Fundraiser launched for future stewardship
Homestream Park founders Phil and Cathy Davis announced at the park’s annual Coming Home Celebration on Sunday (Oct. 8) that they are donating the site in Winthrop to the Methow Valley Interpretive Center.
At the same time, the Interpretive Center said it is launching a fundraising campaign to create a $200,000 “Stewardship Fund” to “serve as a cornerstone for ensuring the park’s continued maintenance, preservation and public accessibility.” The Davises donated $100,000 to kick-start that campaign.
The Davises purchased the park property in late 2018 with the goal of creating a serene area dedicated to the rivers, fish and indigenous people of the Methow Valley. Homestream Park was created on the site of an old corral at the corner of Highway 20 and White Avenue in Winthrop, and had its grand opening in October 2019.
Located on 2 acres of riverfront, the park includes an interpretive trail, sculptures by legendary Native American artist Smoker Marchand, native plantings, benches named for the four rivers in the Methow Valley (Lost, Twisp, Chewuch and Methow); a public gathering area with covered shelters, picnic tables and a kids’ play fort. The Davises said the land would be restored to its natural riparian and floodplain condition. There is pedestrian river access but only a few parking spaces on the property for handicap access.
The theme of the park, “Coming Home,” refers to both the salmon and the Methow people whose relatives fished, hunted, gathered and lived sustainably in the valley for thousands of years. Marchand’s featured sculptures of spawning salmon and a family setting up a traditional fish camp encapsulate the idea of “coming home.”
Nearly 40 local organizations, companies, artists, contributors and volunteers were “partners” in the project. Dozens of volunteers were involved in shaping the park.
“Every aspect of the park invites visitors to connect with the land, the river, and the rich history of the region,” the Interpretive Center said in a press release.
Passing it on
“Our intention has always been to shepherd the park’s creation, and then to pass it on to an organization attuned to this vision,” Cathy Davis said in the press release. “Our friends from the Methow Valley Interpretive Center have been working alongside us since the inception of Homestream Park, and we trust they will steward its future in harmony with what today’s Methow People want, while thinking and caring into the future.”
That commitment is in sync with the Interpretive Center’s mission “to promote cultural awareness, understanding of Indigenous peoples, and appreciation for the natural history of the Methow Valley,” the press release said.
“The Methow Valley Interpretive Center is ready to take this on and we, as a community, can help support them in being good caretakers of this wonderful community park that honors the river, salmon, and the Methow People,” said Sarah Brooks, Executive Director of the Methow Conservancy, which has been involved in Homestream Park from the beginning and will continue to play a significant stewardship role at the park, according to the press release.
According to the release, “Should a formal Methow descendants’ organization be formed that is willing and able to take the land, the Interpretive Center has committed to transfer the park to this organization. This vision ensures that the land remains a cherished heritage site, accessible to future generations while honoring the deep ancestral connections of the Methow People.”
Methow descendant Mark Miller, who has been instrumental in the development of Homestream Park, said in the release that “Homestream Park brings me back to the teachings of our grandparents. Cathy and Phil Davis did not develop a salmon interpretive park for themselves, but rather for their and a community’s grandchildren. The legacy of Homestream will carry on through the education of future grandchildren to understand and protect this fragile environment.”