North Cascades National Park Turns 50 next year

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 next year and its time to start celebrating!

The North Cascades National Park Act designated the region as a National Park on October 2, 1968. The story of how the park came to be is fascinating. All of the details are laid out in this wonderful new book by Lauren Danner, Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park

I am lucky to live along the North Cascades Highway and am able to visit the North Cascades National Park anytime. Though I have hiked many of the trails there is always something new to see. This summer I visited Hozomeen, along Ross Lake. Just 2 miles south of the Canada border this awesome camping spot is accessible by car through Canada, or boat from Ross Dam. Hozomeen Lake is a short hike from the parking area/boat dock. It was my first visit and I am sure to go back.

Most visitors to the North Cascades travel along the North Cascades Highway , also known as Highway 20. Starting at I-5 and heading east there is a National Park Visitors Center in Sedro-Woolley for general info, further east along highway 20 is Marblemount with a Wilderness Info Center, here you can get permits for back country camping. There are two scenic overlooks along the way, first is the Diablo Overlook. Located close to the Colonial Creek Camp Ground, this spot affords wonderful views of Colonial Peak and Diablo Lake.

The highest point along the North Cascades Highway is Washington Pass and the view from the Overlook is to die for. Its also a wonderful place for capturing images at night!

North Cascades National Park Turns 50 next year

The area around Washington Pass is (unbelievably) not a part of the National Park. In Lauren’s book, Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park the story of what was left out of the original park proposal is described in detail.

There is a new movement to expand the North Cascades National Park to include some of the most stunning scenery right on the boundary. This is the American Alps Legacy Project. 

The American Alps Legacy Proposal would create the North Cascades National Preserve (237,702 acres) adjacent to the North Cascades National Park. Preserve lands would be protected from mining, hydropower development, logging, and other extractive activities. The Preserve would also increase family recreation opportunities in the North Cascades and provide significant economic benefits to rural communities adjacent to the Preserve.

A national preserve is a type of National Park Service protected area designated by Congress. Preserves have characteristics normally associated with National Parks, but selected activities are permitted. The types of activities permitted in each preserve vary depending on the enabling legislation.

Places in the Park

Each month from now until October 2018 I will post a series of images from one of my favorite Places in the Park.

We will start off with Copper Ridge. Located in the north half of the park, Copper Ridge is one of the few trails in the park where you get extended incredible views…and there is a camp site, Silesia Camp, along the way where you really get a room with a view.

The North Cascades Public Information Center in Glacier, Wa is the place to get a permit to camp overnight. Its less than 8 miles into Silesia Camp from your car. If you can plan an extended trip and do the loop, along Copper Ridge, down to the Chilliwack, around and up to Whatcom Pass and then back. I will detail this loop in a later months issue.

Happy Birthday North Cascades National Park. I know its a bit early, but we just want you to know that you’re appreciated!

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