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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.

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