Proposal would protect Methow Valley from future mining

WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) — Federal land managers want to hear from the public about a proposal to protect a large swath of federal land in Washington’s Methow Valley from future mining for 20 years.

The plan would make about 340,000 acres (121 hectares) of forest lands in Okanogan County off-limits to new mining and mineral development for two decades while Congress considers legislation to permanently protect that area.

In September, the U.S. Forest Service recommended what’s called a 20-year mineral withdrawal to protect ecological and recreational resources in the Methow Valley.

The agency forwarded its environmental assessment and recommendation to the Bureau of Land Management, which will make a recommendation to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for a final decision.

BLM has scheduled a public meeting Nov. 13 in Winthrop. Officials are also taking written comments through Nov. 13.