Friday, February 06, 2009

An Expanded
North Cascades National Park?

In a perfect world our national parks' boundaries would follow natural landmarks encompassing entire watersheds and low country valleys lacking the "awe factor" but are actually more important ecologically than the pretty landmarks because of their biological diversity. Like I said, in a perfect world. But the truth is that many of our national parks were formed at great compromises to opposing factors such as resource extraction industries, motorized recreation groups, and real estate developers. The North Cascade National Park was one such park, created in 1968 against great odds from those competing forces, particularly the timber industry. Well with the timber industry no longer a major player in the greater North Cascades ecosystem, perhaps its time to revisit the borders of the North Cascade National Park and expand it where appropriate. The Park Service would be a far greater manager of lands such as the Golden Horn Roadless area than the Forest Service with its multiple use philosophy, cave-in mentality to the motorized minions and lack of funding. However, I am concerned that one group of conservationists-sportsmen, would be locked out of these lands in an expanded national park. Therefore I have no problem with exploring the establishment of national park reserves (like around many of Alaska's parks) to accommodate hunters where appropriate. While some hikers/conservationists would say why bother? The Reserves would still protect the land from ATVs, logging, and Forest Service ineptness and lack of oversight. Its all food for thought. In this month's Mountaineer (publication of the Seattle Mountaineers) Leesa Wright, a public policy associate explores the idea of expanding the North Cascades NP's boundaries. Are you interested? Let Leesa know what you think-and if you believe that the park should be expanded- what should be included within a larger park? Leesa can be reached at

(photo- the Northern reaches of the North Cascades as seen from Hannegan Peak in the Mount Baker Wilderness)

No comments: