We wish to express our gratitude to the Methow District office for recent work on USFS Road 100, locally known as East Fawn Road.
We are full-time residents of Edelweiss and access to our community is provided primarily by two roads — Highland and East Fawn (USFS Road 100) — which provide exit routes during emergencies. East Fawn has been substandard for years: rough, steep with badly eroded washouts. It was recognized as early as 2006 that “improvement of East Fawn as an evacuation route … is a critical concern”.
Our community made queries at all levels of government — in-person to Congress, the Office of Federal Lands, our local USFS office and the Okanogan County Commission — regarding ways to address the hazards of East Fawn, all to no avail. Earlier this year, Methow District Ranger Chris Furr contacted Edelweiss and informed us of a project soon to be implemented to address the condition of that road. Hallelujah!
We were surprised to learn that this project was funded as part of the Forest Service’s “Wildfire Crisis Strategy.” The USFS awarded $197 million to 99 projects across 22 states during the first year of funding. Those millions emanated from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).
The bipartisan Infrastructure law will invest about $5.5 billion in lands and resources entrusted to the Forest Service. The new funding will help the Forest Service restore buildings, support outdoor recreation and repair roads through the Federal Lands Transportation Program. (It should be noted that every Democratic member of the Washington Congressional delegation voted “aye” for the IIJA and IRA, while not a single Republican member did.)
Work on East Fawn Road has recently been completed and the improvements are startling. We sleep better at night knowing that in the event of a wildfire emergency we have a safe route of egress on both the east and west sides of our community.
We cannot thank the USFS and our elected officials who voted “aye” enough for providing the funds to make our community safer.
Pete Speer and Marian Osborne
Yes on aquatics district
Proposition 1 for the Methow Aquatics District is a necessary starting point to ensure our community invests in public swimming for the safety and well-being of everyone.
I use our seasonal pool and I can attest it is well used by seniors, and it’s time for a replacement. An indoor facility would be ideal because our valley has an aging population with few options for low-impact activity out of the elements of harsh sun, smoke and inclement weather. Year-round access will also be favorable for building swim skills in children.
Over 50 years ago my family came to Twisp. One of the first things I did was put my 4-year-old daughter Jennifer in swimming lessons and she’s been swimming ever since.
The final design for the aquatics center is still yet to be determined. While an indoor pool would be a great benefit for all ages, a vote yes simply means we will create the Methow Aquatics District, represented by local residents and officials. They will have the responsibility to steward our local tax dollars for the best-fit option.
A vote yes means equitable access to safe swimming for everyone. What would we do without a pool? Vote yes, and thanks for listening.
John Hayes’ legacy
Our local trails are John Hayes’ biggest legacy. More than any of us who worked to create our trails resort, which the Methow has become, John had the fearless nature to make things actually happen. Another John, Bonica in this case, gets credit for first introducing the term “trails resort” in print. My contribution of “Ski Trails and Wildlife: Toward Snow Country Restoration,” is only one of the many efforts that owe a huge debt to John Hayes’ leadership. My ski industry and national parks biases were skillfully blended by Hayes, with so many others and so many other perspectives, into the success story we now enjoy. Methow Trails embodies, with both its name and good works, the vision that John Hayes pioneered so well.
Sandy Butte and the Aspen Corporation’s wake-up call of course deserve equal recognition. They kicked me up the most wind sheltered-line I could find for the aerial tramway I still fear is inevitable, even though I prefer over-the-snow shuttle buses like the ones pioneered by B.C.’s heli-ski operators and Jellystone. Meanwhile, John Hayes kicked me and many others, all over this valley to find the best trail locations everywhere. We have become the shining example of what’s possible on the sunniest entry to the most scenically spectacular national park in the world, without ruining either the park itself or its most popular gateway community and adjacent national forest. John Hayes, more than anyone, deserves credit for this.