By Phyllis D. Slayton
Waitts Lake in Valley, Washington, has been a beloved family resort destination since 1925. Beautiful wild country surrounds the 470-acre gorgeous lake, with record-making fishing and fun local recreation. Until 2021, Winona Beach Resort and Silver Beach Resort were separately owned. A Seattle Corporation, PV RV, LLC, acquired Winona Beach Resort in April 2021 and Silver Beach Resort in December 2021. The properties are now known as South Winona Beach Resort (South Beach) and North Winona Beach Resort (North Beach). Since that time, there has been speculation amongst the long-time close-knit residential community and regular seasonal visitors about what changes might occur.
If you spend some time talking with General Manager Brook Weisner and Assistant Manager Shantel Kerbs, your concerns will soon diminish. As an engaging pair with a heart for their community, they are fully committed to making the resorts a positive experience for everyone. The primary owner, Jason Kono, wanted to buy the properties because they reminded him of his childhood in Minnesota where he lived near similar lakes. His philosophy is to maintain a comfortable community environment, and the team has gone out of their way to ensure any significant changes in operation are subtle and don’t “rock the boat,” so to speak.
According to Weisner, who lives in Spokane and has 30 years in the service industry, “We are hospitality people who are customer oriented. We listen to people and accommodate them as much as possible, while maintaining a safe, family-friendly environment.”
Kerbs, who has lived in Kettle Falls and Chewelah most of her life, reiterates that philosophy, “We really get to know the people who live and stay here. They become a part of our family, and we try our best to make them comfortable in all aspects.” Morgan Fitzgerald, of Valley, Mariah Allen of Bluecreek, and Katie Simpkins of Chewelah, complete the resort team.
Both resorts will be open to the public during the April 1 to October 1 season, although many anticipated they would be private. Several cabins have been remodeled and facility updates are continuing. According to Shantel Kerbs, “The gate at North Beach will remain open during operating hours and both resorts will be fully open to the public. There is deli food at both resorts, plus scooped ice-cream, and espresso at North Beach only. We sell various ice-cream options at South Beach such as king cones, ice cream sandwiches and Spiderman ice cream bars that the little kids always love. During open season, a limited menu, including hamburgers and ice cream are available at the restaurant building at North Winona Beach. The goal is to re-open the restaurant eventually, and the team has some great ideas for that once the major property restoration is completed. We want to be an inviting extension of our community, to build a healthy relationship and create a safe and fun environment for family and friends to continue making positive memories generation after generation,” Kerbs said.
When a four-year regular guest, Steve Meisner, was asked how he felt about the changes, he spoke very highly of the new management and the consolidated transition. “I feel the staff is very friendly and customer oriented. They’ve been upgrading cabins and fixing the store; and overall, it’s a change for the better. The Resort manager, Brook Weisner, is a hard-working guy and goes above and beyond to help wherever needed. I’ve shopped at resorts around the Northwest, and Winona Beach Resorts are very affordable. They are family-oriented and have a fun environment.”
Another regular at Winona Beach Resorts has been Nick Stanford who said, “I love Winona Beach [Resort] – it’s a magical place. I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, and to be honest we are a very close-knit group of seasonal folks, so it was scary when we saw the change of ownership and the resorts become public. But they have been cleaning things up nicely and it has never looked better. I cannot say enough about Brook Weisner, the manager, who has been doing a fantastic job taking care of things. He works well with all the people, long-timers and new, and makes sure things run smoothly.”
Recreational activities include: boating, fishing, swimming, camping, ATV trail sightseeing, nearby golfing, farmer’s markets, and local sites to visit. Fifteen new lakefront cabins will be available this summer, plus nine additional RV sites on the fourth tier across from Winona Beach Resort. The previous owner’s three-bedroom home at North Winona is now an Airbnb and available for reservations online.
To enhance the lake fishing experience for everyone, a Fish Pen Program is on-site and stocked with 30,000 fingerling rainbow trout every winter. A Washington State grant provides 96 x 40-pound bags for feed. Once five of the trout are at one pound weight, typically mid-April, all 30,000 are released into Waitts Lake. Trophy-size fish, including trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, and largemouth bass have been caught out of the lake. Winona Beach Resorts, nestled in the hills, trees and quiet rural communities of South Stevens County, Washington, provides a unique family-friendly lakeside recreational experience.
More information and reservations are available at winonabeachresort.com. You can also reach the resorts with questions or to make reservations by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (509) 937-2231.