New management plan in the works
The Methow Wildlife Area encompasses 34,600 acres of shrub-steppe, grasslands and forests that support mule deer, birds, small mammals, salmon and other wildlife.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), which manages this diverse habitat, is starting work on a new wildlife management plan for the Methow. The plan will be informed not only by the needs of wildlife, but also by the ways people use the land.
People use these areas for hunting, cross-country skiing, birding, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, snowshoeing and walking.
Wildlife areas include Lewis Butte, Riser Lake, Pipestone Canyon, Lloyd Ranch and Big Valley, as well as a half-dozen campgrounds and opportunities for dispersed camping.
As part of the new management plan, WDFW is conducting a survey to learn more about people’s interests. “We want to better understand people’s recreation interests and how they enjoy public lands at the Methow Wildlife Area,” Methow Wildlife Area Manager said Brandon Troyer said.
The local plan will be informed by a new 10-year statewide recreation strategy that WDFW is releasing for public comment early next year. The new strategy will strive to improve visitor access and nature-based recreation experiences while increasing protections for habitat, fish and wildlife.
Planning for the Methow Wildlife Area planning will incorporate a new process that maps recreation uses and locates them where they’re most compatible with conservation goals, WDFW Environmental Planner Lauri Vigue said.
The survey asks how often people visit wildlife areas, what activities they do there, and what they’d like to see on these recreation lands that isn’t currently available. The survey also tries to measure the economic contributions from the wildlife area to the valley as a whole.
WDFW will start work on the new Methow management plan in early 2022. The current management plan is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00479.
The online survey is at https://publicinput.com/R2352. To get the survey in another format, call (360) 902-2349 or email Title6@dfw.wa.gov.