Have you noticed the Mission logging project up Buttermilk Road looks just as bad as in the 1970s and ’80s? Logging hasn’t changed much. The Methow Valley Ranger admitted Mission had not turned out as expected. In these new projects, the logging contractor chooses what’s removed. Welcome to Adaptive Management defined by a closed-door process called “collaboration” (everyone but the public gets paid).
On a recent hike up Twisp River, chocolate lilies, calypso orchids, and chorus frogs lined the trail hidden in a dense, moist undergrowth in an area dedicated to protection as “Late Successional Reserves.” Signs of historic fire on old deep barked Douglas fir provided insight into the resilience of this forest.
Shockingly, The Northwest Forest Health Collaborative spent 18 months concluding these conditions are not statistically viable. While a variety of scientifically valid alternatives and strategies for reducing fire risk exist, less intrusive options weren’t included in the process. The new way is closed door “collaboration,” limiting public comment, and foregoing pesky alternatives.
I went to the U.S. Forest Service Midnight Project Open House where my experience was frustrating. There were no introductions of staff, no “welcome, here’s what this meeting is about” moment. No open group discussions.
Midnight is a contrivance based on “desired future conditions,” according to the ranger district, a dry pine forest. Who’s been anointed to determine the future? A “report,” not peer-reviewed science, for the Collaborative, the folks paid to sit together and get along. Who are the experts really looking out for our watershed, our Twisp water supply, our existing carbon storage, the complexity of the soil, dependent on interconnected roots and fungus and other mysterious biological systems? It is not this table of collaborators.
In Midnight, more extreme actions are proposed in Late Successional Reserves and Designated Roadless Areas meant to be left intact. Follow the money.
Only 5% old growth remains. The collaborative concludes it must be killed for its own protection. We need an EIS. Don’t give up. Please let people know what is happening now, and for decades into the future. Scoping comments due June 9.
Learn about Midnight Restoration
After the 2021 Cedar Creek fire, the Twisp Restoration logging and burning project acreage was reduced. For some reason, the project area shrunk by 53,000 acres after the fire burned 10,600 acres.
The acreage eliminated from Twisp Restoration has suddenly re-emerged, and is now called “Midnight Restoration.” Its environmental and watershed impacts are being analyzed separate from the Twisp Project, as if the former doesn’t exist.
It is important for those of us who live in the Methow and love our home to see what’s being proposed. But navigating the U.S. Forest Service website for Midnight is a challenge. Here are some tips:
On your search engine, input Midnight Restoration Project 63933. Once on the Forest Service site, I suggest using “Pinyon Public,” an option that is provided, as the maps and documents are much clearer.
You will find two folders, “Supporting Info,” and “Scoping.” The Scoping folder contains the “Midnight Treatment Description.” This reflects the logging prescription prepared by Resilient Forestry, funded by the Wilderness Society in November 2022 at the behest of the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative. This document is in the Supporting Info folder under NCWFHC Midnight Preliminary-Final.
All critique of the proposed logging and burning aside, it’s important to read the part about “Designation by Prescription,” where loggers choose the trees to be cut.
There is a Proposed Action map that is well worth looking at, which is strikingly similar to the original Twisp Restoration Project map. The expanse of this project is impressive, and most of it is many miles from homes and private property.
Please submit comments by the June 9 deadline. Remember, these are our public lands.
Property tax reductions
If you are 62 years of age or a disabled veteran, all counties have a program for property tax reduction. You must see your county assessor and see if you qualify for tax reduction. If your combined income can be reduced to less than $40,000 per year, then you are qualified.
Your combined income can be offset by many factors but few of the main deductions are Medicare parts A, B, C and Medicare and/or Medigap insurance payments, approved plans only. Among other out-of-pocket expenses include dental and prescription medication. All these deductible expenses require documentation!
One can retroactively file back taxes adjustments for three years. Need more information, contact the Okanogan County Assessor.
As I enter my last week of high school, I am taking the time to reflect on things that have made me the happiest over the past four years. Topping that list is my experience with the Liberty Bell Drama Company. I joined as a second-semester senior, wanting to try something new, and I’m so grateful I did. I have never felt more welcomed and accepted by a group of people.
As I embarked on my first musical, I was supported endlessly by Kelly Grayum, Danbert Nobacon, vocal coach Dana Stromberger, choreographer Missi Smith, and Merc Playhouse executive director Kira Wood-Cramer. The support didn’t end there. As word spread that the drama company was putting on “Mamma Mia!”, the community rallied around us. I practiced my dances and songs, then practiced again, and again. Before I knew it, it was opening night. My throat felt tight, and my stomach was nauseous as I watched community members line up down the block hoping to see our show. We sold out the first night, and the second, and the third. Everywhere I went “Mamma Mia!” was the topic of conversation.
“Mamma Mia!” was and continues to be special to me, the drama class, Liberty Bell High School, and, most importantly, this community. We couldn’t have done it without you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank The Merc Playhouse for making us part of their family. I thank Methow Arts for their support of our program. I thank the Methow Valley School District for their ongoing support of the Liberty Bell Drama Company. Finally, I thank the Methow Valley community-at-large for their continued support of the arts. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something exceptional.
Liberty Bell Drama Company
Support Jamie’s Place
Most of our community realizes Jamie’s Place is a long-term care facility. Which, in its most basic form, is true. But, Jamie’s Place is truly unique. It is part of the Green House Project, a national movement working to transform the culture around aging and people living with dementia. The Green House philosophy works to deinstitutionalize long term care by creating an environment built on honoring the individual and mutual respect. Jamie’s Place is a home where our residents can thrive and have a meaningful life.
Jamie’s Place has 12 rooms, three of which are reserved for Medicaid residents. Medicaid covers less than half cost of the quality care we provide our residents. Our mission is to provide care to those who otherwise couldn’t afford care. In order to provide these services for our Medicaid residents we must fundraise to make up the difference, which this year is $111,000.
Jamie’s Place firmly believes everyone deserves the opportunity to live out their lives in the valley they love. We hope our wonderful community will join in support of our mission at our annual fundraising event, Spring Chicken, on Sunday, June 11, 5 p.m. at Brown’s Farm near Mazama. You will be able to shake you tail feathers along to The Apostles, and enjoy John Doran the cowboy poet, while you dine on barbeque chicken and homemade pie. Tickets are available at jamiesplace.org. If you are unable to attend the event, consider a donation.
Seniors use the pool
To refute Sandor Feher’s letter of May 31 asserting that senior citizens won’t use the future Methow Aquatic Center, I offer myself as proof to the contrary. In fact, I can assure Sandor that there is at least a dozen of us old geezers who will likely expand our current 2 ½ month season of water aerobics to year-round. Furthermore, I am aware of several individuals whose only source of exercise is of necessity non-weight bearing. Some of these are seniors, others are physically differently abled younger people. I must say I don’t understand how some people can make blanket statements with no facts to back them up.