No the noise
In response to the March 15 article about ATV use on certain Methow Valley access roads, I want to raise awareness to something not discussed in the article: noise. I’m a staunch advocate for public lands and making them available for everyone’s enjoyment, including the responsible use of ATVs on designated roads such as the 530 miles of state and county roads in Okanogan County. However, providing ATV access to portions of the Methow Valley using roads such as Gunn Ranch, Balky Hill, Bear Creek, and other gravel roads will change the valley’s composition that we’re so proud of.
I’ve visited towns like Moab, Utah, where the popularity of ATV use has exploded over the past decade. Due to a Utah state law passed in 2015 prohibiting counties and cities from banning the use of ATVs, no place in Utah is safe from their sounds as they race along roads, sometimes through residential areas, both in and outside of towns. While mountain biking in Moab, I’ve experienced ATVs passing by in caravans traveling 35-plus mph. You can hear them coming from afar and long after they’re out of sight.
At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, the thought of a caravan of ATVs cruising into the Rendezvous or along Lester Road or Balky Hill on either side of Pipestone Canyon would forever change the serenity of those areas we should never take for granted. I support ATV access on designated state and county roads, but providing access on our local access roads in the Methow Valley is proverbially speaking, too close to home. For anyone who appreciates the solitude of the Methow, I encourage you to call our elected representatives and let our voices be heard before they’re muffled by the sounds of passing ATVs.
Help us paint
Thank you for the wonderful article about Winthrop’s “Paint the Town” campaign. Winthrop never does project’s half-heartedly, but with great enthusiasm. I wanted to add a couple things I missed saying to your reporter, Ashley Lodato.
The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce has joined forces in helping the committee by having their 503(c)(6) status available to us so all donations are tax deductible. Checks or money orders need to be made out to the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and mailed to P.O. Box 39, Winthrop, WA 98862 or dropped off at Bart Bradshaw’s office at 106 Bluff St. Winthrop. Credit cards accepted at http://winthropwashington.com/paint. Please note “Paint Winthrop”” on donation.
The other items besides donations, donations, donations are volunteers. The committee needs lots and lots of volunteers. I was involved with helping reconstruct the Winthrop Barn and volunteers made the project possible and so much fun. Getting to see your neighbors and friends, enjoying a great conversation, and exercising winter’s unused muscles by volunteering has made Winthrop and Twisp wonderful towns to live in.
The ramrod of this much needed project, Nilsine Harris, can answer any more of your questions and make notes of what expertise you may bring to the committee of volunteers at (509) 996-8030, or stop by her store, Shotgun Nellies. Come join us if you can. The boards are bought for the first mural and the paint is on order for the Emporium. I’ll be there every day I can. All of us from the campaign “Let’s Paint Winthrop”” would really appreciate seeing you there.
Carol A. Lester
Signs down, please
A gentle reminder to our candidates from last fall. Washington law requires all signs visible from a public roadway to be removed within 10 days of the end of the election per The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 468-66-050, Type 3(d)ii.
As much as we may be fond of our candidates, win or lose, do we really want the resulting litter associated with their names? It’s time to clean them up.
Why ruin this?
I lived in Idaho for 9 1/2 years along the Salmon River, from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. For over half that time, I was caretaking a 100-acre primitive ranch.
A few years ago I returned with my mule to revisit some of those areas I remember so fondly.
The changes to the area were nothing short of astounding. Gone was the quiet and peaceful nature of the land. Constant ATV traffic brought noise, exhaust smells, trash, and dust. At times, large groups would speed by my camp on the nearby dirt road, requiring me to close the windows of my camper.
I don’t have the writing skills to fully convey my profound disappointment at the invasion and its consequences. There was no place I could go with my truck to get away from them. Everywhere I went, they — or evidence of them — preceded me: deep ruts cut in once-beautiful mountain meadows and much more.
Is this what we want for the Methow Valley?
We already experience a severe lack of police presence. I live in Twisp on Highway 20 in a 35-mph zone, and every day I have people speeding by my house at 50 mph and 60 mph with no consequences. If we can’t control the existing traffic, how in the world do we expect to control the additional burden of ATVs? Once they have access to the backcountry on back roads, how can we believe there will be any enforcement? The ATV folks already have access to over 500 miles of roads in Okanogan County. This is a larger area than some Eastern states. Do we really want to leave no place for people who prefer peace and quiet to go? How is that in any way equitable?
It simply doesn’t work that way. Where the ATVs go, damage follows. We already strive to attract cross country skiers and hikers, photographers, bicyclists, campers, and horseback riders who appreciate the beauty and quiet nature of the valley. Why not preserve our valley for future generations instead of allowing those who would thoughtlessly ruin it?