Follow by Email

Friday, March 30, 2012

John S. Edwards, N3C board member, passes away

We regret to inform you that John S. Edwards, long term board member of NCCC has passed away. 

Click here to view a memorial with photos and biography. He will be sorely missed by his cohorts and friends.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Suiattle road EA public comment period March 18-April 20

Please note the USFS now has an EA out for proposed repairs to Suiattle River road, as requested by NCCC via legal action (that has been mischaracterized as NCCC wanting to "lock people out"). Now that the law of the land is being followed, we're happy to see fiscal responsibility and ecological benefits are a part of the mix, as seen in "Alternative C". While not perfect, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

The public will have March 18-April 20 to comment on the assessment. Email comments or mail them to Federal Highway Administration, 610 East Fifth Street, Vancouver, WA 98661-3893.

See these websites for the EA, as well as other USFS news:

Here we are, measuring some of the trees at risk if re-routes of the washed out areas are overbuilt:

Click  HERE for a photo album of our ground-truthing mission.

Click HERE to read our Fact Sheet in support of Alternative C.

There are smarter ways to reroute the road to minimize impacts on this ancient forest, mostly just by not widening the new sections of road more than necessary. The bypasses don't need to be much wider or have a larger curve radius than the original road did. We don't see building compatible bypasses as "locking everyone out."

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Wild Cascades, winter edition, now online

You'll want to read the latest edition of The Wild Cascades online -- just released at:

In this issue:
  • National Park advocates create new American Alps organization
  • Ross Lake planning
  • NCCC board members bring skills, passion to their work
  • DNR trail planning process effort begins
  • A conversation with Jan Henderson Recently retired Forest Ecologist
  • A walk around Bumping Lake
  • The Bumping Lake tradeaway
  • Strange water bill in Washington State Senate
  • Record of Decision issued for Holden Mine remediation

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Snow report, early March 2012

Tom Hammond reports:
Sorry I've been so out of contact--too busy skiing and working and hiking and working, and...
Anyway, here's what I have:
I made it out skiing for the fifth (or sixth?) time this winter--it's been a month since my last trip. The month of February has been more "normal" in that the storm systems have been more regular--moving through about every third or fourth day, and lasting a couple of days at a time. Snow levels have been pretty regular too, usually around 3,500 feet, bouncing to 5,000 feet occasionally, and down to sea-level a bit too. The bottom line is that this has been a great winter to date--plenty of snow, and prodigious amounts as low as 2,000 feet.
This photo was taken in early Feb:

and this one taken March 2:

This is Big4 picnic area, about 1,900' elevation (yes, those are picnic tables). Water content is variable, and as I noted in early Feb (private email), there are significant strata throughout the snowpack. There is at least one more significant layer that fell/formed in Feb--this one more than a half-meter of snow that was deposed with 50-plus mph winds--an extremely dangerous deposition. Now another half-meter has fallen on top of that, so LOOK OUT. This could/should be a great year for avalanches (unless you are involved in one as more than a spectator)! If the Spring progresses "normally" (cool to mild, snow through April and in to May at elevations at/around 5,000 feet) we should see great mass-balance numbers for the glaciers of the North Cascades again this year. Indeed, all things being equal, this may be the best two year stretch in decades for snowpack/glaciers/water supplies...
Saw a couple of Ouzels--what impressive and wonderful birds. To see them diving in to rushing, ice cold waters and then popping out a few moments later; calmly perching on low, wet rocks really brought home for me just how tough these little creatures are. The mighty Grizzly? Mountain goats? Soaring eagles? I think my favorite is our little friend The Dipper. :-)
Oh, should also note I saw only a dozen or so people, all snowshoeing or skiing. A couple of dogs, and no snowmobiles. More often than not over the past 30 years, there has been little or no snow here throughout the winter. This last photo is how I like to see roads, in this case, the Mountain Loop "Highway"--what a great day of skiing!

Monday, March 12, 2012


An interesting perspective on "collaboration" - a buzzword often heard in the environmental movement these days:

The Wages of Compromise
When Environmentalists Collaborate
Spring is in the air in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  Crocus and daffodil add a splash of late winter color. Trees are budding. Days grow longer, the sun makes a cameo appearance…and, like swallows to Capistrano, the usual suspects cadre of eco-wonks/lawyers return to Eugene and the University of Oregon for the 30th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference   (E-LAW) March 1 – 4, 2012.
“Compromise is often necessary, but it ought not to originate with environmental leaders. Our role is to hold fast to what we believe is right, to fight for it, to find allies, and to adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or our friends to win, then let someone else propose the compromise, which we must then work hard to coax our way. We thus become a nucleus around which activists can build and function.” — David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club. This year PIELC officially celebrates the 100thAnniversary of Brower’s birth.
E-LAW is part employment bazaar for newly-minted attorneys seeking jobs in the ever-expanding (much thanks to E-LAW) field of Environmental Law. It is also part gathering of actual non-paid, in the trenches eco-activists who are the ones who generate the resistance that leads to all those legal jobs. What matters to the job seekers and the already employed panelists who draw a paycheck derived from a cornucopia of foundation-funded groups and what motivates the volunteer or underpaid activists sometimes coincide and sometimes the activists are featured panelists; but, most of the time the disconnect is palpable. Invariably, PIELC becomes living proof of the Upton Sinclair dictum.
“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” —Upton Sinclair

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bumping Lake geography

In past and upcoming issues of The Wild Cascades, we express grave concern about plans to raise the dam at the outlet of Bumping Lake east of Mt. Rainier and inundate some very rare ancient forest. To help illustrate the threat, here are a couple of maps.

First we feature a map drawn by our founder, Patrick Goldsworthy, an old-school cartographer and conservationist if there ever was one! We're proud to continue to feature Patrick's handmade maps in our journal and online. Thanks, Patrick!

Patrick notes on his map that Bumping Lake is adjacent to the William O. Douglas Wilderness, and that the site of Justice Douglas' cabin, Goose Prairie, is just downstream from the lake. Douglas was a tireless advocate for conservation and wrote Of Men And Mountains as a personal memoir of his time in the Cascades, a good deal of it in the Bumping Lake area. He would be appalled to know that the last big trees around his beloved Bumping Lake would fall as part of this water plan. 

Now to a more modern map of the area, (c) DeLorme TopoUSA, highlighting the contour line that represents the area to be inundated if the dam is raised. Most of the land is relatively level on the south shore, part of an alluvial fan, covered with huge east-side ancient forest, very rare and beautiful but outside designated Wilderness or Park, and thus unprotected. In the upcoming issue of The Wild Cascades, we'll take you on a guided walking tour of this forest, so you can see just what will be lost if the dam is raised.

Join NCCC to get your copy of The Wild Cascades by mail first!