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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meet Forest Service officials on August 13, and tell them you want more Wilderness!

THIS SATURDAY August 13 there will be a public meeting in Seattle regarding the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Plan Revision.  The Forest Service is accepting written comments until September 28 on its Proposed Action, but this is the only public meeting that will be held on the west side of the Forest. 

This is the first time in Washington State that the public has had the opportunity to comment on the agency’s Wilderness recommendations through the Forest Plan process.  So it is important to be heard!  

The Wilderness recommendations in the Proposed Action are a good start, but they omit too many iconic wildlands like the Mad River, Liberty Bell, Golden Horn, Cutthroat Pass, the Sawtooth Crest, Nason Ridge and the upper Teanaway. Please tell the Forest Service that you want these places added to the Wilderness recommendations.

At the August 13 meeting, Forest Service representatives will provide a brief presentation about the Proposed Action and the public comment process. You will also have the opportunity to learn more through one-on-one conversations with the land managers. After the meeting, Washington Trails Association and the Mountaineers will be co-hosting a free BBQ.

What: Okanogan-Wenatchee & Colville National Forest Open House & Cookout
When: Saturday August 13, 10 am - 12:30 pm, followed by a free BBQ from 12:30pm - 2:30pm
Where: Magnuson Park, Mountaineers Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle.
Why: Opportunity for the public to get involved in planning forest management for the next 15-20 years, by talking with land managers about what this plan means to you.
For more information on the Proposed Action, including maps of the agency’s Wilderness recommendations, see the National Forest website:

Unfortunately, the Proposed Action does not address snowmobile use.  Please tell the Forest Service to use land allocations or some other mechanism to manage the balance between winter motorized and non-motorized recreation. It would be unacceptable to ignore this growing management issue based on the higher impact technology of these machines and increasing incidence of Wilderness trespass by snowmobiles for the life of this Forest Plan which will be 15-20 years.

We support the Wilderness recommendations that the Forest Service make in its Proposed Action.  These include the Rock Creek portion of the Entiat roadless area, some Pasayten additions, and some Alpine Lakes additions (Cashmere Mtn, Scatter Creek, Beverly Creek).  However, many key areas were omitted from the agency’s Wilderness recommendations.  These areas are worthy for their scenic and ecosystem values.  Critical headwaters of some of the most important rivers in the region should be included in Wilderness, as they provide a livelihood and a quality of life for all residents of the State of Washington. 

If and when you tell the Forest Service about places you want added to the Wilderness recommendations, it is important to state the names of specific places, and if you have personally recreated there, be sure to say so!

We are asking the Forest Service to add the following areas to the Wilderness recommendations:

In the Methow River drainage:
* West Fork Methow River and surrounding peaks, including Mount Hardy, Golden Horn and Holliway Mountain.
* Main stem Methow River, to include Tower Creek, Tower Mountain, Straight Ridge, Cataract Creek, The Needles (Peaks) and Leap Creek.
*Early Winters Creek arm of the Methow River and surrounding peaks, including Liberty Bell, Early Winters Spires, Copper Point, Kangaroo Ridge and the Silver Star massif.  Also Pine Creek, Cuthroat Creek and Cutthroat Peak.
*Cedar Creek, to include those aspects of Silver Star and surrounding peaks.

 Pond Meadow

In the Stehekin River drainage:
*Bridge Creek arm of the Stehekin River to include State Creek, Cutthroat Peak, Whistler Mountain, Stiletto Peak and all areas outside the National Park boundary.

The entirety of the upper Skagit River watershed should be recommended for Wilderness, as this represents the third largest river on the west coast of the contiguous United States and supports some of the largest runs of wild salmon in lower 48 states.  Skagit headwaters include:
* Tower Mountain, Mount Hardy and Swamp Creek.
* Porcupine Creek, Porcupine Peak (Peak 7762), Cutthroat Peak, Whistler Mountain.
* Granite Creek arm of the Skagit River, to include all fronting mountains such as Black Peak, Corteo Peak, Fisher Peak, and NW through Elija Ridge, Panther Creek, Gabriel Peak, Beebe Mountain and associated creeks.
* Canyon Creek, to include Majestic Mountain, Mount Ballard, Azurite Peak, Slate Creek, and Mill Creek.

In the Twisp River drainage and north side of Lake Chelan:
* Copper Point, Lincoln Butte, Twisp Mountain, Hock Mountain, Gilbert Mountain, Abernathy Mountain and Crescent Mountain, to include all of the forks of the Twisp River.
* Sawtooth Crest, Horsehead Pass, Crater Lake, Eagle Lakes, Boiling Lake, Cooney Lake, Golden Lakes Loop, Martin Peak, Safety Harbor Creek, Uno Peak, Foggy Dew Creek

 Whistling Pig Meadow

In the Entiat and Chiwawa River drainages and south side of Lake Chelan: 
*North Fork Entiat River, including Fern Lake, Crow Hill, Graham Mountain and Pyramid Mountain (8,245 feet), the highest peak in the Cascades a hiker can reach by trail. (addition to Glacier Peak Wilderness).
*Entiat River, Myrtle Lake, Duncan Hill (addition to Glacier Peak Wilderness).
*Devils Smokestack, Garland Peak (addition to Glacier Peak Wilderness).
*Mad River country, including Mad Lake, Mad Meadow, Blue Creek Meadow, Whistling Pig Meadow, Marble Meadow, Pond Meadow, Klone Peak, Shetipo Creek, Three Creek, Cougar Mountain (addition to Glacier Peak Wilderness).  In 1990, the Forest Service admitted that the Entiat Roadless Area has “high potential for wilderness [designation] as an individual area or as [an] addition to existing wilderness.”  1990 Wenatchee Forest Plan, Appendix C, at C-139.
*McCall Mountain (addition to Glacier Peak Wilderness)

South of Lake Wenatchee, these lands should be added to the Wilderness recommendations:
* Nason Ridge, Merritt Lake, Alpine Lookout, Rock Mountain  
* Devils Gulch, including Mission Creek
* Icicle Ridge, Chiwaukum Mtns, Lake Ann, West Fork Teanaway, Middle Fork Teanaway, Esmerelda Basin, DeRoux Creek, Bear Creek (additions to Alpine Lakes Wilderness)
*County Creek and Morse Creek (addition to Norse Peak Wilderness)
*Bumping Lake and Deep Creek (addition to William O. Douglas Wilderness)
*Tenday Creek (addition to Goat Rocks Wilderness)

We will post more information here as we approach the September 28 comment deadline.  

Thank you for submitting your comments to the Forest Service!

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