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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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November 06, 2014
Contact: WDFW: Jim Brown, 509-754-4624, and Bruce Botka, 360-902-2262
Brewster: Sabrina O'Connell, 509-670-4790
Bridgeport: Judy Brown, 509-686-4041, Ext. 12
Pateros: Virgil Yancey, 509-923-2622
Economic Alliance of Okanogan County: Roni Holder-Diefenbach, 509-826-5107

WDFW works with upper Columbia River communities
to highlight recreation opportunities in the Okanogan

OLYMPIA - Recreational opportunities abound through the fall and winter in the Okanogan region, and leaders from Brewster, Bridgeport and Pateros are promoting them in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

In the aftermath of this summer's Carlton Complex wildfire, leaders from WDFW and the three neighboring towns - located along the upper Columbia River north of Wenatchee - agreed to work together to counter the tourism slowdown that followed news reports of the fire.

"Outdoor recreation is a vital part of the north central Washington economy," said Jim Brown, WDFW's regional director. "We are very pleased to support these communities' efforts to bring tourists back to the area."

The initiative complements a marketing campaign to promote tourism throughout Okanogan County that began in mid-September. That effort, funded by a $150,000 grant from Gov. Jay Inslee's strategic reserve account, is being coordinated by the Economic Alliance of Okanogan County.

Brown said WDFW and the three cities are reinforcing the tourism messages through news releases, social media posts, and other online content. Efforts later this fall will include promotions and advertising designed to complement the "Open for Adventure" theme used in the state-funded marketing initiative.

The campaign is also receiving support from Dave Graybill, the "Fishin' Magician," whose radio and newspaper reports highlight fishing opportunities throughout central Washington, and from John Kruse, whose "Northwestern Outdoors Radio" show is carried on more than 50 stations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

Among the region's numerous recreation-oriented opportunities are two evening events in November for anglers, hunters and wildlife watchers:

  • A "Celebrate Steelhead" event is scheduled Nov. 14 at the Pateros Central Building. Sponsored by Howard's on the River, the event will include free seminars by local fishing experts on how to catch steelhead on the Methow, Okanogan and Columbia rivers. Dinner will be available at 6 p.m., and seminars will begin about an hour later.
  • The Mule Deer Foundation has scheduled a benefit dinner at 5 p.m. Nov. 22 at The Barn in Winthrop to raise money for habitat restoration and other efforts to counter the effects of the Carlton Complex fire on the region's large mule deer herd.

Sabrina O'Connell, treasurer of the Brewster Chamber of Commerce, said people who visit Okanogan Country only in the summer are missing some memorable experiences. "Brewster is famous for our summer sockeye run, but fishing and hunting are great family activities throughout the fall and winter," she said. "Our family often fishes for steelhead right through the winter."

North central Washington is a huge area, and most of it was untouched by fire, said Virgil Yancey of Yancey's Pateros Hardware, who sells fishing and hunting licenses and provides visitors with wide-ranging information about recreation opportunities. "Fall and winter offer a great variety of hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing," he said. "There's something for everyone in this part of the state."

Judy Brown, Bridgeport city clerk/treasurer, said her Douglas County community, just downstream from Chief Joseph Dam, draws visitors from throughout the Northwest. "This is a great time to visit us," she said, adding that the city-owned RV campground is ideal for those who want to be close to the Columbia River.

Jim Brown of WDFW said the department promotes recreation-related tourism throughout the state and works closely with the Washington Tourism Alliance and local visitor information centers. The department's recent efforts have focused on recreational razor clamming on the Washington coast and seasonal statewide promotions, such as the Fall Into Fishing campaign. Earlier this year, the department launched the "Great Getaways" website ( to promote family-oriented fishing vacations throughout the state.

"Promoting outdoor recreation is an important part of WDFW's mission, so focusing on opportunities in north central Washington made especially good sense in the wake of this summer's wildfires," he said.

Extensive information about fall and winter recreation opportunities in the region is available from the Okanogan County Tourism Council at Information about fishing and hunting seasons, license requirements and regulations is available from the WDFW at