Well, although I chose this tulip motif, it will be awhile before the Methow sees such beauties! However, late April is a great time when the lambing season begins and May will bring back our Balsamroot flowers!
Roads: We still have compact ice on Liberty Lane as it meanders through the wooded section. There is some relief in that it’s all dirt as you drive or walk through the field portions. If you want to be safe walking the woodland sections, consider getting Kahtoola micro spikes. They have been handy to have all winter long so I am sure it will not be a one-off purchase!! Sports stores in town carry them so think about buying local !
This brings me to the suggestion that as you drive over the ice, try not to drive in the ice ruts. If possible, zig zag across the ruts. This will help break them down and foster a more even run off to protect the road tread.
Dark Skies and Lighting: A number of cabins have recently been built with ‘extreme’ porch lighting ! This was overlooked before the Architectural Committee realized that lighting is an important aspect of design consideration and approval. What we now have are cabins with very bright and numerous outside lights that destroy the night skies and that shine across community property and roads into neighbors’ cabins. Although still bright, a preliminary measure might be to lower the wattage to 25. (See 22 Liberty Lane as an example. 13 Liberty Lane has lights that go on when triggered by a person or car.)
The Methow Valley has been paying more attention to dark skies with a relatively new organization called Dark Sky Coalition a non-profit devoted to reducing light polution in the Valley. This past week Winthrop agreed to retrofit street lights with rings to reduce glare similar to those on street lights near the Barn. OCEC in the fall sent out a flyer with their bills suggesting ways to promote dark skies (See our FB page The Woodlanders for a copy) and the Methow Valley News in recent months has had several articles about dark sky concerns in the Valley.
Okanogan County actually has a zoning code that reads:
“Outdoor lighting shall be directed downward and shielded to minimize potential glare to morotists and off-site residents. No exterior light with a direct source visible from a neighboring property shall be installed. Indirect sources and horizontal cut-off fixtures are recommended to reduce glare and provide general ambient light.”
Wilson Ranch HOA (Freestone Inn) is working to develop a policy regarding dark skies for their Members. They realize that lighting is both decorative and that it provides a measure of safety. Perhaps this is something The Woodlands Members would be interested in discussing. There are ways to address many of these concerns but it would be best to have a community conversation. It you find good articles think about posting them on our Facebook (FB) page, The Woodlanders. Alternatively, offer your ideas and recommmendations on The Woodlanders page for a continuing discussion.
As I close this letter, the snow is still falling with a forecast of more snow up through Saturday at 11 a.m. with falling temperatures!
Please stay safe and healthy wherever you are.