North Cascades Smokejumper Base
April 2018 Update
TwispWorks continues to lead the effort to keep the North Cascade Smokejumper Base (NCSB) in Winthrop. Earlier this year we drafted a letter on behalf of the commissioners to the USFS Regional Forester, Jim Peña, requesting a meeting to support the Forest Service’s effort to obtain the funding necessary to keep the base operational. We are happy to report that Jim Peña accepted our request; he and additional Forest Service staff will be meeting with our county commissioners and mayors on April 24th (time TBD) at TwispWorks. This meeting is open to the public, but there will not be time for public comments.
TwispWorks is pleased to host the meeting on April 24th at the Education Station. With our rich history as the former site of the Twisp Ranger Station, it is fitting that the Forest Service will once again be utilizing this space! TwispWorks has been leading the preparation for this meeting because this issue directly supports our mission of increasing the economic vitality of the Methow Valley. The North Cascades Smokejumper Base is integral to the economy, culture, and disaster preparedness of the Methow Valley. Providing sixteen permanent jobs, multiple contract positions and nearly $800,000 of direct annual Federal spending, the base supports many local families and, by extension, our whole community.
In other news, the North Central Washington Economic Development District (NCWEDD) selected the retention of NCSB in Winthrop as their #1 priority for 2018. Thank you NCWEDD! With this classification, we receive assistance with researching and writing grants and administrative assistance from NCWEDD.
And finally, mark your calendars for June 16, 2018. John Doran is hosting the 3rd Annual ‘Keep Our Rivers Clean and Our Valley Green Music Festival’; this year’s theme is Support the Base! This is a great opportunity for you to listen to some music, eat and drink some local goods, and show your support for keeping the Smokejumper Base in Winthrop.
Thank you to all the North Cascades Smokejumper Base supporters! Your recent letter to the Forest Service on the importance of keeping the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop made a difference. On August 15, the Forest Service released the results of their Preliminary Project Analysis on base location alternatives. The analysis found that Wenatchee and the Methow Valley ranked nearly equal, but moving the base from Winthrop would have a “significant socio-economic impact of moving jobs from the smaller communities of Winthrop and Twisp.” Read the full report. →
Our work is not over! Unless the Forest Service can find the $5.2 million needed to upgrade the base in the next 2-3 years, they will recommend the base move to Wenatchee. This means a strong community voice calling for investment in the base will be needed! It will take all of our voices to keep the base at its historic location in the Methow Valley!
The North Cascades Smokejumper Base is integral to the economy, culture, and disaster preparedness of the Methow Valley. Providing sixteen permanent jobs, multiple contract positions and nearly $800,000 of direct annual Federal spending, the base supports many local families and, by extension, our whole community.
Its location on the edge of some of the steepest and most inaccessible terrain in the Northwest has helped ensure a rapid response to devastating fires such as the ones that impacted the Methow Valley in 2014 and 2015. And with over 3,000 annual visitors, the base’s unique heritage as the birthplace of smokejumping is a pillar of local tourism.
Currently, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is completing a Preliminary Project Analysis to study the costs and benefits of updating the current base near Winthrop or moving it out of the Valley.
How Can I Help?
Check back soon for a timeline and ways to get involved. It will take all of our voices to keep the base at its historic location in the Methow Valley!