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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reiter Forest update - Motorized trail plan ready for public review under SEPA

Reiter Foothills Forest Update banner

DECEMBER 20, 2010 

Motorized trail plan ready for public review under SEPA

In last week's issue of the Reiter Foothills Forest Update, I mentioned that the proposed motorized trail plan would soon be ready for the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review process.

Today, December 20, the review process officially begins and runs through January 31, 2011.

During the SEPA review process, you will have the opportunity to provide your comments on the motorized trail plan.

Due to the upcoming holidays, we have scheduled extra time on the review and comment period to give you adequate time to participate in the process.

To learn more about how you can review the relevant documents and maps and comment on the proposed motorized trail plan, visit DNR's SEPA web page

Read more in our news release about the SEPA review process.

For more information, contact:
Candace Johnson
Assistant Region Manager, State Lands
Northwest Region
Washington State Department of Natural Resources

DNR logo

Monday, December 20, 2010

S. 303 nears critical vote! Alpine Lakes additions and Illabot Creek in the balance.

As some of you may be aware, Senator Reid introduced an omnibus public lands bill last week that included Alpine Lakes additions and, the Illabot W&S river bill.  With little time left in this Congress and still needing a vote in the House because they're now in a package, prospects are getting slim but we haven't given up hope of getting it passed.

Word has it that Senator Reid is not getting enough calls in support to actually push it ahead on the very tight remaining Senate calendar and if it doesn't pass THIS Congress, God only knows what will happen, if anything, next Congress.  So if we call OUR senators, the hope is that will spur some action.  Of course, you can always call Senator Reid's office as well but I don't know how much that helps since he's not our Senator.  Best to call the DC offices because that's where the action is as we speak.  The bill number is S. 303

Call today, even if its only to leave a message!

Senator Murray (202) 224-2621
Senator Cantwell (202) 224-3441

Senator Reid (202) 224-3542

Friday, December 10, 2010

The "small hydro" gold-rush begins in earnest - help us save Barclay Creek

Barclay Creek is a pristine west-side creek flowing out of Barclay Lake into the Skykomish River at about the town of Baring. As anyone who's been to the popular Lake knows, the creek valley up to the end of the road was logged in the 50s but a respectable stand of 2nd growth has grown back and the creek itself has never been tampered with.

Now the small-hydro industry has it in their sights to divert some portion of the creek flow into turbines.

NCCC has joined other major environmental organizations as American Whitewater, Hydropower Reform Coalition, American Rivers, Alpine Lakes Protection Society, and The Mountaineers in a MOTION TO INTERVENE IN OPPOSITION to the Commission’s November 9, 2010 Notice of Acceptance for the Barclay Creek Preliminary Permit Application.

You can read the permit application here:

Other permits were recently filed for similar projects on Ruth, Swamp and Martin Creeks in the North Cascades. The gold-rush has begun. Let's work together to keep our pristine watersheds.

Marc Bardsley, President of NCCC, made the following comments in the Winter 09-10 issue of The Wild Cascades:
Small-scale hydro projects that many consider to be “green” are in fact likely to be developed in our more undeveloped mountainous areas, particularly near existing power transmission lines. The necessary construction of roads, power-line corridors, and unavoidable aquatic impacts, etc., is certainly a threat to our pristine forests. Due to changing climate, there is likely to be a large demand for water impoundments for crops, primarily east of the Cascade crest, and
for drinking water reservoirs in the western areas near urban developments (think Middle Fork Snoqualmie). In fact, a proposal for a dam on the Similkameen River just east of the Pasayten Wilderness is now being circulated.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

North Cascades Highway avalanche map

Here's a link to a great photo of the perpetual avalanche areas along the North Cascades Highway, that force its closure every year.

This is the same highway, of course, that state legislators vowed they would never fund if it couldn't be kept open all year long, back in the mid-60s! It was possible to keep it open all winter only one year since it was built- just one year! These days, they're singing a different tune:
We cannot physically keep the North Cascades Highway open all winter. The North Cascades Highway has avalanche chutes that are more than 2,000 feet long. Even if a couple inches of snow slides, the chutes can dump a 20-foot deep avalanche on the highway in a matter of minutes. (The avalanche chutes on Stevens and Snoqualmie are all well under 1,000 feet long.) Couple that with the fact that the highway has among the most avalanche chutes of any mountain pass highway in the country and there's no way anyone could provide a safe highway, short of putting the route in a tunnel (which would eliminate all of its appeal, even if someone had that much money).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Braided River announces North Cascades book/media campaign

North Cascades Campaign

Completing the Vision

The Mountaineers has a long legacy of conservation in the Pacific Northwest.  Beautiful coffee table photographic books published by Mountaineers Books have been held up on the Senate floor, hand delivered to U.S. Presidents during legislative debates, and have been instrumental in galvanizing people to become engaged in public policy debates.


Braided River is raising funds to support publication of a book that will bring the North Cascades alive through vivid imagery and stories. Through citizen activism, Washington’s North Cascades National Park was created over 40 years ago. However, magnificent mountains, lowland old growth forests, and pristine rivers in the North Cascades that many people believe to be inside the national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas remain unprotected.  We must do all we can to protect and preserve these valued lands before they are irreversibly lost to resources extraction, power development, and motorized recreation.

The Mountaineers and other conservation groups aim to finish this work, and expand the park to protect scenic landscapes not included in the original designation.
The book will be just the beginning of a robust campaign that will include events, media, exhibits, and more—all based on magnificent images and stories of this magnificent landscape. The Mountaineers will collaborate with numerous regional grassroots organizations, and plans to craft the book so it will be a useful media tool for the overall campaign. Publication will be in 2011 or 2012.

Contributions to this campaign help us doubly to reach our goal since every dollar donated up to $25,000 is generously matched by the Conservation Committee of The Mountaineers.
 To Donate:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

FYI: North Cascades highway closes for winter

PASS STATUS: Closed for the winter.

Dec. 1: We closed the pass for the winter after finding a foot of new snow at the gates, two feet higher up, several slides and unsafe avalanche conditions.  

Check the closure history page to see when the North Cascades Highway has typically closed the last 30 years.

Be notified when we open the highway in the spring by subscribing to our North Cascades Highway e-mail newsletter.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Special donation appeal letter from Jim Davis

December 8, 2010

Dear Friend of the North Cascades,

Your support has made possible all that NCCC has accomplished in the past five decades.  I would like to thank you for supporting our conservation efforts in the North Cascades.

But now it is time to think about a special end of year contribution to NCCC.

NCCC volunteers and staff have been very active in 2010.  We are asking you to consider whether we have met your expectations?  Have we protected the North Cascades as you expected? 

The American Alps Legacy Project has made major strides in educating Washington residents on the benefits of completing the North Cascades National Park.  Special reports on the biodiversity and economic benefits of park expansion have been published.  Successful visits to Washington DC and tours of the American Alps with congressional staff have captured the attention of elected officials and provided the information they need to take action.

NCCC has also promoted new wilderness and wild & scenic rivers in Washington.  We have insisted that the State Wolf Conservation and Management Plan be based on population biology and not crippling compromises with ranchers.  We have led the charge in protecting Reiter State Forest from off-road vehicles and Blanchard State Forest from chainsaws.  We have advocated a scientific approach to Stehekin River management that thwarts heavy-handed engineering fixes to flooding.

We have even taken time to honor the contributions of one of NCCC’s founding board members, with a big 90th birthday party for Polly Dyer. 

We need your support more than ever in this tough fund raising environment.

Visit the NCCC website ( to make your special contribution to NCCC.  OR, copy the special contribution form  below and paste it into a document on your computer, then print it, fill it out and mail in your contribution.

I also strongly encourage you to consider a bequest to NCCC in your Will.  Your bequest will help assure that NCCC is around in future decades to continue the fight against hydropower, mining, logging, biomass removal, motorized recreation, and many other threats to the North Cascades. 

Jim Davis
Executive Director

Be part of a vibrant grassroots network of advocates
 for protection of the unique lands, waters, plants,
 wildlife, and wilderness of the North Cascades.

North Cascades Conservation Council ---- Special Contribution Form

Name: _______________________________________

Email: _______________________________________

Address: _________________________________________
City/St/Zip: _______________________________________

Suggested Amounts
__ $100
__ $250
__ $500
__ $1,000
__ Other: __________________

Direct My Donation to These NCCC Programs
__ American Alps Legacy Project
__ Wildlife Conservation
__ Forest and Watershed Protection
__ Non-Motorized Recreation
__ Scientifically-Based Park Management

All donations are tax deductible. Please send check and this form to: 
Laura Zalesky, Membership Chair,
 14905 Bothell Everett Highway. #270, Mill Creek, WA 98012

Biodiversity Report updated!

 A significant proportion of the federal lands in the North Cascades provide no protection for wildlife and fish or have only administrative protections that can be eliminated by future federal administrations. The Northwest Forest Plan and the Roadless Area system have not been authorized by Congress and do not guarantee long-term protection from logging, biomass removal, hydropower, mining, off-road vehicles, and hunting. These threats could ultimately prove devastating to some wildlife and fish species. The American Alps Legacy Project has analyzed and identified the potential of more than 300,000 acres of national recreation area lands and national forest lands that, if incorporate into an expanded North Cascades National Park, would guarantee protection for the many species that call the North Cascades their home. This report lays out the scientific justification for expanding the North Cascades National Park.
-From the new version of the Biodiversity Report, just released! Download the full report at:

Friday, December 3, 2010

North Cascades Glacier Documentary in final editing stages

We wanted to call your attention to the good work of our friends at "Glacier Documentary," who accompanied this summer's N. Cascades Glacier Climate Project team. Their documentary's in the editing stages! They could use your help...  

North Cascades Glacier Documentary Promo from Cory Kelley on Vimeo.

You Can Help Us Finish the Film

The documentary has come so far and is looking beautiful. The shooting is pretty much complete and we are full swing into editing. In order to finish the film we need to raise some money.
In August 2010, a crew of filmmakers marched into the rugged, glacier-clad peaks of the North Cascades to shoot a documentary. With heavy packs, the crew covered over 100 miles, and gained over 45,000 vertical feet in almost three weeks. By utilizing new high-definition DSLR video technology, they were able to tell an intimate story in a remote location that was not possible only a few years ago. The preproduction and production was self-funded by the director, Cory Kelley. Now the documentary is ready to enter into post-production. We are now seeking funding to finish the film and find distribution. In many hours of sweeping footage and interviews we have found a unique and interesting story.
Set in the rugged peaks of the Pacific Northwest, the documentary follows Mauri Pelto and his team of researchers as they study and document the melting glaciers of the North Cascades. For twenty-seven years Mauri, a world-renowned glaciologist, has hiked high into the mountains to measure the health of the glaciers and forecast their future. With striking cinematography the viewer is transported to a place where glaciers cover mountainsides, and cling to cracks on large peaks, hanging on to the edge of survival. As the glaciers change and disappear, questions over the future of the habitat in the region and world are raised. Uncertain times come into focus as we look to the future of the glaciers and what that may mean for us.
To make things a little bit easier on doners, we are proud to announce that the Glacier Documentary is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of the Glacier Project may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mt Baker Club signs-on to American Alps!

Look for a new logo on the AmAlps website soon!
FYI, I mailed the Mt Baker Club's letter of support to you in today's mail. 


Mel Monkelis
Executive Director
Whatcom Events
Home of the World Famous Ski to Sea Race
PO Box 2011, Bellingham, WA  98227
Phone-360-746-8861 / Cell-360-739-9426
Movie: The Mountain Runners-History of the 1911 Mt Baker Marathon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Local News | Eagles make Skagit River a year-round rafting site | Seattle Times Newspaper

Here's a great example of how an area's economy can transition from resource extraction to eco-tourism, for sustainable year-round benefits:

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, November 22, 2010

Betty Manning steps down as editor of TWC

N3C announces with regret that Betty Manning, The Wild Cascades journal editor, is stepping down! She and Harvey Manning pioneered Cascades conservation. We've convinced her to stay on in an emeritus role for the next few issues. But wish us luck without her! There's only ONE of you, Betty! THANK YOU!! Anyone with memories of Betty, post them here as comments for the next issue's feature on her legendary career. 

Here she is, pictured with the other members of our editorial committee who will SOMEHOW have to take over a lot of her role in future issues! 

L-R: John Edwards, Betty Manning, Tom Hammond, Pat 
Hutson, Rick McGuire, Phil Fenner

She did agree to play an "emerius" role for a while longer...

We discussed some possible changes to the format of the journal, and one change in particular involved soliciting more writing from the general N3C membership and the public. So please consider writing something for us -- a trip you took, your opinion of any ongoing environmental issue affecting the North Cascades, or some art or photography or poetry you'd like to share in The Wild Cascades! Just email:

Additional Public Meetings Scheduled for Draft Stehekin River Plan (U.S. National Park Service)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TWC Summer/Fall 2010 issue - now online!

The journal of the North Cascades Conservation Council, our parent org --> some adventure, plenty of advocacy and a bit of outrage!

  • President’s Report — Marc Bardsley
  • A special contribution to the NCCC would help
  • Saving the Cascades with social media — Philip Fenner
  • Forest Service proposes Illabot road decommissioning — Rick McGuire
  • Viewpoint: Into the wilds with iceaxe, cellphone and GPS — John S. Edwards
  • American Alps Biodiversity Report released — Jim Davis
  • Researching biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics in our American Alps — Phillip Zalesky
  • More news from Reiter Forest — Karl Forsgaard
  • Finney AMA Plan disappoints — Rick McGuire
  • Margaret Miller returns to Cascade Pass — Tom Hammond
  • Joe Miller — American Hero — Tom Hammond
  • Suggested Revegetation Practices — Margaret M. Miller and Joseph W. Miller, prepared for the National Park Service June, 1977
  • Bumping Lake ancient forest — One of a kind — Brock Evans
  • North Cascades Glacier Climate Project — Tom Hammond
  • Stehekin road tour with Senator Cantwell — Jim Davis
  • PCT border crossing warning — Richard M. Graham, Jr., U.S. Border Patrol
  • Books and video available
  • NCCC membership application

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Veterans Day photo album

I'd add to my thoughts on and thanks to Veterans with this:

These images feature some great interplay between atmosphere and land form, the conditions and low-angle sun made for some spectacular lighting/easy photos. Read the captions--they tell the story.

Water is everything. It's molecular structure resonates throughout all of us. I so enjoy being immersed in Water!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Freedom

N3C's Tom Hammond writes:

"I'm into numbers. In computer talk, today is 101111. Next year will be 111111. Any way you cut it, I am keenly aware of two holidays and try to celebrate freedom as only the Hills can provide--freedom in part paid for by the service of so many people here and gone, near and far. Memorial Day and Veteran's Day may mean war movies to some, but to others, they mean a chance for peace and quiet, effort and reflection.
"I went to a place I haven't been in eight years, the headwaters of the Snoqualmie River--the South Fork to be exact. This cirque--below Chair Peak and The Tooth. with Snoqualmie Peak on the North, is about a mile from a major ski resort. Fortunately, there was just enough snow to keep the crowds at bay (there're no skiers yet, but scores of hikers, as I found out on my hike down--a word to be said for an early start). Anyway, I went up there to pay my respects and celebrate the efforts of so many, and the fate and blessings which have delivered me to a life in the most advanced nation on the planet (still). Within an hour's drive of two million people, I enjoyed a sometimes sunny, sometimes socked in world of delight, the first snows of winter (the second actually, the first melted off), thankful for the opportunity.
"We live in a very special place, not just the United States, but the Pacific Northwest. There is something to be said for taking care of our headwaters--this is what the good life is all about. I know many veterans who would agree with me, and many, many more who have no concept of this place. I thank them all just the same."
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

North Cascades Youth Leadership Conference

What: High school youth who have participated in environmental programs through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and North Cascades National Park will meet to enhance leadership and communications skills, connect with service learning opportunities, and learn about natural resource career opportunities with regional service organizations.  

When: Nov. 12, 2:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 13, 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Nov. 14, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Who: Total of about 50 youth, North Cascades Institute, Student Conservation Association, International District Housing Alliance, National Park Service and US Forest Service

Where: North Cascades Environmental Learning Center at the North Cascades National Park

Directions: North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is located approximately 65 miles east of Burlington, Wash. (Exit #230 on I-5). You’ll travel east on Highway 20 through Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Marblemount and Newhalem to milepost 127. Turn left onto Diablo Dam Road and proceed over the dam approximately one mile to the Learning Center.

Contact: Coordinate in advance with Amy Brown, 360.854.2582,

What N3C is working on

NCCC (The North Cascades Conservation Council) is working on more numerous, promising, and important issues than at any time in its past 51 years. Fortunately, we have a talented board of directors vitally interested in each and every issue.

The classic N3C logo, a sketch of Glacier Peak from Image Lake.
The Glacier Peak Wilderness was one of the first major accomplishments of N3C.

The following would be included among these issues:
  • Promoting expansion of North Cascades National Park with the American Alps Legacy Project.
  • Leading efforts to establish/add to three new Wilderness Areas (Seven Rivers, Alpine Lakes additions, Mt. Baker Wilderness additions).
  • In the forefront of efforts to support wildlife conservation with keystone issues being to retain the small number of gray wolves coming into eastern Washington and to protect hte few grizzly bears in the northeast Cascade Mountains.
  • Promote environmentally sound motorized recreational use in wild areas, where irresponsible use is threatening fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Taking step to stop damaging timber sales, protect old growth trees and pushing to remove unnecessary roads.
All the above issues require your support! Join us by going to our new member page:

YOUR membership in N3C entitles you to receive our journal The Wild Cascades, by mail before it's available to the public on the web, and to a 20% discount on the purchase of our book Wilderness Alps: Conservation and Conflict in Washington's North Cascades, by Harvey Manning and N3C (

N3C maintains very low overhead, with no office, and only the salary of a part-time Executive Director. So your contribution goes straight to where it's most needed.

But most of all, your membership supports our efforts to save an enduring legacy of the American landscape, second to none.

To protect and preserve the North Cascades' scenic, scientific, recreational, wildlife and wilderness values.

Eastside Audubon signs-on!

"Eastside Audubon board voted last night in favor of signing on to the American
Alps Legacy project. We ... definitely support your efforts. We also put an article about your project in our November newsletter which will be coming out soon.

Best of luck to you and thank you for all of the work you are doing!"

-Cindy Balbuena
Eastside Audubon President


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Presentaions in Bellingham this weekend

The Bellingham Herald reports:
Backers of a proposal to expand North Cascades National Park - perhaps by some 304,000 acres - will speak in Bellingham in the coming days.
Called the American Alps Legacy Project, the initiative is led by the North Cascades Conservation Council, The Mountaineers and other partners. They said it would complete the conservation and historical vision for the park, which was created on Oct. 2, 1968.
The free talks are:
• 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, Communications Facility Room 105 at Western Washington University. Part of WWU's Huxley College of Environment Speaker Series.
Details: Patrick Buckley at 360-650-4773 or
• 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, in the community room at REI, 400 36th St. Organized by the Mount Baker Club.
Details: Janet Salo at 360-734-6602 and or on the project's Facebook page.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bumping Lake ancient forest threatened!

Brock Evans writes an article for the upcoming edition of The Wild Cascades, the journal of N3C, exposing plans to flood and destroy a unique remnant of our ancient forest at Bumping Lake, east of Mt. Rainier.
Even as this is written, a “Work Group,” under the aegis of the federal Bureau of Reclamation, and composed of irrigation districts, federal and state agencies, country commissioners, a “dam storage alliance” led by former Congressman Sid Morrison . . . and — rather shockingly to me — only one conservation organization, is meeting to decide whether or not they
will recommend to Congress a very large and expensive “Yakima Basin Enhancement Project,” consisting of several large and very costly dams and related projects. One of the proposals currently in the Work Group discussion draft is the “Bumping Lake Enlargement (BLE ).”’s time to fight back — hard. And this time around, finally enshrine this natural masterpiece where it truly belongs...
It's an outrage. And there's a lot more to it... If you're an N3C member, you can read the full article when your copy arrives in the mail soon. If not, JOIN N3C now so you can get your future copies before they're released to the general public on the web. Then check back at the N3C website and read the full article in a couple of weeks when the current issue is online.

At the end of the article, there's a footnote with some web links. We found errors in them, and wanted to give you the correct links. Those without current memberships (yet) can also read more about this issue here:

Bureau of Reclamation:

Sierra Club statement:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Karl Forsgaard speaks on the “Lessons from Reiter” this Saturday

On Saturday morning Karl Forsgard of N3C will be speaking on the “Lessons from Reiter” panel at the Washington State Trails Conference, in Tacoma.  On the panel, Lisa Anderson will present DNR’s view, Charlie Preston will present the motorized view, and Karl will present the non-motorized view (with about 100 slides). For info about the conference:  There's more about the situation at Reiter Forest in the latest issue of The Wild Cascades, at (on page 8).

Wild Sky peaks Gunn, Merchant, and Baring from upper end of Mainline road, Reiter Forest. —Karl Forsgaard photo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Biodiversity Report - printing help sought

We need to get paper copies of our Biodiversity Report into the hands of a lot of people, soon. Sure, we sent out lots of e-links to the PDF, but you and I know how much more effective paper can be (for better or worse). And N3C is supported ONLY by its members, so here's an appeal -- we'll put your contribution to immediate and very powerful use, printing and mailing copies of our Bio Report to decision-makers this Fall! If by chance you own a print-shop we would also be grateful for your donation "in kind!"
Please email and let us know who you are, and we'll get right back to you!

(PS, here's the link to the PDF:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bull trout

Here's one fish species that needs protection, esp in the North Cascades, and this video is well worth the 3 minutes to make you smart on Bull Trout!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Biodiversity matters!

Biodiversity conservation in the North Cascades is at the heart of the American Alps Legacy Project. 

Fortunately, it's fully compatible with outdoor recreation and local economic benefits! We urge you to read this report to learn why biodiversity matters here so much, and how the Project will greatly improve this situation for many species. 

One key: "low elevation habitat!"
To download the report in PDF format, click on the following link:  (Allow a minute, even on a high-speed connection, the color photos take some time...)

And for more information on the American Alps Legacy Project (including recreation and economic benefits), please visit the American Alps Legacy Project website at:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall issue of "The Wild Cascades" released to members

N3C members will start receiving the Summer/Fall issue of TWC in the mail soon! The highlights:

Saving the Cascades with social media — Philip Fenner
Forest Service proposes Illabot road decommissioning — Rick McGuire
Viewpoint: Into the wilds with iceaxe, cellphone and GPS — John S. Edwards

A merican Alps Biodiversity Report released — Jim Davis
Researching biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics in our American Alps — Phillip Zalesky
More news from Reiter Forest — Karl Forsgaard
Finney AMA Plan disappoints — Rick McGuire
Margaret Miller returns to Cascade Pass — Tom Hammond
Joe Miller — American Hero — Tom Hammond
Suggested Revegetation Practices — Margaret M. Miller and Joseph W. Miller, prepared for the National Park Service June, 1977
Bumping Lake ancient forest — One of a kind — Brock Evans
North Cascades Glacier Climate Project — Tom Hammond
Stehekin road tour with Senator Cantwell — Jim Davis

Join N3C to be the first to get your copy, before general web distribution!

Friday, October 8, 2010

New gates on North Cascades Highway

Hi all,
We just finished up installation of two new closure gates on the North Cascades Highway.  They’re not for use during the winter – those gate locations are determined by elevation, roadway design and lots of other things.  The new gates are there for dealing with a mud or rock slide or possibly even a forest fire during the months the NCH isn’t closed by snow.  (We’ve had several such events over the past few years.)
The rub has been that using the winter closure gates to close the highway in the summer cuts off access to lots of trailheads and campgrounds.
The new gates are on either side of the area west of Rainy Pass where we’ve had those “summer” slides.
The new eastbound gate is at MP 146.75, about 13 miles further east than the winter closure gate at MP 134.  It means that from the west side, you will have access to trailheads at East Creek, Canyon Creek, Panther Creek, Eastbank and Happy Creek.
The new westbound gate is at MP 156.7, just west of Rainy Pass.  From the east side, that opens 14 miles of highway and access to the Washington Pass Overlook and trailheads or campgrounds at Lone Fir, Cutthroat Creek, Blue Lake, Bridge Creek and Rainy Pass.
This has been kind of an “under the radar” effort.  Winthrop city officials wanted it and so did the Forest Service, but they didn’t have any available funding.  WSDOT’s NW region and NC region maintenance administrators scraped together $13,000, which would cover the costs, if we did everything ourselves.
Over the last few weeks, our bridge crew got the materials and built the bases and gates and signs at our shop in Wenatchee.  They installed the bases a couple weeks ago (some of you e mailed asking me what we were doing) and they spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, installing the gates and signs. (It takes some time, even in the summer, for the concrete bases to cure, before they’ll support the weight of the gates.)
Here’s the link to the FlickR page where some pictures of the new gates will be posted soon:
There’s also another new feature on the North Cascades web page – A “Frequently Asked Questions” FAQ page.  (Dustin dug through the last couple year’s worth of e-mail that we’ve gotten and produced a page with all the information in one place.)  Check it out – I’ll bet there are questions there that you hadn’t even thought of yet!
Jeff Adamson  (509) 667-2815
PS: Thank you for the many kind e mails regarding the award WSDOT won for this newsletter.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact
This service is provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation, contact us at
GovDelivery, Inc. sending on behalf of WSDOT · 310 Maple Park Ave SE · PO BOX 47300 · Olympia WA 98504-7300 · 360-705-7000

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reward for bear poachers

Reward offered in killing of two bears in North Cascades National Park

The Humane Society and its Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500
reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those
responsible for illegally killing two black bears off Highway 20 in
the North Cascades National Park.

By Seattle Times staff

The Humane Society and its Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500
reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those
responsible for illegally killing two black bears off Highway 20 in
North Cascades National Park.

On Aug. 28, two hikers on the Maple Pass Loop trail near Washington
Pass saw two adults and two teenagers posing for pictures with two
bears that had been killed, according to the National Park Service.
Park rangers later found one of the dead bears with gunshot wounds.

Hunting is prohibited in the park's boundaries.

Anyone with information can call the park at 360-854-7249.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ross Lake NRA GMP comments

N3C submitted this comment letter on the Ross Lake NRA General Management Plan:
"N3C believes that the current North Cascades National Park boundaries are inadequate for preserving, restoring, and managing biodiversity within NOCA and especially RLNRA."
The best solution is simply to convert most of the NRA to National Park -- hence the American Alps Legacy Project!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ilabot Creek road letter

September 28, 2010
Mr. Don Gay, Project Leader
c/o Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

2930 Wetmore Ave.
Suite 3A 

Everett, WA
RE: Illabot Creek Road Decommission
The North Cascades Conservation Council (NCCC) would like to commend the proposed action of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest regarding the Illabot Road. On behalf of the members and Board of Directors of NCCC, I am writing to express our support for your proposal to decommission over 14 miles of the Illabot Creek road. From the perspectives of resource protection and of economic rationality, it's the right thing to do. We wish other districts on the Forest were willing to entertain similarly bold steps, instead of straining to hold onto roads that are usually not maintained properly, to the continuing detriment of streams, rivers and the wildlife depending on them.
We urge you to decommission the full 14.5 miles. The half-measures suggested as possible alternatives, such as decommissioning only back as far as Otter Creek, while simultaneously attempting to stabilize the remaining open road and replace all significant water crossings with either bridges or much enlarged culverts, strike us as both expensive and as not answering the need for resource protection. The least stable parts of the existing road, with the greatest potential for sediment delivery, are the side-hill miles before the Ilabot Creek crossing. Attempts to stabilize and "stormproof" badly engineered roads on bad alignments in other portions of the Forest, such as FS 41 in the Canyon Creek watershed (Darrington RD), or the Evergreen Mtn road in the Beckler (Skykomish RD) have turned out to be chronic money sinks which should be an embarrassment to the agency.
We are not inclined to shed tears over the fate of bootleg trails that should never have been retroactively added to the official trail inventory. We anticipate, however, that others will not agree with this point of view. One of the things we have noted regarding timber sale or ¨vegetation management¨ EAs, is the inclusion of various kinds of sweeteners to make things go down more easily, such as road decommissions or road-to-trail conversions. Maintenance of the road as a trail is important. A discussion of converting the road to a trail should be included in the documents. Might we suggest that consideration be given to including one or more trails for the recreational interests in the preferred alternative, such as, for example, a short trail off the 1620 system to some viewpoint on the Illabot Peak massif, —an interesting trail which does not require the maintenance of a long, destructive, expensive trailhead road.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project.
Very Truly Yours,
Marc Bardsley, President

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Biodiversity Study released!

The American Alps working group, headed by Jim Davis, has released its Biodiversity Study.
It's available online as a PDF download at:
Your comments are welcome!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Come see us at the Eddie Bauer Outdoors Fest, Sat. September 18th!

Chuckanut Conservancy will have a booth at the first-ever Outdoors Fest in Seattle, hosted by The Mountaineers. Here's a brief line-up:

Workshops, clinics, gear park, climbing wall, food, drink, kids area, book sale, beer garden, and conservation, with special guest Conrad Anker, a Mount Everest veteran and expert on the 1924 Mallory-Irvine expedition.

Come see us!

DNR comment period extended

Update email from DNR (comment period extended thru SUNDAY):  

September 16, 2010

Hi, folks:

We are winding down to the last days of our online forum on recreation. Thanks to everyone who participated! We've had a great response, but still need to hear from folks from all walks of recreation life. We've extended the forum through midnight this Sunday, September 19. You can respond to any of the day's "conversation starters."

Tomorrow's final conversation starter will be about user fees for access to DNR-managed land. Here's the question we will post tomorrow morning:

Friday, September 17 Conversation Starter – User fees

In this week's discussion on recreation, funding has been a continual theme. We've heard clearly that many of you would support:

∙       Restoring NOVA.
∙       Lifting the lid on the fuel tax refund.
∙       Paying a user fee.

As an alternative to further reducing services or closing recreation areas, we'd like to know more about your thoughts on user fees. What do you think is a fair and equitable user fee that would maintain safe and sustainable recreation access on DNR-managed lands?

Mark R. Mauren
Assistant Division
ManagerRecreation, Public Access and WCC ProgramsAsset
Management and Recreation Division
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DNR forum - your comments needed!

This week, the Department of Natural Resources is hosting an online forum to get citizens' views on public recreation. Unfortunately, motorheads are making it appear that they are the only ones who care enough to weigh in.

Please go to the forum website and let DNR know that these lands are important recreation areas where you enjoy getting out on your feet! 

The site lists different topics for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but you can still post comments on any or all of those days' topics.

Enforcement and restoration are important because unmanaged motorized recreation can damage trees, soils and water quality, causing Clean Water Act violations and jeopardizing the State's Habitat Conservation Plan for these lands.  Damage to the trees also damages the revenue stream for our schools and other trust beneficiaries of the State trust lands.  We need to keep our water clean and protect wildlife habitat.  We need to restore areas that have been damaged by motorized recreation.

Unmanaged motorized recreation also drives quiet recreationists off their public lands, which is unfair.  The forests belong to everyone, but nobody has the right to abuse them or ruin the experience of everyone else.  Education and enforcement are part of how we stop abuse of public lands.  DNR needs dedicated funding to keep enforcement personnel on the ground.  Motorized recreation should only be located where resource damage can be avoided, and where the land manager has adequate enforcement resources already in place.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

NYT: Researchers Search Cascades for Grizzlies

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mike McCloskey Joins AmAlps Advisory Committee

Former Sierra Club leader Mike McCloskey accepted our invitation to serve on the American Alps Advisory Committee!
I recently received a letter from Polly Dyer asking me to serve on the Advisory
Committee for the campaign to expand the North Cascades National Park.  This is a
wonderful effort, and I shall be glad to be part of it.  Please list my name on this new
advisory committee.     -Regards,   Mike McCloskey
You can read a short article about McCloskey written in Sierra Magazine at the time of his retirement in 1999 at:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Holden Mine comment period ending soon!

It's as simple as sending in a note like this (state you prefer Alternative 11):

Mr. Norman F. Day
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801-5933

Dear Mr. Day and USFS,
Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Holden Mine remediation action. It is a long time coming, and I am pleased to see the Forest Service finally taking on this challenge.

Please implement Alternative 11. It is the most comprehensive effort, and considering the actions/plan we implement now are supposed to work for two hundred years or more, what we do now is critical. Please don't miss this opportunity to get it right--so many future generations (of humans and every other creature) are counting on us.

I appreciate the concerns of the Holden Village community. Ultimately, placing profits in front of sound policy put us in this situation in the first place. The energy, love, and dedication demonstrated by the Holden Villagers is clear indication they are in no danger of losing their legacy or lifestyle. Indeed, if the remediation is done right this time, they stand to profit for centuries, enjoying and living the benefits of a healthy Railroad Creek.
Thanks for your consideration.

Thomas P Hammond
[snip--removed my full mailing addr and phone]

For background, see the article in our journal last year: The Holden Mine Cleanup Problem (p.4)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback to '08's AmAlps release announcement - updated!

We just re-released our original American Alps Project announcement, updated for the current study areas. Check it out at:

It's a nice, succinct summary of who we are and the worthy landscapes we seek to protect. Let us know what you think! Pass this link along to anyone who asks you about AmAlps!

Monday, August 23, 2010

North Cascades Challenge hike, Part I, photos now online!

Our trans-Cascade hike, the 2010 "North Cascades Challenge" took 2 groups of hikers from the West Fork Methow trailhead all the way to the Cascade Pass Trailhead over the course of 2 weeks! Photos are just in from Part One! The weather and trail conditions were less than ideal but the scenery was pretty darn good nonetheless!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taking Joe Home, Part II

Margaret Miller took her husband Joe’s remains to Cascade Pass on August 14th, 2010. Why would I share this with all of you? Who are the Miller’s and why should any of you or all of you care? Read on…

It is difficult for me to put in words how honored and humbled I am to have been present for Joe’s funeral, and a couple years later, his final return to Cascade Pass. I wish to thank the Buchanan family—Kitty is Margaret and Joe’s god-daughter, and together with her husband Larry and two sons, care for Margaret in her advancing years—Margaret is 88. I also wish to thank Charles Ehlert.

I wrote the below shortly after returning from Tahoma National Cemetary in March, 2008. What I didn’t write at that time was a deliberate omission about some of Joe’s remains. You see, not all of Joe is interred at Tahoma. Joe’s wife Margaret had in mind one final mission for Joe—to lay him to rest at Cascade Pass…

March 28, 2008
Typically I wouldn't write about a funeral, but this is something that must be shared. I went to Tahoma National Cemetary today to pay respects to a true American hero: Joseph W. Miller. Joe served our country in the 1st Battalion of the 20th Engineering Combat Regiment--a combat engineering battalion that first landed at Casablanca and directly engaged Rommel at Kasserine Pass in North Africa. Many of Joe's mates died clearing mines and building the road that enabled the US and Brits to acheive victory there. Then the 20th hit Yellow Beach closely E of Licata on Sicily. Joe helped Patton reach Messina before Montgomery. Then it was on to Omaha Beach, where a landing craft directly in front of Joe's was hit by an 88 and he watched as his comrades disintegrated in front of him. Joe's unit cut through tank traps and mines, and secured one of THE roads that allowed so many Brits, Canadians and US to escape the meatgrinder of those beachheads. Joe and his mates literally built the podium on which the generals stood to celebrate the liberation of Paris. Joe secured the road at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge. Joe's was the first unit to enter Leipzig, and later shook hands with Russians as the forces linked in Czechland.

But Joe would be quick to tell you the greatest victory of his life was helping create North Cascades National Park, and saving Big Beaver Valley from flooding/dams and chainsaws. You see, the reason I was there to pay respects to Joseph W. Miller is that above all he believed preserving our glorious wildlands was his primary mission--he was what some would denigrate as a tree-hugger. Joe was on the board of the North Cascades Conservation Council. Joe and his lovely wife Margaret worked for years volunteering with the National Park to catalog as many lifeforms and ecosystems as possible. They stood before Congress to testify in defense of, and support for the North Cascades, and were key in securing protected status as Wilderness and National Park.
Margaret and Joe spent countless hours replanting damaged meadows, notably at Cascade Pass, and fighting extractive industries hell-bent on making a buck at the expense of our national heritage.
Talk about Homeland Security!
The ceremony was carried out by a full US Army Color Guard, right down to three veterans firing M1 rifles in salute, and another veteran playing taps on a bugle. Young soldiers folded the flag and presented it to Margaret with solemn precision. Fittingly, on this March 28th, it was snowing heavily, turning those acres of graves a pristine white. It couldn't snow hard enough to conceal the tears running down my cheeks.
A true American hero, a son of the United States we all owe a debt to, a giant of a man, has passed. Thankfully, the legacy of clean water, sustainable habitat, and an intact ecosystem will carry on for millenia to come.

This was read at Joe's service, it is reminiscient of a Native American burial rite:
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not here. I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not here...I did not die.

August 14, 2010
Margaret Miller was intent, even adamant that she would carry Joe home—to lay him to rest at Cascade Pass. The only problem: even with the long, high road in to the trailhead, the path to Cascade Pass is about four steep, rocky miles; and Margaret is 88 years old and essentially blind. So the Buchanans (Kitty, Larry, son Ross) rigged up a dual-pole system,
and together with head NPS ranger Kelly Bush, a number of NCCC board members and others, helped Margaret embark upon the hike. I should mention that many board members of the NCCC were there to celebrate the event (as well as an American Alps Legacy Project hike) and carry dozens of native plants to Cascade Pass as part of a re-vegetation program first created by the Millers decades ago. In fact, the National Park Service greenhouse in Mablemount is named in honor of Margaret and Joe! Talk about true patriots and National Heroes!!
Polly Dyer was on hand too—so we had TWO pioneers of conservation in the United States: a 90 year old and an 88 year old ready to tackle Cascade Pass—to visit the National Park they created.
Truth be told I was uncomfortable with Margaret and Polly hiking, but they would not be denied! Polly didn’t quite make the pass, she refused any help or escort. As she noted on the trail—“I’m not quite as fast a hiker as I used to be, but then again you see how fast you are when you’re 90.” Heck, I’ll be lucky to make 90…
Margaret made it to Cascade Pass because of the support of her loving family. God bless and
keep the Buchanans!
I couldn’t believe it. Here was a woman, THE woman that literally created the National Park for ALL citizens of the United States of America, laying to rest her husband, a man who helped allow this great nation to prevail over the forces of corruption perhaps more than ANY single man in US history (and I’m not just talking about WWII battlefields).
The Buchanans had a hard time putting words to the impromptu ceremony. We had all been so focused on getting Margaret up there (including Margaret) that when the time came, it was a bit of a shock. I barely choked out a few words through my tears “Thank God Joe wasn’t laid to rest in Europe, and that he’s here on home soil…”
Margaret scattered Joe’s ashes with the high peaks and glaciers of the North Cascades—timeless sentinels overlooking millions of fortunate people, (most of whom) unwittingly depend on heroes to protect and keep our very way of life.

Getting Margaret down was no easy deal. Larry rigged up a Cleopatra-esque chair/sling arrangement that we perfected as we worked our way down. This allowed us to carry Margaret at a reasonable pace. It would getting dark, and we needed to make better time…
Then the sling broke. Margaret was up to the task, and continued hiking the last couple of miles.
So glad Phil Fenner showed up when he did, cheerfully coming off of Sahale Arm. We got down to the trailhead just as darkness fell. Wow.

Mark these words: thank God Joe wasn’t buried in some European field or beach. He still had so much more to give to our country, and give he did. The legacy of Margaret and Joe Miller is significant and worthy of the great landscape that is OUR NORTH CASCADES.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Park Creek Pass named one of this year's "Endangered Trails" by WTA

Washington Trails Association has named the Park Creek Pass trail in North Cascades National Park an "Endangered Trail" for 2010 due to bridge damage.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Irate Birdwatcher to show at Port Townsend Film Festival

Crest Pictures is proud to announce The Irate Birdwatcher (about Harvey Manning of N3C) has been accepted into the Port Townsend Film Festival to be held on Sept 24-26, 2010. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

N3C Member a Conservation Photo Award Winner!

N3C member-photographer Ethan Welty won an award in Art Wolfe's International Conservation Photography Awards! Read the story in the Seattle Times, and join us in congratulating Ethan, and see more of his North Cascades images at!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Foothills Gazette article on American Alps

The Foothills Gazette published an article on the American Alps Legacy Project recently!

Timelapse movie of Mt. Baker glacier

The Glacier Documentary folks have released a short sample of their timelapse photography from Mt. Baker!

Glacier Documentary Time Lapse Preview from Denny Trimble on Vimeo.

Mountaineers hosts "Outdoors Fest"

Check out the Mountaineers' website for info on their big Outdoors Fest coming up 9/18. Conrad Anker is the special guest!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Margaret made it!

Just a quick update for blog fans who've been on the edge of their seats [... full story and more picstures to follow...]

Margaret Miller, octegenarian heroine of meadow-rehabilitation at Cascade Pass, made it there yesterday with the help of many friends and lots of patience!
The crew also carried more plants up, planted and watered them, as part of carrying-on the legacy she and her late husband Joe started back in the 60s. Here's to you, Margaret!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Outdoor Research to host AmAlps presentation 8.26

Outdoor Research ("O.R.") a manufacturer of high quality outdoor equipment, is hosting an American Alps presentation at their Seattle location in the SODO district of Seattle (2203 1st Avenue South, near Starbucks HQ) on August 26th at 7pm. Snacks and drinks are provided, and a suggested donation of $5 is requested. Here's a sneak preview of the dramatic poster they designed for the event. Click the image for a larger version!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Millers' Revegetation "Bible" from 1977 now online

Who notices that under the Seattle City Light powerlines up the Skagit River valley in the North Cascades you'll see low-growing native plants, not the usual herbicided wastelands under most power lines...? Who to thank? N3C's Joe and Margaret Miller, being celebrated this Saturday at Cascade Pass!

Joe and Margaret's revegetation "Bible" from 1977 is now online, too!

From the introduction:
In the past ten years more and more of us have become increasingly aware of the impact of people on the backcountry of our wilderness areas and parks. This effect is certainly evident in the North Cascades, especially in the choice but scarce alpine and subalpine meadows. In 1970 we were asked to begin a revegetation project on Cascade Pass in the North Cascades National park. In the past this area had been heavily visited and used for camping by both backpackers and horse parties. Its beaten down meadows full of impacted trails, barren campsites, eroded gullies and assorted horrors stimulated us to study and conduct trials of revegetation methods.
Read more of their original report HERE. We're celebrating the legacy of Joe and Margaret Miller this Saturday morning at 10am at Cascade Pass! Margaret herself will be there to help us with our annual N3C "Plant Carry!"

Report from Easton Glacier

Latest field report from the Glacier Climate Project just in! (See previous posts for background)
As we climbed higher, the Black Buttes appeared from the clouds. Hanging below was the strikingly gnarled Deming glacier. Deming is the main water source for the town of Bellingham, but it’s an impassable steep mass of cracking blue ice. As such, surrogate measurements from the Easton are used in order to assess the town’s water supply, underscoring the importance of our work that day.
More at  including a Topo map...

N3C's Jim Davis presents at NCI's “Hikes, Camera, Action!” Film Festival 9/3-5

Our friends at the North Cascades Institute are hosting the "Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival" at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake, Sept 3-5. Here's a short summary of the events. N3C's Executive Director Jim Davis will present our American Alps Legacy Project at the festival on Saturday evening! Here's more about the festival, from NCI...

“Hikes, Camera, Action!” brings together the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival and a weekend chock full of fun in the North Cascades September 3-5 at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake. Information and registration at
The centerpiece of the weekend is the nationally touring film festival showing several environmentally-themed movies on Friday and Saturday nights alongside presentations from local conservation groups. The movies explore issues including Northwest forests, climate change, sustainable agriculture, land preservation in the Flathead River watershed and wise land use planning. During the day, North Cascades Institute offers an array of outdoor activities, including a guided hike to Cutthroat Pass, paddling canoes on Diablo Lake and going on a Skagit Valley farm tour with a Learning Center chef.
Your weekend ticket also includes two nights in our guest lodges, delicious meals made from local and organic foods, access to Learning Center amenities, and naturalist-led learning adventures. A $20 commuter pass, good for dinner and a night of films, is also available for local residents and park visitors. 
Friday night
Ascending the Giants
Join tree lovers and climbers Brian and Will as they attempt to find Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce trees. Through their eyes, from both ground and canopy views, we discover the breathtaking beauty of these beautiful giants.
Going beyond charts and numbers, this new film humanizes the debate on climate change by exploring the delicate balance of winter and the intrinsic value of snow to people across generations and cultures.
A portrait of the Hudson Valley's agricultural beauty and potential, through the lens of a local non-profit that helps communities to save farming.
Division Street
Roads and cars have fragmented wild landscapes, ushered in urban sprawl and challenged some of the bedrock values we once took for granted. But as the transportation crisis spirals out of control, a new generation of ecologists, engineers, city planners, and everyday citizens are transforming the future of the American road. Follow the filmmaker as he tours North America, highlighting sustainable road projects and wildlife corridors for the 21st century.
Conservation partners: Friends of the Forest and the Methow Conservancy
The Secret Life of Paper
Have you ever considered what impacts paper products have on the environment, from beginning to end? The Secret Life Series is a collection of videos that highlight the environmental impacts of everyday products we all use.
Flathead Wild
As a result of mountaintop mining and drilling proposals, Montana’s Flathead River is one of North America’s most endangered. Flathead Wild follows the International League of Conservation Photographers as they descend on the Flathead Valley with local conservation groups and work to get the perfect, iconic image of this amazing place.
Finding Farley
When writer Karsten Heuer and filmmaker Leanne Allison, along with their son Zev and dog Willow, set out to retrace the literary footsteps of one of Canada’s most famous writers, they meant it literally. Their 5000 km trip -- trekking, sailing, portaging and paddling from the prairies to the Maritimes -- rediscovers the people and places that inspired Farley Mowat’s most acclaimed books.
Conservation partners: North Cascades Conservation Council and The Nature Conservancy
Information and registration at We hope you’ll join us for this exciting weekend of independent films, local food, organic beer, Cascadian explorations and community.