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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 Patrick.Buckley@wwu.edu.
• 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 americanalps.org 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 ).”
...it’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:
http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/yrbwep/2010workgroup/index.html

Sierra Club statement:
http://www.washington.sierraclub.org/uppercol/bumping/lake/dam.html

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: http://www.washingtonstatetrailscoalition.org/  There's more about the situation at Reiter Forest in the latest issue of The Wild Cascades, at http://www.northcascades.org/public_html/TWC-Summer-Fall-2010-web.pdf (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 info@americanalps.org and let us know who you are, and we'll get right back to you!
Thanks!


(PS, here's the link to the PDF: http://www.northcascades.org/American%20Alps%20Biodiversity%20Report%20Final%20Draft.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!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Gz0PcSSV0

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: http://www.northcascades.org/American%20Alps%20Biodiversity%20Report%20Final%20Draft.pdf.  (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: www.americanalps.org.

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!

http://www.northcascades.org/signup.html

Friday, October 8, 2010

New gates on North Cascades Highway


WSDOT Logo
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: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/
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! www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/FAQ.htm
Jeff Adamson  adamsoj@wsdot.wa.gov  (509) 667-2815
PS: Thank you for the many kind e mails regarding the award WSDOT won for this newsletter.


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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

Related
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:

http://www.northcascades.org/public_html/Comments_on_Ross_Lake_NRA_GMP_Sept%20_2010.pdf
"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! www.americanalps.org

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
98201
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