Due to the geographic stretch of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which spans much of central Washington, not one single landscape dominates the forest. From the shrub-steppe of the eastern edge to heavy, old-growth forests to the snowy peaks of the Cascades—this forest has it all. Alpine lakes hide away for anglers while diverse wildernesses await explorers of all types. Thanks to geologic formations, rock climbers flock to the granite walls and volcanic basalt formations. Winter sports abound with ample opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing and dog-sledding.
The Methow Valley lures the Puget Sound urban population to this iconic landscape of big valleys,
open wild spaces, high ridges and beautiful rivers, one of which is the valley’s namesake,
the Methow River. Amidst the pristine landscape of the National Forest, the Methow River provides
critical spawning and rearing habitat for endangered and threatened Chinnook salmon, steelhead
and bull trout.
A number of different factors threaten the overall health of the Majestic Methow. The forest is experiencing uncharacteristically severe fires, wildlife and fish habitat loss, hydrological problems, and insect infestations. These problems are partly the result of past actions, including forest management regimes, large-scale road construction, and fire suppression. The likely impacts of climate change over the coming decades are likely to exacerbate these issues and increase the cost of addressing them in the future.
In the next four years, the NFF will work with the U.S. Forest Service and local partners to provide increased focus attention to the Methow Valley. As a Treasured Landscapes site, efforts will support a comprehensive restoration and community engagement strategy that will include fish and wildlife habitat restoration, trail restoration and maintenance to support sustainable recreational use, forest restoration including planting whitebark pine and the removal of invasive plants.