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Conservation, Recreation Groups Support Mining Ban in the Methow Valley

Posted on Nov 6, 2017 in Conservation News, Mining, WA Wild Blog

The Forest Service is currently considering a proposal for a 20-year mineral withdrawal in the Methow which would protect the area from mining interests for the next two decades. Today, Washington Wild joined 12 other conservation and recreation organizations on a joint comment letter to the Okanagon-Wenatchee National Forest expressing their support to protect the Methow Valley from mining.

The letter asked Forest Service to consider endangered wildlife, phenomenal recreation opportunities, the local economies dependent on visitor and recreation spending, and the potential damage and destruction that would jeopardize the valley. Additionally, Washington Wild and other organizations have mobilized their members to generate thousands of individual comments into the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service calling for protection for this incredible landscape.

Photo Courtesy of Hannah Dewey

Nested on the east slope of the North Cascades just outside North Cascades National Park, the Methow Valley and Headwaters region of Washington is one of the state’s most popular destinations. The Methow offers exceptional recreation opportunities, is home to diverse wildlife and is the source of cool, clean waters for famers, residents and fish. 

Recently, mining interests have targeted the Methow Valley for exploratory drilling near Flagg Mountain as a preliminary step to developing a mine in the watershed. Mining in the area could have harmful effects on clean water for fish and residents, as well as have negative impacts on recreation and tourism in the Methow Valley which brings nearly 1 million visitors to the area and more than $150 million annually to Okanogan County.