Proposal would protect Methow Valley from future mining
by Phuong Le / Associated Press – Seattle Times / September 25, 2018
Seattle, Washington (AP) —
A large swath of federal land in Washington’s Methow Valley would be protected from future mining for 20 years under a proposal recommended by the U.S. Forest Service.
The proposal would make about 340,000 acres (121 hectares) of forest lands in Okanogan County off-limits to new mining and mineral development for two decades while Congress considers legislation to permanently protect that area.
The agency on Friday recommended what’s called a 20-year mineral withdrawal to protect the value of ecological and recreational resources of the Methow Valley — an outdoor destination that attracts nearly a million visitors annually who hunt, fish, bike, ski and hike.
Washington’s Democratic U.S. Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, introduced legislation in 2016 and again last year to permanently protect the land from mining.
The senators and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican, applauded the Forest Service’s recommendation in a statement Friday that highlighted the value of the Methow headwaters to recreation, tourism and salmon and wildlife recovery.
That move came after a Canadian company proposed exploring for copper deposits near Mazama, about 175 miles (282 kilometers) east of Seattle. Blue River Resources filed a permit in 2014 to drill up to 15 exploratory holes in and around Flagg Mountain near Mazama to explore for copper deposits.
About the photographer Hannah Dewey
Hannah Dewey is actively involved with Methow Headwaters Campaign as the Outreach Coordinator and Community Organizer. She is one of the local faces representing the campaign, and spends her time reaching out to ranchers, farmers, business owners and nonprofit organizations. After graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in environmental science and resource management, she moved to the Methow Valley, fell in love with its wild spaces and now works full-time to keep this place protected using both hard science and powerful visual storytelling tools. She is thrilled to help shape the story of why this place she calls home is simply “too special to mine.”