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Grant McConnell - Stehekin: A Valley in Time

p. 18: Grant McConnell and his wife Jane arrived in Stehekin in December [1945, I think] following his discharge from the military.

p. 33: The author introduces Ray Courtney and contrasts his personality with his older brothers Curt and Laurence. "He had no time or respect for machinery, the passion of the other two. His aim at every point was to act and live harmoniously with the woods around him, using the simplest tools and giving respect to all the things of nature. This was long before the message of ecology became popular..."

p. 34: Soon after their arrival in Stehekin, the McConnells found themselves hosts of a party. A dozen skiers converged on their house, a majority of the people then in the valley. No snowshoers attended. "The valley was split on the issue of skis versus snowshoes. One was either willing to use skis or not. There was really no compromise on this. [...] It would be good to be able to say that the partisans of each side were tolerant and willing to see that there were virtues to both modes of travel, but unfortunately this was not true. Debates on the matter were frequent, prolonged, loud and sterile. Each side looked down on the other and was not above relating the use of the other mode to deficiencies of character. And if a member of one camp had just had to contend with a trail messed up by a member of the opposite camp, there was likely to be a highly sarcastic exchange of remarks. It was just as well for valley peace that winter lasted no longer than it did."

p. 46: During the winter, the Lake Chelan boat arrived at Stehekin three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) to deliver the mail. The McConnells made the trip on skis, often ski-joring behind Harry Buckner's sled for part of the distance. Following heavy storms, the trip sometimes took two days, the first to pack a trail part-way down the valley and return home, and the second to complete the journey to the lake and back.

p. 104: There was some recreational skiing by Stehekinites in winter. The author describes going skiing with Jane and Ray "up on the benches, where the snow was good" and encountering a cougar.

p. 120: The Lyman Lake cabin was built in 1926 when Lake Chelan's outlet was dammed to produce electricity. The author provides a nice description of the cabin and its surroundings in winter.

p. 133: The author describes the conditions leading to the floods of May 1948. From this account, it appears that his first winter in Stehekin was in 1945-46.

p. 147: During World War II, Ray Courtney served at various places in the army and wound up running a sawmill in the Philippines. Curt Courtney served [in the 10th Mountain Division] in the Aleutians at Kiska. The author describes the beginning of changes at Stehekin after the war, started by Curt's attempts to operate a sawmill with his army buddies. After this episode, Art Peterson, a downlake orchardist, constructed a sawmill that brought many newcomers and their families to the valley, requiring establishment of a school. Unknown to valley residents, Peterson's eventual plan was for a big resort with a lodge, cabins and a golf course.

p. 197: In the final chapter, the author discusses the major and permanent changes that came to Stehekin when the Forest Service began planning to sell timber throughout the watershed. "Where before, the changes were so gradual that it was possible to be ignorant of what had been lost--and so not to miss it--the pace now quickened so that it was visible. [...] In one place after another--places of special quality that spoke of timeless things--the assault came close. And spontaneously, it aroused an indignation of deep intensity." After thirteen years of struggle, Congress declared two wilderness areas, a national park, and several other areas--one including Stehekin, in which protection against destruction was to be enforced.

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Last Updated: Wed Dec 1 16:19:30 PST 2004