Wagner Chewuch River 6

A 1.6-mile stretch of the Chewuch River in Winthrop was sold last week to the Methow Conservancy.

WINTHROP — A 328-acre Winthrop ranch is now under ownership of an Okanogan County conservation group.

The Western Rivers Conservancy last week sold the Wagner Ranch and its 1.6 miles of shoreline along the Chewuch River to the Methow Conservancy for $3.6 million, according to Western Rivers spokesman Danny Palmerlee.

Western Rivers bought the ranch in 2018 with the intention of conserving the stretch of river.

“We set out to protect the property three years ago for the sake of the Methow’s fish and wildlife and to guarantee that this rare, beautiful swath of open space — and the benefits it provides to the entire valley — remain for generations to come,” said Nelson Mathews, Western Rivers’ vice president, in a news release. “The Methow Conservancy is working to bring this vision to life.”

The news release described the Chewuch River as a major source of cold water for the Methow and a crucial habitat for imperiled Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout. Officials have identified more than a dozen potential areas for salmon habitat restoration.

Palmerlee said the property was undamaged by the Cub Creek 2 Fire, which burned 70,186 acres of nearby land this summer.

Pete O’Cain: (509) 664-7152

ocain@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter@peterocain

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