Follow by Email

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