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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Building New History in Wilderness

Wilderness Watch recently alerted its members to the U.S. Forest Service’s (FS) newly constructed Green Mountain “Lookout” in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in Washington’s North Cascades (and also mentioned a number of other outlaw projects we’re dealing with).

It was built with freight helicopters and power tools along with a healthy dose of arrogance. It’s actually not intended to serve as a lookout: the last time a person manned a lookout in the area was the early 1970s. No, this was built to be a visitor center of sorts, complete with its resident ranger leading nature hikes, and directly contrary to the legal mandate that there be no structures or installations in Wilderness. 
Read more here:
Note: N3C takes a special interest in Glacier Peak Wilderness, as it worked for and succeeded at getting it designated even before the Wilderness Act itself was passed. Also, had N3C's original North Cascades National Park proposal been accepted, the G.P. Wilderness would have been included in the Park. N3C also worked to expand GPW in 1984 - these expansions included Green Mountain.

Why the USFS would choose to rebuild this lookout by helicopter is mysterious, since the trail is currently cut-off from vehicle access by a washout at the 12-mile point on the Suiattle River road. The trail itself has probably gotten only minimal if any maintenance. So who were they thinking would come up and see this? Recent trail online reports indicate " Overgrown ... Road to trailhead inaccessible." We can sure imagine more sensible ways to spend money than rebuilding inaccessible lookouts using illegal methods. Makes ya wonder.

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