[9/11/21] Methow Conservancy To Purchase Wagner Ranch

Posted in Environment

The Methow Conservancy is under contract to purchase the historic Wagner Ranch on East Chewuch Road, and will then give the property to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to honor the valley’s Indigenous people.

The Conservancy revealed last week that it intends to purchase the 324-acre property from the Western Rivers Conservancy, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit that buys and permanently protects land throughout the Western states. The WRC purchased the land in 2018 for more than $3 million, with the intent of eventually conveying it to the Yakama Nation’s Upper Columbia Habitat Restoration Project.

The expectation was that the parcel would be sold to the Yakama Nation using anticipated funding from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Nelson Mathews, vice president of the WRC, said in an interview last week that the BPA had decided not to fund the project.

The Wagner Ranch is about 5 miles north of Winthrop, east of the Chewuch River. Because of its scenic setting including a pond, pastures and a pristine collection of buildings, the ranch is well-known to locals and visitors who travel on East Chewuch Road. The ranch includes 1.6 miles of Chewuch River frontage, and adjoins a 14,800-acre unit of the Methow Wildlife Area.

The property is listed at $3.6 million. Paulsen said negotiations over the sale price are being kept confidential. Meanwhile, the Methow Conservancy is hustling to raise the funds necessary to purchase the land. Several donors stepped up with significant contributions, and as of late last week the conservancy was within about $1.1 million of its fundraising goal.