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Thursday, December 10, 2009

NCNP 101 - A History Lesson: Thunder DAM??

Just imagine... the canyon of Thunder Creek where it met the Skagit had already been drowned under the Diablo reservoir, creating "Thunder Arm" and forever silencing the namesake thunder of the creek. Then in the early 60s, City Light and others were actively planning to raise Ross Dam and further flood the upper Skagit valley, drowning Big Beaver's ancient forest (more on that in a future post).

AND plans were underway to build a new dam on Thunder Creek, just upstream of where it meets the Diablo reservoir, drowning Thunder's ancient forest! In fact, it wasn't just going to be submerged, it would have been logged before the dam was built! (Brilliant, eh? "Cut and sell the trees, then dam up the valley!" Where have we heard this one before?)

Note the original photo caption below refers to it as "1,500 acres of commercial timberland." (Click photo for enlarged view.) This was the same treatment given to the upper Skagit for Ross Dam/Lake: "Cut it down, dam it up!"

The artist's conception published in the Federal Study Report of 1965 (left) shows what this disaster would have looked like. Thanks to N3C, this project, as well as High Ross, were stopped in their tracks.
Photo issustration above: The North Cascades Study Report, 1965, USGPO

BUT - look at the map below... the blue color of the National Park at Thunder Creek today (circled) still has a big "dip" where Ross Lake NRA is shown in purple, going around this phantom reservoir (and all of Ruby Mountain, too*)! Why is that boundary bump still there today? Does it matter? Well, you bet it does: NRA is NOT the same as National Park, and the ancient forest of Thunder Creek deserves National Park protection now as much as it ever did!

(Click the maps above for a closer look.)
Lower map courtesy DeLorme TopoUSA

American Alps will bring permanent National Park protection to lower Thunder Creek's ancient forest. Join us!

*Ruby Mountain was to have had an aerial tramway built on it, in the original, more developed National Park plan.

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