Our mission: To ensure the sustainable economic future of the Skykomish Valley by developing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities that benefit all users and the communities.
"Economic growth for Gold Bar and the Skykomish Valley is primarily going to come through tourism and services in the next fifty years and not through selling natural resources."
Gold Bar and the Skykomish Valley are at a crossroads.
On the one hand is a shortsighted, outdated system of heavy logging that leaves scarred hillsides and ruined outdoor recreational and tourism opportunities all along the "National Scenic Byway" of Highway 2.
On the other hand is a community of Sky Valley residents who are wondering what is happening to their valley, and who understand that the future of a sustainable Skykomish Valley economy over the next 50 years depends upon capitalizing on the vast tourism resource that lies barely an hour away in Seattle.
As the City of Gold Bar said in December 2019:
"The City of Gold Bar has a history of mining and logging that, while an important part of its history and heritage, no longer serves as viable sources of employment or income for its residents."
"Potential trail systems have been proposed that could create a large influx of economic growth while preserving the natural beauty of the valley."
Clearcuts today eliminate economic opportunities for decades to come.
With the right direction, Gold Bar and the Skykomish Valley are poised to use their natural resources to build a thriving, sustainable economy based on outdoor recreation and tourism over the next 10 to 20 years.
Unfortunately, that opportunity is being taken from us as heavy logging continues to leave scarred hillsides that require decades to grow back and make visitors wonder why the Sky Valley looks like a war zone.
Gold Bar in particular is paying a heavy price for current forestry policies.
Extensive logging now planned between Gold Bar and Index
Most Sky Valley residents are unaware that Department of Natural Resources is preparing 6 more timber sales in Reiter Foothills Forest. That's in addition to the controversial 193-acre Middle May timber sale proposed for Spring 2020.
(The Department of Natural Resources manages logging on over 5 million acres in Washington, including Reiter Foothills.)
The blue arrows below show logging operations planned for Reiter Foothills Forest between now and 2025.
This amounts to over 1,000 acres of logging, most of which will be Variable Retention Harvest.
Variable Retention Harvests, like the proposed Middle May logging, leave only 8 trees per acre. This typically means removing 95% to 98% of trees, essentially creating the look and feel of a clearcut.
Can you see how close the proposed Middle May, Madera, and Brushcrasher logging operations (in pink, red and dark green) are to the hiking trails in Wallace Falls State Park (the yellow area to the east in the photo above)? Some of the proposed logging will take place within 500 feet of the park border.
Wallace Falls State Park will be adversely affected.
Wallace Falls State Park receives over 225,000 visits per year. A recent study showed that 42% of those visitors shop or dine in Gold Bar. This means anything bad for the Park is also bad for Gold Bar.
Unfortunately, in addition to cutting down forest, the applications for the Reiter Foothills logging operations state that herbicide is likely to be sprayed after the trees have been cut (a common practice in logged areas).
What this means: The current forestry plan is to create hundreds of acres of logging slash in the areas around Wallace Falls State Park, AND to spray them with chemicals that many people believe to be dangerous.
This is not exactly a selling point for Gold Bar's biggest tourist attraction.
The people of Gold Bar and the Skykomish Valley deserve a say.
"Timber sales, whether the Singletary plan, the newly proposed plan called Middle May, or other such plans to harvest vast amounts of forest in the surrounding area will negatively and drastically impact both the beauty and the functionality of the forests for many decades to come."
Why is the City of Gold Bar's recent Resolution asking for an end to heavy logging around Gold Bar being ignored?
The City is concerned about decreased property values, loss of tourism dollars, and losing the chance to capitalize on our natural resources to build an ongoing, sustainable economy based on tourism and outdoor recreation.
Yes, new opportunities take time to be developed.
But arguing for a one-time windfall based on "the way it's always been done" is a shortsighted economic approach when it means ruining the chance for new and better opportunities that will last for decades.
Many Skykomish Valley residents side with Gold Bar.
We hear from a lot of people who say they're wondering what's happening to their valley.
They notice the hillsides going bare month after month, or wake up one day and drive by a huge pile of slash where there used to be a forest of big trees.
People see what's happening, but they don't know what to do about it.
What Sky Valley Future is doing:
We're working to make it easy for all Skykomish Valley residents to have a say in what happens to their valley.
Over the course of just a few weeks more than 600 people used our website form to tell land management decision makers they opposed the proposed Middle May logging operation next to Wallace Falls State Park.
The Middle May sale has now been postponed, and some members of the Board of Natural Resources have expressed interest in visiting the site to better understand concerns.
We believe in practical solutions that make long-term economic sense and include input from ALL user groups.
Mountain bikers, ATV-ers, horseback riders, climbers, birdwatchers, hikers, anglers, dirt bikers - this means you.
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