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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hwy 20 to Re-open Tomorrow

It's a quaint annual ritual. "Tootsie" leads the caravan in her Cadillac, driving the first car over the passes when the highway re-opens every spring. The Seattle Times reports that her husband and father were life-long advocates for building the highway through then-virgin then-unprotected wild land from their place in Marblemount to Winthrop, culminating in the blasting and paving of a highway through the heart of the Wild Cascades. Of course, without that highway there might not have been an outcry to protect the remaining wild country up there, and maybe there'd have never been a North Cascades National Park. So perhaps we owe one to Tootsie and her forebears.

With the American Alps project we hope soon to "bring the Park to the highway," so perhaps in a few years when you drive over the top, following Tootsie, you can actually say you were in National Park! We think Tootsie would approve.

This from WSDOT:
Hi all,

    Just got the official "word" - The North Cascades Highway will reopen at noon tomorrow, Friday, April 16, 2010!

    The clean up is going well.  There are lots of new pictures and even a couple short "movies" from the helicopter that have been posted on the flickr site. www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157623371473447/

    I notified Tootsie Clark so those of you waiting in line tomorrow at the westside gate will get your cinnamon roll and coffee.

    The reference I made to cinnamon rolls was not understood by some of those who get these e-mails, so here's the story:

    Tootsie Clark, the matriarch of Clark’s Skagit River Resort (near Marblemount), drives her giant old Cadillac up to the west side closure gate near Diablo, opens the trunk and serves fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and coffee to everyone waiting in line for us to open the gate.  It’s a tradition she has been carrying on for at least the 11 years I’ve been associated with the North Cascades Spring Re-openings.

    I'll probably send out one more of these when the gates actually open tomorrow - hopefully I won't need to be sending one anytime soon telling you that it's closed again due to avalanches!

    Have a wonderful spring.

    Jeff Adamson adamsoj@wsdot.wa.gov

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