “If we’re going to not be California, we should look ahead and develop a business plan….”
• Re planning: State law requires counties to designate Mineral Resource Lands (MRLs) of long-term significance in the overarching plan for future development: the Comprehensive Plan. The current Comp Plan does map MRLs, but there is no MRL designated within many miles of Methow.
The more is revealed about this project, the more questions arise. The county is forging ahead too fast, without adequate study or timely distribution of information, and with changing data. This isn’t a wise choice.
Should other quiet towns in our county, incorporated or unincorporated, be wondering about this situation?
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp/Gold Creek
Too many questions
I live in the Methow area and realize the county needs gravel; however, a site closer to their shops and on better roads would be a better choice than Methow.
Yes, noise, dust and trucks may decrease property values and interrupt the quiet life we have here in the lower Methow. But in addition, Highway 153 gets a lot of traffic.
For seven months it’s a major bicycle and motorcycle route. All year around it’s a fishing paradise with cars, pickups, campers and motorhomes buzzing up and down the valley. During the agriculture period we have slow-moving farm implements, large truck/trailer combinations, and cattle trucks.
Commercial truck traffic servicing Twisp, Winthrop, Mazama and all the resorts is like a daily parade. When the sun comes out, recreationists come by the droves and we can have up to 30 vehicles on the road in a row. This includes vacationers, boaters, water jet skiers, floaters, camera buffs, family and looky-lous. I know because my property has 1/3-mile of highway frontage. When the snow comes, we get the hunters, skiers, fat bike riders, and snow mobiles.
So, do we need more truck traffic on a narrow windy, worn out highway with a number of bridges ready to collapse? If you don’t believe me, climb under them and take a look at cracks and exposed rebar. Our alternative if a bridge fails is Loup Loup, and we all know the dependability of that and its treacherous route for large vehicles with steep grades and increased wildlife exposure.
Finally, vehicles kill over 300 wild animals a year on this highway. Large trucks can’t maneuver or stop quickly, adding to the useless slaughter.
If you have concerns, attend the public hearing on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. in Okanogan to encourage the Hearing Examiner to recommend a better location, on a better route, and closer to the Highway Department operations. There are too many unknowns and mixed messages still lurking in the backdrop to ascertain the operation of this long time potential disaster. Comments and promises change daily.
Larry Riggins, Methow