On a whim, or perhaps dazed by the heat, I took a detour on my way back from Winthrop last week and traversed up Horizon Flats Road to the new Methow Trails headquarters site.
I had set foot on the property for the first time in 2020, after Methow Trails closed on the purchase of 18 acres that had been an isolated parcel of unincorporated land. The site was annexed to Winthrop last year.
Back then, I was sort of trespassing as I drove up the old dirt driveway to the former homestead, which features a few fading buildings and a classic log cabin that had been moved to the site years ago. I took pictures, and enjoyed the quiet solitude and the ample views.
Things are more active now. The recently occupied property has a new entrance road and an actual address: 21 Horizon Flats Road, identified by a sign on the street. I was greeted by Executive Director James DeSalvo, who invited me to wander around without the risk of imminent arrest.
I took a short walk on a trail that leads from the headquarters site and drops down the hill to connect with the Susie Stephens Trail, by way of a new wooden bridge over the irrigation ditch. The trail is part of a system that is designed to provide contiguous, year-round access between the Horizon Flats property and the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead, the Spring Creek Bridge, and Winthrop.
DeSalvo has said that Methow Trails intends to turn the property into an accessible “recreation hub.” By inviting activity, they may see more people up there than they did in the little building on Riverside Avenue that formerly housed the organization.
The 1950s-vintage residence on the new site was initially targeted for demolition, but DeSalvo said that Methow Trails decided instead to renovate it for use as the main office, including a walk-up window for trail passes. The organization is still migrating its functions from the old office on Riverside Avenue and other locations where it stored equipment.
As was noted in last week’s newspaper, you don’t have to wait until the place is entirely spruced up to get a sense of it. Methow Trails is hosting an open house today (Wednesday, July 14) from 5-7 p.m. I appreciated the sneak preview but expect to be back up there this afternoon.
In one sense, the site is already a hub of activity. From the headquarters parking lot, you can see a couple of noteworthy construction projects underway. To the northeast, through the trees, you can glimpse the new Winthrop public library taking shape. Immediately to the south, the site of the new Okanogan County Fire District 6 fire hall is being cleared.
So, Methow Trails has moved. The Winthrop fire station will be at the new location next year, and the new library is also slated to open in 2022. It may take people a while to sort out all the relocations.
Further confusion is likely, if you are used to things being in a certain place. Starting this week, you’ll need to wander a bit farther east on Riverside Avenue to find the new headquarters of the Methow Conservancy, in the former 3 Bears Café building. Like Methow Trails, the Conservancy is transitioning from cramped quarters to a much more practical space, made possible by an anonymous supporter who donated the funds to buy the site.
Moving day for the Conservancy is Thursday (July 15). They will have to unpack quickly: The organization has an event planned at the site on Aug. 3, its “First Tuesday” program.
Somebody moving out usually portends somebody moving in. The former Methow Trails HQ building already has a new tenant, Methow Rafting. I haven’t heard if anyone has taken the former Methow Conservancy site, but it will probably look appealing to the right organization or business. As to the old fire hall on Englar Street — I’m not sure what you do with what amounts to a really big garage with some office space. Something will happen there. It’s in a residential neighborhood, so perhaps might be appropriate to redevelop for new housing.
Back in Twisp, the impressive new Blue Star Coffee Roasters building on Highway 20 is looking closer to occupancy, which will be welcome news to coffee lovers who like to sit around and chat over a cup. Blue Star’s pending move will of course leave another space available for the right tenant.
Among other transitions, we also hear that our former office space on Glover Street is going to be a restaurant soon (for those still looking for the newspaper office, we moved to TwispWorks several years ago). We’ll keep you posted about that.