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Monday, November 30, 2009

Irate Birdwatcher DVD now on sale!

Our friends at Crest Pictures just released their latest film The Irate Birdwatcher. It's all about wilderness preservation as told in the words of Harvey Manning, the legendary Northwest conservationist, co-founder of N3C, and prolific author (famous for the 100 Hikes series and the mountaineering bible Freedom of the Hills).

Tom Hammond says:

We had a great turnout at both screenings of the Birdwatcher .. and lots of folks wanted to buy the DVD right there on the spot. Unfortunately, we didn't have it to sell yet. But, we do now and need to reach all those people again who were interested in purchasing it .. plus anyone else!

The movie is most inspiring ... following the man through decades as he unveils the beauty of Washington's wildest places, and discovers the need to stand up and fight for their survival. This DVD would make a perfect gift for any outdoor enthusiast and nature lover.

Here's a video of some excerpts:

If you'd like to buy a copy (or more) you can shop for it here:

Read more about the film at:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Field Guide on AmAlps website updated

The American Alps "Field Guide" web page is newly updated with a collection of web links for park visitors to orient themselves for a visit. Also the text was edited a bit. See what you think!
Scroll down the page for the list of links...

Send us the links to North Cascades websites you like, and we'll add them to the list! Use the "Comments" function here or email them to:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks for Wild Places

We could certainly think of a few places to add to this list, but The Wilderness Society's blog had a great entry yesterday they call "Giving Thanks for Special Places." It's worth a read. And feel free to enter your comments below on wild places you're thankful for in the North Cascades!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NCNP 101 - A History Lesson

Original Park Proposal Map Shows Founders Intended More Complete Protection

The Sierra Club published The Wild Cascades: Forgotten Parkland in 1964 (text by Harvey Manning, a lifetime member of N3C). It was an advocacy piece for the establishment of North Cascades National Park (NCNP), one of those large "exhibit format" books that Sierra Club published over the years, seen on many a coffee table.

In the back was a map supplement showing the proposed boundaries of the new Park. Here's a portion of that map, showing what became the area covered by the current National Park and National Recreation Areas:

(Click this thumbnail to see a larger image of it in a new window. Click your browser's BACK button to return here.)

There was no Ross Lake NRA in the proposal, so the protected Park boundaries go to the shore of Ross Lake. The protected area does open up below Diablo, presumably due to City Light's Skagit Hydro Project. At the time, City Light was looking at flooding more of the Skagit and its tributaries, but this is no longer the case, so the Park will come down to Ross Lake on the west side as part of American Alps.

Further south, the original Lake Chelan NRA proposal included a big buffer area up the east side of what is now NCNP's South Unit, and highway SR20 and the Granite Creek valley were inside the Park, up to the passes. The north end of Baker Lake and its eastern shore were entirely within the proposed protected area. All of these are in accordance with American Alps.

So you can see how many of the areas now proposed by the American Alps initiative to "expand" the Park and associated Wildnerness were really part of the original proposal. All the more reason to complete the Park, more in accordance with the vision of the founders!

For a detailed story of all the twists and turns on the road to NCNP, pick up a copy of
Wilderness Alps: Conservation and Conflict in Washington's North Cascades by Harvey Manning, at the N3C Web Store.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holden Mine Cleanup update

Norman Day, the the Holden Mine Remedial Project Manager for the USFS in Wenatchee, wrote recently that the current proposal by Intalco (the mining company currently held responsible) known as Alternative 13M will be released when the full Proposed Cleanup Plan is released, in "early 2010." When it's released, the public will only have 30-60 days of open comment period, during which time 4 public meetings will be held, Day said. He referred to the USFS website on the cleanup, but admitted it hadn't been updated since this summer.

  • We will announce the release of the Proposed Cleanup Plan when it comes out, so you can begin making formal comments. Until then, see the end of this post for the address to send your letters to now.

<< Aerial view of the Holden Mine tailings, deep within an enclave of Glacier Peak Wilderness near Lake Chelan, during the last years of the mine's operation in the late 50s. All of these tailings remain today, leaching toxics.

Meanwhile, maps of Alt 13M's plans for the Holden Village vicinity are being handed-out at open presentations at Holden Village, whose representatives continue to actively negotiate with Italco and the Agencies with the stated goal of achieving the best outcome for Holden Village, including infrastructure improvements and reduced "down-time" for the religious/resort operation. The map shows 13M plans to re-route the creek, which would involve cutting down some old trees in the riparian zone.

We would encourage you to write to Mr. Day and express your concern that he, acting on behalf of the general public, exercise due diligence to see to it that the best environmental outcome is achieved.

Write to:
Norman F. Day
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Or call:
Holden Village has their own site about the mine cleanup. Go there and listen to Norm Day make a presentation to Holden about the remediation plan last summer. He says more here than in his official correspondence, and gives you a feeling for Holden's priorities.

See article "The Holden Mine Cleanup Problem" published in the Spring '09 issue of The Wild Cascades for further background on this issue.

[Image above from David Brower's film "Wilderness Alps of Stehekin" ca. 1957]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forest Service Releases EA on Whitechuck River Road

<< Change is the only constant in the Whitechuck valley.

The Forest Service has released an Environmental Assessment for rebuilding the Whitechuck River road in the Darrington Ranger District. Readers may remember previous articles in The Wild Cascades describing the effects of the major 2003 washouts, which totally erased substantial sections of the road, especially its lower reaches. The Whitechuck valley has been a conservation priority ever since the Everett Mountaineers attempted unsuccessfully to spare the valley from the railroad logging which began in its lower reaches in 1927. The road should not be rebuilt, but instead converted to multiuse non-motorized trail. See...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan posted for comment!

Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) just posted the Reiter Forest recreation management plan for public comment:

The DNR says:
DNR would like to hear from you about the findings and recommendations in the draft Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan. In conjunction with the public review of the plan, DNR is also conducting an official State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process. The public comment period runs from November 10 through December 4.

Refer to current and past issues of The Wild Cascades for background on this issue, at the N3C website:

Friday, November 6, 2009

National Parks Receive Funding Increase

From National Parks Conservation Association:
With help from national park supporters like you over the past several months, the National Park System has just received a significant increase in funding for 2010. Last week, President Obama signed a $32.2 billion Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for the 2010 fiscal year. In this bill, the National Park Service (NPS) received $2.7 billion--roughly $218 million above the 2009 funding level!

Presentation at Mountaineers a success

Tom Hammond reported Thursday:
"I gave a (10 min) presentation at the Mountaineers last night. There were more than 150 people in attendance. I brought about 100 AmAlps brochures, and about 40 NCCC brochures (all I had), and all were gone at the end of the evening...

Again, a smashing success."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teanaway sub-area plans on hold

The grass in a meadow along Teanaway Road east of Cle Elum waves in the afternoon breeze in a Daily Record file photo. Brian Myrick / Daily Record

ELLENSBURG — An Ellensburg Police Department investigation into the disappearance of public documents has prompted the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners to temporarily suspend the Teanaway sub-area planning process.

The commissioners — Alan Crankovich, Mark McClain and Paul Jewell — announced the suspension of the sub-area planning process Tuesday.

“The commissioners are just int
erested in maintaining an open, transparent process and that’s why we suspended it,” said Jewell, who has attended all of the sub-area planning process meetings. “The county is very much interested in maintaining the transparency and integrity of the process, and we want to make sure it’s not undermined. We need time to figure out what’s going on here and to determine if and when we can move forward.”

[Full article:]

From: Ellensburg Daily Record - Thursday, November 5, 2009 12:23 PM PST

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blanchard Mountain Back in Court

The Chuckanut Conservancy and N3C won a court ruling against DNR last year over its plans to build miles of logging roads and increase logging on Blanchard Mountain. The agency appealed the decision before new lands commissioner, Peter Goldmark, took office. We have asked Goldmark to place the appeal on hold while we negotiate a settlement. He has not been willing to do that and is pursuing an expensive court battle. The appeal goes to hearing in November. Blanchard Mountain is within the largest remaining block of maturing coastal forest left in the greater Puget Sound region. Twenty miles of trails attract tens of thousands of hikers each year. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail passes through the heart of Blanchard Mountain. We need your help to defend our lower court victory! For more info or to contribute, please contact us at or