WHY WE CARE

The Methow Valley’s rural character and natural beauty

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  • The Methow’s special rural character and treasured and intact landscapes are why many people choose to live, work and call the Valley home.
  • The Methow Valley is surrounded by unique and fragile wild lands—from the Pasayten Wilderness to the north, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth to the south, and North Cascades National Park to the west.

Life in the Methow Valley depends on clean water

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  • The Methow watershed is a fragile, complex, and interconnected system of near-pristine streams that support life in the valley—farmers, recreationists, residents, and a vast array of fish and wildlife are dependent upon the cold, clean water the headwaters provide.
  • The upper Methow is critical to recovery of the Columbia River’s great salmon runs of the past, especially in the face of climate change—nearly $100 million has been invested in salmon recovery efforts in the valley alone.

Tourism, recreation, and agriculture are powerful, stable, and sustainable economic drivers in the Methow Valley

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  • Nearly one million visitors per year come to the Methow to enjoy the sun, snow, and rural environment and contribute more than $150 million to Okanogan County’s economy.
  • In its landmark study, the Outdoor Industry Association’s “Active Outdoor Recreation Economy” featured the Methow Valley as an example of a region that saw important economic benefit from outdoor recreation and the active outdoor lifestyle.

The Methow Valley contains some of the most diverse and productive wildlife habitat in the state

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  • Surrounded by National Park and Wilderness lands, the Methow’s vast, unfragmented landscape supports hundreds of wildlife species and serves as a critical connection in the North Cascades ecosystem.
  • The Methow is home to the state’s largest mule deer herd, naturally returning gray wolves, wolverines, the largest population of lynx in the lower 48 states, and more than 150 species of birds.

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