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Friday, November 28, 2014

Urgent Action Alert! New Stehekin road as Hastings "legacy?"

Urgent Action Alert!

New Stehekin road as Hastings "legacy?"

Joel Connelly announced in the Seattle P-I Monday that there's an effort underway to deliver a parting gift to retiring Congressman Doc Hastings by an action directing the National Park Service (NPS) to rebuild the upper Stehekin road. Joel says,

"It hasn’t come together — yet — but the idea is to 'bundle' several bipartisan proposals, and put the bundle into a must-pass piece of legislation such as the pending Defense appropriations bill." 

This appears to be a bundle of other actions, including protecting the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and Illabot Creek and additions to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, which have been pending for some time. A new National Historical Park for the Manhattan Project near Rep. Hastings' base in the Tri-Cities is also included and would be a fitting tribute to him. All of these have merit.

But tossing in a rebuild of the upper Stehekin road with this mix would be a mistake!
MARIA CANTWELL as soon as you can, and tell them not to support this! Either remove the Stehekin Road from the bundle or set aside the whole bundle until these proposals can be separately addressed.

Murray:  206 553-5545
 (202) 224-2621
Cantwell:  206 220-6400
(202) 224-3441

Senators Murray and Cantwell need to hear from YOU that this road is a road to nowhere. The upper Stehekin road connects to no other roads. The people in Stehekin are not asking for it to be rebuilt. Many folks continue to quietly access the upper valley on foot, bike and horseback today, using the old roadbed as a trail. If the old road is repaired it will continue to wash-out in future floods because of the stream's well-documented riverbed aggredation, that's elevating the river bed and forcing the main channel to migrate across the floodplain in high-water events. And if it's rebuilt in a new location to avoid flood damage, there would be a huge impact to ancient forest that has been protected in Wilderness since the 1988 Washington Parks Wilderness Act. That's why NCCC has been consistently opposed to rebuilding and/or rerouting this road.
The National Park Service did a thorough job of analyzing the feasibility of rebuilding the road above High Bridge, with full public comment. NPS's study demonstrated that the reconstruction would be futile, just causing a lot of additional impact on what is now a well-recovered landscape. And it would require changing the Wilderness boundary, because Wilderness surrounds the old road corridor on both sides above High Bridge where the road currently ends.
Rep. Hastings has been an opponent of environmental legislation in his nearly 20-year Congressional career, including Wilderness designations. As recent Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee he has been seeking to roll back the Endangered Species Act. If Congress wants to honor him, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Hanford would be a fine legacy. Don't build an expensive road to nowhere in the heart of the Wild Cascades!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wilderness event at REI this Saturday - NCCC will be there

Explore Washington’s Wilderness:
Where to Go, What to Do, and Why You Should Care
November 15, 2014 - 2:00-5:00PM
REI Seattle Flagship Store

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations. Now is the time tocelebrate all that has been achieved—more than 110 million acres protected across the country and 4.6 million in Washington state—and inspire the next generation of wilderness heroes to discover, explore, and steward these precious lands.

Explore Washington’s Wilderness – Seattle’s Wilderness Celebration
Explore Washington’s Wilderness will bring together a diversity of outdoor enthusiasts to learn about the 3.4 million acres of wilderness that lies at their doorstep, only 100 miles from Seattle, and learn how we can build on our rich wilderness legacy to protect the last great wild places across the state. The event will feature engaging panels of outdoor enthusiasts and wilderness experts and hands-on opportunities to plot your next wilderness experience and learn about why wilderness is importantAttendees will leave the Summit inspired to engage in wilderness—from taking their first wilderness hike to getting involved in advocacy work.

Event Objectives:
• Provide attendees with the knowledge and tools (e.g., where to go, what to do, how to do it) to go out and explore the wilderness areas within 100 miles of Seattle
• Provide attendees with basic knowledge of the opportunities to get involved in nearby wilderness efforts (e.g., trails stewardship, advocacy, etc.)
• Raise awareness of the groups and opportunities involved in the array of wilderness activities (e.g., advocacy groups, recreation groups, volunteer opportunities, etc.)
• Attract and engage a broad and diverse audience beyond the “tradition wilderness advocates” to learn more about wilderness and start cultivating the “next generation” of wilderness heroes

Event Components
• Opening Speakers
• Place-Based Breakout Sessions
• Social Hour (food, drink, trivia, raffle, etc.)
• Tabling (on the terrace)

Opening Keynote Speakers:
We have secured three opening speakers who have a connection to wilderness in Washington state and represent the outdoor enthusiast and explorer, environmental advocate and civic leaders, and the next generation of wilderness leaders. Speakers include:
• Jim Whittaker, Mountaineer/adventurer. Born and raised in Seattle, Jim is visionary business and community leader and a pioneer of the mountaineering community. He is an inspirational speaker who has climbed around the world and is best knosn as the first American to summit Mt. Everest in 1963. He also worked at REI for 25 years, serving as President and CEO.
• Martha Kongsgaard, Puget Sound Partnership, Philanthropist, Environmental advocateMartha has worked as a tireless advocate for social justice and environmental issues and the arts in the region for decades. Her philanthropic and civic leadership has driven countless successful efforts including her current chairwomanship of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council, which she has been committed to since 2007. 
• Juan Martinez, Children and Nature NetworkOne day in high school, Juan was given the life-changing choice between detention or Eco Club. He chose nature and has since devoted his life to getting kids back to the outdoors as a National Geographic Explorer and director of the Natural Leaders Network. He’s also a North Face role model. Watch Juan’s TED talk

Breakout Sessions: Discover and Explore Wilderness Close to Home (100 miles of Seattle)
Two rotating sessions (30 minutes each) will be held with mini-panels of experts (4-5people) who will provide a brief overview of the opportunities to explore, discover, and take action in two geographies: the Olympics and the North Cascades. A special feature table will be dedicated to Mt. Rainier. Panels will focus on giving people the information on how to get started in the wilderness in these places from a variety of perspectives—cool places to visit (both easy and more challenging), great things to do (looking at a variety of activities—swimming, hiking, climbing, etc), fun family outings, opportunities to get their hands dirty, and insight to managing the wilderness landscape. Each panelist will have 3-4 minutes to talk about their particular topic (with A/V opportunities).

Social Hour
This event is meant to be a mingling/social event that will get people learning about new places and meeting new people. We will have snacks and beer provided by a local brewery. We will also have a trivia activity to get folks engaged and involved in a raffle (with REI prizes).