The Campaign Story

At times in our lives, we are given the rare opportunity to participate in a project that reflects our love of place. This is one of those projects. It represents everything we love about the Methow Valley in 1200 acres that we, the community, can save. We have given a forever gift to all who follow in this place we call home.”
~ Roxie Miller

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Helga and Erivan Haub purchased Sun Mountain Lodge and related properties, totaling roughly 2500 acres. They renovated the lodge and earned a prestigious AAA Four Diamond designation. For 35 years the Haub Family welcomed multiple uses of the 2500 acres they owned in the Methow Valley around Sun Mountain Lodge, Patterson Mountain, Wolf Creek Road, and the Barnsley-Bitterbrush area. The Methow Valley community has relied on Helga and Erivan's vision and goodwill to steward the land, protect wildlife habitat, support local agriculture, and ensure recreational trail use that is so essential to the local economy.

In spring 2022, the Haub Family sold the Sun Mountain Lodge property including the cabins at Patterson Lake and about 1300 acres of their holdings to GEM Partners in Seattle. The Methow Conservancy has been exploring conservation outcomes with the Haub Family for years and saw the opportunity to purchase the remaining 1200 acres to secure the future of the land for the community: for wildlife, for trails, for agriculture, for the rural economy, and for future generations. These 1200 acres are part of what was once the historic Sunny M Ranch, which in its heyday encompassed 4000 acres between Winthrop, Patterson Lake, and Sun Mountain. And before that, since Time Immemorial, the land has been cared for by the Methow People.

On December 28, 2022, the Methow Conservancy launched Imagine the Methow: the Campaign for Sunny M Ranch. 170 days and 1500 donors later, on June 15, 2023 the Methow Conservancy purchased the remaining 1200 acres and plans to hold the land long-term on behalf of the community, both human and wild.

We are building partnerships within the community to ensure the longevity of wildlife, farming, housing, economic viability, and human-powered recreational trail opportunities. Through these partnerships, as well as deed restrictions and conservation easements, we will manage and steward the land in a way that maintains and expands upon the Haub Family’s vision for the property. By owning this land, we preserve possibilities for our community.

Why this project matters:

  • Values: The Sunny M Ranch opportunity advances four core values: wildlife, farmland, trails, and housing that is affordable for people who work here.
  • Rural Character: Many mountain communities never get a chance to determine what the landscape near town looks like and how it reflects community values. We do.
  • Partners: At the Methow Conservancy we aren’t farmers or trail groomers or builders, but we can provide the land that makes these functions possible. This one project unites community members and organizations through partnerships for public benefit.
  • Legacy: For 35 years, the Haub Family has been a careful steward of this land. Now the community can carry that legacy forward.
  • Scale: There are only five unprotected holdings in the Methow Valley larger than 1,000 acres. This is one of them. Opportunities to achieve a community and conservation win at this scale don’t present themselves often.
  • Balance: It is possible to balance the needs of people, wildlife, and the local economy. In the Sunny M Ranch project, wildlife habitat doesn’t come at the expense of trail use; workforce housing doesn’t detract from farming. No one component compromises another.

The Math

Over the course of six months we raised $8.7M--$2.1M in public funding and $6.6M in private philanthropy.

Project costs

Individual endorsements

  • "Between 1997-2016 [my late wife] and I skate skied more than 600 miles over 71 days. Many of those miles were out on the MCT out of Winthrop. Thanks, [wife's name], for the memories."
  • "Thank you for working hard to preserve the beauty of the Methow for everyone."
  • "I have contacted the Community Foundation of NCW. They will cut a check for you, probably the first week in April. My husband and I discussed donating $1000 when we saw the information on the Methow Trails conditions web site. After we skied that section last Friday we thought what the heck, we were so close we would go talk to you. After talking to you we thought that we could donate $3000 over 3 years. On further thought we figured that more money up front was more useful to you, ergo we have directed $10,000 as a one time donation. We are very impressed with your organization's vision and sensitivity. Just wanted to let you know that your personal touch had a 10 fold impact on our donation. I know that this money will end up in the Misc. bucket but our minds we are buying 2 acres for our grandchildren."
  • “Thank you for pursuing this property that allows so many of us to enjoy winter recreation in the Methow Valley and helps conserve the wildlife and character of this special place in Washington.”
  • "Thank you for your efforts. My wife and I visit the Methow Valley in all seasons for the beauty and grandeur of the region."
  • “We have enjoyed the Methow Valley trails since 1980. We appreciate the efforts of the Conservancy and its partners to protect, preserve and continue restoration of Sunny M Ranch lands.”
  • “So excited to be able to donate and share this truly unique parcel of land with the community. Thank you for managing this in such a creative and impactful way.”
  • "We are impressed with the thoughtful analysis the Conservancy has done to work with already existing non-profits to help with management, development and/or preservation of the acreage. The marketing campaign also shows an impressive effort to reach out to many different groups in the Methow Valley."
  • “We're so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to preserving this beautiful land for generations! Thank you to everyone driving this vision.”

Check out our Press page for more articles about the Campaign for Sunny M Ranch.

Winter aerial looking northwest Benj Drummond 1920pixels
Photo by Benjamin Drummond

Inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley since 1996.

Join Team Methow Conservancy and support conservation work in the Methow Valley!