County Population: 41,842 (2019)
County Land Area: 5,268 sq mi
City of Tonasket Population: 1,214 (2019)
Tonasket Land Area: 0.64 sq mi
INDUSTRY: Fruit - apples, pears, cherries, and in recent years, varietal grape vines that have produced award-winning Pinot Noirs, Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Sauvignon Blancs, and Chardonnays; not to mention the immensely popular award-winning late harvest ice wines, made possible by our Northern latitude mid-Autumn frosts. Timber, livestock, and agriculture (hay, nursery stock for local outlets, various small organic herb, vegetable, grain and dried floral farms).
CLIMATE: Long, hot and dry Summers with temperatures in the 80s to 90s and occasional hot spells in the low 100s, with very low humidity and little or no rain. Winter in the valleys is usually mild with not much snow and with a cold spell or two in January. In the higher areas, of course, there is more snow. Valleys receive approximately 1 to 2 feet with 3 to 5 feet in the high mountain and ski areas. Spring and Fall are quite similar in temperature with warm days and cool nights. Rainfall averages 12 inches per year.
RECREATION: Fishing (over 60 lakes, rivers and creeks with trout, bass, kokanee, sunfish, catfish, perch, and others). Swimming, boating, jet skiing, hiking, camping, mountain biking and much much more. Hunting with a bow, gun or camera in our area offers a varied assortment of wildlife to harvest or photograph. Skiing (downhill at the Sitzmark and Loup Loup hills) at numerous Snow Parks with hundreds of miles of groomed cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Not to be missed are the much-anticipated Okanogan County Fair, Tonasket Rodeo, and Omak Stampede. The Barter Faire in the Fall is known countrywide for its cultural diversity and widely varied handcrafts and home-grown items.
LOCAL TOPOGRAPHY: Varies from dry and arid sagebrush along the non-irrigated parts of the river valley to a middle belt of lush pasture and farm land on up to heavily timbered hillsides and mountains. The irrigated portions of the river valley are primarily apple orchards along with some pear and cherry. The area also supports irrigated and sub-irrigated hay ground.
AIRPORT: There are numerous hard surfaced airports in the county, including Tonasket Airport at 3000 feet with taxiways, lights for night landings, pilot's lounge with telephone and restroom, courtesy car (a former, and still black and white, City of Tonasket Police car), outdoor playground, and picnic and camping areas. Factory built, homebuilt and ultralights are all flown in the area. Many local ranches and orchards have grass airstrips.
EDUCATION: In Okanogan County we have K-12 in all the larger towns. Tonasket School District serves approximately 1000 students, with many of its students qualifying for and receiving scholarships from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There are also private schools run by various churches in our area. Many students are home-schooled. The Wenatchee Valley North Campus in Omak offers college transfer Associate of Arts and Associate of Sciences degrees, as well as exceptional vocational programs. Washington State University Extension in Okanogan offers programs in Youth and 4H, Tree Fruit and Agronomy, Master Gardener, and Urban Horticulture. The nearest university is Central Washington University located 170 miles south of Tonasket in Ellensburg.
DIVERSITY: With an abundance of ethnic and cultural diversity that must be experienced to be fully appreciated, Tonasket and the surrounding area are a true cultural melting pot. We have ranchers, loggers, orchardists, Hispanics, Native American Indians, back-to-basics and alternative lifestyle folks, along with the escapees from the big cities; all enjoying the laid-back, easy going and uncrowded lifestyle of the Okanogan River Valley and environs.
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