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Methow Fun Facts

Welcome to the beautiful Methow Valley!

Dntn Winrthrop

ECONOMIC TRENDS

The Methow Valley economy traditionally upticks when the North Cascade Highway opens, usually in mid to late April. The long and busy summer visitor and recreation season grows steadily through spring and summer. Fall is known for beautiful weather and vibrant colors. A lively winter season begins with the holidays and lasts until the best snow is gone, usually mid March.

MAJOR EMPLOYERS

U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, Assorted Salmon Recovery Agencies, the Methow Valley School District, Sun Mountain Lodge, businesses catering to recreation and tourism.

TOWN ELEVATIONS

Mazama: 2012’

Winthrop: 1765’

Twisp: 1637’

Carlton: 1414’

PRECIPITATION

Annual average precipitation: 13 inches

— Includes an average snowfall of 82 inches.
— 12“ snow = 1” precipitation
— The first snow usually falls in late October and continues into March.
— December 1996 holds the record snowfall of 72” in a single storm!

Harts Pass

TEMPERATURES

Average daily low temperatures:
— Teens in winter
— 50s in summer

Average daily high temperatures:
— 20s and 30s in winter
— 80s and 90s in summer

Record Temps:
— High: 106° in 1939
— Low: –48° in 1968

POPULATION

Methow Valley Total: 4.500 (approx.)

Winthrop: 308 (+/-87)

Twisp: 997(+/-274)

DATA FROM 2010 CENSUS: These figures do not reflect the 40% of households owned by part-time residents. Actual population is higher during peak season when both full- and part-time residents are here.

HOUSING COSTS

RENTAL HOMES: Start at $450 per month

PURCHASE HOMES/CABINS: $150,000 and up

LOTS & ACREAGE: $30,000 and up

MEDICAL CARE

The Valley has two medical clinics: the Methow Valley Clinic (Confluence Health) in Winthrop, with two physicians, a Physicians Assistant & a Nurse Practitioner, and the Family Health Center in Twisp, with a physician and 3 Nurse Practitioners. There are three dental offices, several naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, nutritionists, counselors, and midwives. The local Aero Methow Rescue has four ambulances with a staff of full-time paramedics and qualified emergency medical technicians. Hospitals are located in Brewster (43 miles from Winthrop) and Omak (46 miles from Winthrop). Ulrich’s Pharmacy in Twisp provides full-service prescription services. Room One (in Twisp) provides a variety of community services, including support groups, access to state services and ongoing classes. Jamie’s Place provides assisted living in Winthrop. The Methow Valley now has three veterinary clinics.

FITNESS CENTER

To keep you in shape for recreation, Winthrop Fitness and Physical Therapy offers a beautiful exercise facility and a variety of ongoing classes year round.

SCHOOLS

The Methow Valley School District includes Methow Valley Elementary (K-6) and Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High (7-12), both located between Twisp and Winthrop, as well as an alternative school located in Twisp. Winthrop has both a private Montessori school (preschool and K) and a private Community School (1-8).

MEDIA

Radio: KTRT 97.5 FM in Winthrop

KOZI 103.1 FM in Chelan

KPBX 91.1 FM in Spokane (NPR)

Newspaper: The Methow Valley News—Twisp

Television: available by Satellite

Internet: methownet.com (local)

methow.com (local)

DSL from CenturyLink

Satellite providers

AIRPORTS

North Cascades Smokejumper Base, located between Twisp and Winthrop on East County Road, with a 5,050’ lighted runway and self-service fuel
Twisp Municipal Airport, located at the south end of Twisp, with a 2,500’ lighted runway and no services

Lost River Airstrip, located 7 miles NW of Mazama, a gravel/grass strip with no services

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

TRANGO Valley Bus Service daily! (M-Sat)

Mountain Transporter – recreation / regional

Methow Ride Share – ride share connections

Senior / disabled Bus – Twisp Senior Center

MVSTA Shuttle during Nordic Ski season only

RECREATION

The Methow Valley is at the heart of many recreational opportunities. You’ll find miles of hiking trails in the National Forest, North Cascades National Park, several Wilderness Areas and on a variety of State Lands.

Methow Trails (Formerly MVSTA), formed in 1977, now offers the nation’s largest Nordic Ski trail system, maintaining 120 miles of groomed trails. Methow Trails is recognized as one of the finest areas in North America for nordic skiing, mountain biking, trail running & horseback riding. The Loup Loup Ski Bowl, at nearby Loup Loup pass, offers downhill skiing & snowboarding. Ice skating available at Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink.

Numerous lakes, including Lake Pearrygin, one of the largest & most popular, offer fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing & jet boating. Our three major rivers-the Methow, Twisp &Chewuch Rivers – offer world class fishing & lively river rafting. Bear Creek Golf Course offers a 9-hole course w/double tee’s to play 18 holes. Bird & wildlife watching are excellent year-round, hot air balloons are often aloft, snowmobiles benefit from 400 mi of groomed roads, there are several equestrian stables and don’t forget hang gliding and parasailing!

PUBLIC & PRIVATE LAND

Federal & Washington State governments together own 90% of the land in the Methow watershed. Slivers of private land lie along the major rivers and extend into ponderosa pine forests below 4000’ in elevation. Much of the privately owned land lies in transition areas between moisture levels and elevations. These diverse areas provide important water, shelter, food & nesting habitat for many species of wildlife and fishes.

Careful planning for development that will accommodate the larger patterns of our natural resources has been a lightning rod for discussion in this community for several decades. The Methow Conservancy, formed in 1996, has contributed greatly to the preservation of valuable riparian habitats and farmland, providing the opportunity for private landowners to keep their acreage undeveloped into the future. With these ongoing community discussions and careful planning, a wide variety of beautiful and unusual species continue to thrive in this valley.

ZONING

Except for municipal areas, much of the valley floor has a 5-acre minimum lot size. Above the valley floor, the minimum lot size is 20 acres. Exceptions exist where the county has granted variances for subdivisions or planned developments or where land was subdivided prior to current land use regulations.

LAND USE / NOTABLE EVENT TIMELINE

  • 8,000 BC – First Year-Round residents arrive
    • (remains of pit houses still exist)
  • Mid-1700’s- Horses arrive in the Valley
  • 1811 – NW Fur Company explores Columbia River
  • 1849 – Ft. Colville trading post received 349
    • grizzly bear pelts in one season
  • 1858 – Chinese immigrants begin placer mining
    • at the mouth of the Methow River
  • 1871 – Methow Tribe ordered to move to Colville
  • 1885 – Gold discovered at the head of Twisp River
  • 1888 – First cattle ranch in the Methow Valley
  • 1890’s – Silver boom south of Twisp
  • 1894 – Steamboat service: Wenatchee – Pateros
  • 1901 – Winthrop platted as a town
  • 1905 – First creamery in N Central WA, in Twisp
  • 1909 – Road completed past Mazama (West)
  • 1912 – Methow Valley Journal begins
    • first bank opens
  • 1915 – USFS ranger station built in Winthrop
  • 1920 – Electricity arrives in Methow Valley
  • 1921 – Nearly all irrigation ditches are completed
  • 1924 – Downtown Twisp loses 23 buildings in fire
  • 1939 – USFS Smoke Jumper Base established
  • 1948 – Major flood – Twisp & Methow Rivers
  • 1968 – -40° F temps devastate Winthrop orchards
    • Sun Mountain Lodge opens
  • 1972 – North Cascade Highway opens (St Hwy 20)
    • Early Winters Ski Area proposed
    • Major Flood
  • 1989 – $22 mil restoration of Sun Mountain Lodge
  • 1991 – Big Valley Ranch (845 ac) purchased by
    • Wa State Department of Wildlife
  • 1995 – New Liberty Bell High School opens
  • 1996 – Freestone Inn opens
    • Record-breaking snowfall
  • 2001 – Thirty-mile fire kills 4 firefighters
  • 2011 – Spring Creek Pedestrian bridge completed
  • 2014 – Carlton Complex Fire: 268,764 Acres,
    • WA State’s largest wildfire, 293 homes &
    • cabins lost, plus 260 outbldgs/garages
  • 2015 – Okanogan Complex Fire: 3 firefighters
    • killed (in Twisp River Fire) NEW record
    • largest WA wildfire, approx 800sq miles