top of page

The One Fire The Methow Valley Won't Extinguish: Our Passion to Persist

Written by Jamie Petitto

August, 2021

“The only way out is through.”

After weeks of smoke and flames, those who stayed in the Methow Valley are first to anticipate (and celebrate) the forthcoming rainbow.

A rainbow spreads across blue skies in downtown Twisp. Photo Young Reflections Photography.

The Washington Post Wrote About Us: “On the worst days, and there have been many, one can see nothing but white — a hot, suffocating fog bank that smells of burning wood and blots out the sun… Doors stay sealed, stores are closed and the normal summer bustle in this bucolic mountain town is snuffed out.”

The New York Times Wrote About Us: “In [the] Methow Valley, the four-season Sun Mountain Lodge resort evacuated guests because of increasing concern over wildfires. It was a hit for a tourism-reliant community still reeling from effects of the pandemic.”

The Seattle Times Wrote About Us: “Smoke and fire have done to Winthrop [and the Methow Valley] what the pandemic couldn’t: clear the streets of the tiny, tourism-dependent town in Okanogan County that’s long been a lure for outdoor enthusiasts.”

We’ve Even Written About Us: to ask for support when we were at our most vulnerable. (Help, by the way, that we’re still gratefully accepting as we begin to pick up the pieces.)

Truly, we’re appreciative of the free press. They’ve brought a light to climate change and our predicament. Here’s the thing, though: who wants to visit a place that’s in a predicament? Now that the national news outlets highlighted all the reasons for you to stay away, do they also plan to tell you when you’re welcome to come back over?

Let us once again pick up the pen in order that we ourselves may write the next chapter in our story, the chapter that mentions the rainbow after the storm: pouring rain, crisp clean air and cooler temperatures have returned to the Methow Valley.

We know there are a few months left before we can exhale, but it sure feels good to breathe in a literal breath of fresh air.

Aerial View of Downtown Twisp. Photo by Jamie Petitto.

The Methow Valley is Open. The North Cascades Highway has reopened for a conveniently gorgeous drive to our valley. You can discover ample trails to hike, bike and horseback ride – or take a less rugged walk along the smooth greens of Methow’s local golf course. Rediscover our shiny blue lakes begging to be fished, kayaked, and intertubed (okay, “intertubed” isn’t a word, but you know what we mean). Stare up at the magnificent summertime birds overhead, stare into shop windows when strolling downtown, or stare at that cowboy-looking dude who’s casually riding his horse down the street on his way to the local tap house. (His name is John and he’s awesome.)

Plus, who says you need to come to the Methow Valley to busy yourself? Relax next to a park-side river, with a massage at Twisp’s local spa, lying on a blanket under a rare Dark Sky, or settled in with a good book in any of our cozy lodging establishments.

Twisp and Methow Valley Businesses are Open. They’ve stayed open through the pandemic, through staffing shortages, through suffocating smoke. We’re extremely thankful for those who have shown support from afar through online commerce, and we now invite you back to the brick ‘n mortar where business owners would sure welcome a warm hello.

This includes our hotels, motels, AirBnBs and RV Parks. Did you know that every time you stay in a Methow Valley lodging, you’re also supporting us directly? Two percent of the cost of your overnight stay in Washington State is channeled directly to the town or county in which you’re staying. This penny collection certainly adds up, ensuring the ongoing support of our local Chambers, economies and communities. So book a night or two with us right now, and rest easy knowing you’ve contributed to another great stay in the future!

The Call for Perpetual Positivity is Open. National news outlets have spoken to the negative effects of this summer’s season in smoke. As that smoke clears, we dare you to dive into the options for optimism: discussing the fortitude of our firefighters, the resilience of our residents, the backbone of our businesses. We are ready for an influx of high-fives, a slew of smiles and a bombardment of belly laughs.

This summer, the Methow Valley was seared with new scars. Yet scars are simply proof that we were stronger than the flames that burned us.

We’d say we’ve risen from the ashes, but that would be untrue, as we’ve never been destroyed. Instead, as our friends at Methow Trails recently attested, we know “the only way out is through…” So on we go, Methow-style.

We’re still standing. We’re still here. We hope you’ll soon find your way here, too.

Jamie Petitto is the Marketing Director for the Twisp Chamber of Commerce, located at 201 S. Highway 20 in Twisp, Washington. The Chamber’s mission is to connect and promote its members to support a fun, friendly and funky community.


bottom of page