Federal grant helps keep smokejumper base in Winthrop

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The Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop has received a $1.1 million grant that will enable it to continue to serve as the North Cascade Smokejumper Base, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse announced.

The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will fund the final phase  of apron expansion , completing a project “vital to fulfill Federal Administration standards to keep the North Cascade Smokejumper Base in Winthrop where it belongs,” Newhouse said.

In May, the airport was closed for a $5 million runway repaving project.

In 2017, the U.S. Forest Service considered moving the smokejumper base to Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee but an analysis determined keeping it in Winthrop was the best option. The analysis was dependent, however, on funding for airport improvements.