A Win for Public Access to Trails in Twisp!
We're excited to share news of another community success! On September 22, 2023, we purchased the 144 acres of shrub-steppe hillside known as Mill Hill just outside of Twisp to secure continued public access to the informal trails that we know so many Twisp residents enjoy.
We hope to be temporary "bridge" owners until we can achieve the long-term vision of having the land owned as a park by the Town of Twisp. Now that the property is secured, we are committed to working with the Town of Twisp to support their application for an RCO Recreation Grant from the State of Washington that would facilitate the transfer of the property to the Town of Twisp as a park.
Previously owned by Redtail Development LLC, Mill Hill is the visible hillside to the east of Twisp overlooking the town. Conservation values include scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, and public access to trails. Although no formal trails have ever been built on the property, several social trails have been well-established over many years, circumnavigating the lower hillside and winding up to several viewpoints. For many years Twisp residents and visitors have been using these trails for walking and running, as well as snowshoeing in the winter. The trails are an integral piece of recreation near the Town of Twisp.
Because Mill Hill was at risk of private ownership and development that might have jeopardized public access, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to step in and help secure long-term trail access near town. We learned how to do this with the Meadowlark Trail project in Winthrop -- which we initially bought and then eventually transferred to the Town of Winthrop as a park, though we continue to help with ongoing stewardship and maintenance. We hope to facilitate something similar for Mill Hill.
Like the Meadowlark property, which was purchased through a gift from longtime Methow Valley part-time residents Tina and Eliot Scull, the Mill Hill purchase was made possible through gifts from two families deeply invested in the Methow Valley who have a particular interest in providing amenities and opportunities for Twisp residents and visitors (human and wild).
As our Board President Benj Drummond notes, “Helping Twisp secure more public open space is something the board and staff have been thinking about for some time. Mill Hill solves that puzzle beautifully. It’s a critical corner of the valley: a prominent elbow joint right at the nexus of the Twisp and Methow drainages. I only really understood that after seeing it from above. I’m thrilled to know that it is protected and will become a permanent community asset.”
We hope you are excited, too!