The Stemilt Partnership was formed in 2007, a union of the concerned, people and government expressly fearful for the fate of four sections of public land in the beautiful Stemilt Basin, just south of Wenatchee. Their values, cemented after long consultation and public collaboration, include protection for wildlife habitat, for watershed essential to agriculture, for the rich recreational opportunities and the extraordinary beauty of the natural setting.
The partnership succeeded to an extraordinary degree, but not completely. The four sections first included in a huge trade with a potential developer, were kept in public ownership. The Department of Natural Resources sold two parcels to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to be managed for conservation. Chelan County, with grants and donations, is in the process of purchasing 4,000 acres of private timberland nearby, with conservation as the intent. DNR kept two sections, and in September revealed it was considering leasing them to Stemilt Growers for development in part as a cherry orchard.