Time to return to Stilly Valley

The people of Snohomish County showed no hesitation in giving generously following the landslide that destroyed Oso’s Steelhead Drive neighborhood on March 22. The slide killed 43 people, leaving one still missing, devastated families, blocked a crucial highway between Arlington and Darrington and threatened the economy of the Stillaguamish Valley.

County residents quickly came to the aid of the affected communities and its families with financial, material, volunteer and moral support.

Cleanup work continues at the site of the slide, and the communities continue their own work to fix the economic damage from the disaster and the weeks that Highway 530 was closed to traffic.

Now we can follow up our donations by returning to the Stilly Valley, from Arlington to Darrington, and supporting its communities and businesses.

It’s not difficult to point out good reasons to go:

In Wednesday’s Good Life section, Herald Features Editor Aaron Swaney detailed the farms and businesses that are part of the Red Rooster Routes and are dependent on customers who drive through the valley. It’s the peak of berry season now with stands and u-pick fields open and plentiful.

In today’s A&E section, reporter Gale Fiege profiles a Camano Island family who for many years has attended the Darrington Bluegrass Festival and are now performers at this weekend’s festival. The festival, in its 38th year, is a celebration of a very American genre of music. Darrington has long depended on the economic boost that the festival provides each summer; more so this year.

Likewise the Summer Meltdown rock festival, Aug. 7-10 at Darrington’s Whitehorse Amphitheatre.

Throughout the year, Darrington provides a gateway for outdoor enthusiasts into the wilderness and mountain trails of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

In June, Herald writer Jessi Loerch wrote about a Darrington-based business that leads whitewater rafting trips down the Sauk River.

Those who make the drive to Darrington this weekend and after will travel Highway 530 and will, of course, drive through the site of the landslide. Visitors are reminded not to stop on their way through the slide area, but to continue to show respect for the lives lost there and for the one person, Kris Regelbrugge, who remains missing.

We make these recommendations not as an appeal to charity but as a reminder of their worth to Snohomish County as part of what we value in our community, of what should be celebrated, enjoyed and supported.

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