Speak up for the Methow Headwaters!
Conservation Northwest / Nov 01, 2017 / Mining, Protecting Wildlands
WILD NW #274: Tell the USFS to implement 20-year mineral withdrawal to protect the Methow Valley from industrial mining
The Methow Valley in north-central Washington is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most treasured areas, offering an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, important habitat for endangered wildlife, family farms and agriculture, and a resilient community driven by the nat
ural beauty and clean watersheds of the area.
Clean, cold and abundant water from the Methow Headwaters is the lifeblood of the valley. But this special place is under threat from a proposed industrial-scale mine.
Please take action today to voice your support for a 20-year mineral withdrawal in the Methow Headwaters!
In 2014, a Canadian company, Blue River Resources, filed for permits to conduct exploratory drilling for copper on U.S. Forest Service land near Mazama. Heavy pushback from local residents and businesses, as well as Conservation Northwest and other conservation and recreation groups, propelled land managers to issue a two-year freeze on mining proposals while they considered longer term protections.
Now, the Forest Service is accepting public comments as they evaluate implementing an administrative withdrawal of mineral rights in the Methow Headwaters. They need to hear YOU advocate for this 20-year mineral withdrawal!
Please add your name to the Methow Headwaters’ comment letter by November 6, 2017 to voice your support for protecting this special place from becoming the site of a massive mine.
Or, if you would rather submit your own personalized comments, visit the Forest Service’s comment portal. Suggested talking points are available below!
The Methow Headwaters are a special place for many Washingtonians, locals and visitors alike. Mine development in the Methow Headwaters is in direct conflict with the qualities that underpin the valley’s successful and sustainable economy. This wild landscape also provides a vital home for endangered Canada lynx, spotted owls, wild steelhead, and Chinook salmon, as well as an important migratory mule deer herd that travels seasonally through the proposed mine area.
Please note: this is a new action separate from previous actions we’ve shared. Thank you to everyone who’s supported our cause up to this point, and for weighing-in yet again. Your support has been crucial to the progress we’ve made to protect the Methow Headwaters!
Thank you for using your voice to protect the wild places of the Pacific Northwest!
Mike Williams, Forest Supervisor, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Attention: Methow Headwaters Mineral Withdrawal:
Nearly one million visitors come to the Methow Valley annually to enjoy the sun, snow, streams, wildlife and rural community, and they contribute more than $150 million annually into Okanogan County’s economy. Statewide, the outdoor recreation economy generates more than $26 billion in consumer spending and 200,000 jobs. Direct damage to the Methow Valley landscape, water and environment through mining and associated activities will negatively impact an economy built on outdoor recreation.
Recognizing the headwaters’ vital role in providing clean water and supporting the valley’s healthy economy, the town councils of Twisp and Winthrop passed resolutions in support of the mineral withdrawal. In addition, the Methow Valley is recognized by the National Forest Foundation as one of 14 treasured landscapes in which the organization is working with local communities to restore and build ecologically resilient landscapes. Industrial mining is in conflict with these restoration goals.
The Methow is also home to seven federally protected fish and wildlife species and federally designated critical habitat for five protected species (spotted owl, lynx, spring Chinook salmon, bull trout, steelhead). These animals all depend on a high quality natural environment, and are valued by locals and visitors alike. An industrial mine and its potentially devastating effects does not belong in such an important area for these recovering populations.
The Methow Valley and its headwaters are treasured for their natural beauty, recreational opportunities, wildlife, local agriculture, and clean water. I urge you to implement the 20-year mineral withdrawal and continue to honor the values of the local community and those who visit this special place. A large-scale mine does not belong in the Methow Valley!