6 | Methow Trails This summer I had the type of formative experience you dream of with my 3 young boys atop Goat Peak. It was the first hike all of them had done under their own power. Yet, the most formative part wasn’t the hike but the conversation we had at the summit about the landscape and the community that has worked hard to shape it so perfectly. We started with a brief history lesson highlighted by a game of “what if” the proposed Early Winters ski resort been developed over the last 40+ years. I explained the original proposal was in 1974 by Aspen Ski Corp which chose Mazama and specifically Sandy Butte over 300 other potential sites around North America, mostly for the snow and the beauty of the landscape. “Yes boys we could be looking at two full sized golf courses flooding the valley floor, lifts and gondolas streaming up towards Mt. Gardner and the Sawtooth Wilderness, and condos and buildings the same as we have seen in Whistler.” I explained that the initial proposal bounced for decades through the community and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court giving this community time to really consider what would keep our community a special place not just to live but to visit for generations to come. Don’t get me wrong my boys love a great alpine ski trip and we talked about everything we would have loved about that reality as well. But the take-away for them was that our community has struck the right balance that feels special, right, and like home, whether you live here or are just lucky enough to visit. The experience was powerful for them because it helped them connect all the dots of why the Methow is the place we have chosen to live and what we could do to give back through our work on the trails and beyond. We spent the next hour discussing all corners of the mountains and valleys we had explored and hoped to explore. We celebrated the diverse mix of people that make it such a special place to live and visit. We pointed out the landowners who have graciously granted access to trails, their favorite farmers and fields, the diverse businesses and which one we were visiting that afternoon for treats and drinks, the next big adventure through millions of acres of surrounding wilderness, and of course the welcoming people in this community that glue it all together. It is my honor to welcome you to our trail network and the Methow Valley community that has created a balance that very few places have been able to achieve. Enjoy! 41 Years of Trail Experiences James DeSalvo Executive Director James directs all of Methow Trails operations and works closely with all staff and board members to deliver the highest quality trail system possible. He and his team work collaboratively with thousands of community members and visitors each year to ensure the trail system will be here forever. James moved to the valley in 1999 and is centered by his wife, Tory, and three boys, Parker, Sawyer, and Malloch. He brings a diverse professional background, most recently as the Regional Director for Outward Bound, managing operations in AK, WA, OR, CA, and Mexico. He has also been our trail manager, a groomer, a state park ranger, ski patroller, EMT, and wildland firefighter.