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The North Cascades


Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby

 

EXHIBIT AT THE BURKE MUSEUM JUNE 18, 2016 - Feb 5, 2017       

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The North Cascades


Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby

 

EXHIBIT AT THE BURKE MUSEUM JUNE 18, 2016 - Feb 5, 2017       

Breathe. The atmosphere seems tangible. Blue haze emphasizes the protective envelope of gases keeping us alive. Clouds slide overhead as if blown along a sheet of glass. The sun is brassy, and at night Kerouac’s “sizzling stars” are almost touchable.

—William Dietrich

In the North Cascades ecosystem you will find some of the most magnificent mountains, lowland old growth forests, and pristine rivers on Earth.

Home to rare birds and Pacific salmon, the North Cascades feel remote, and yet dozens of trailheads lie within a two-hour drive from Puget Sound’s major cities, encouraging frequent visits.

Climbers challenge themselves on the North Cascades’ rocky faces, while skiers break free of the tyranny of lift tickets and discover miles of virgin powder deep in the backcountry. Hikers explore its river valleys and ascend its summits.

The waters that flow through the North Cascades provide more than a fifth of Seattle’s electricity. Millions of people depend on this “wild nearby” to meet their needs not only for water, but  exercise, spiritual renewal, education, and more.

While much of the North Cascades is safely contained within national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas, many of its glories remain unprotected. The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal In The Wild Nearby brings this region into focus, highlighting its beauties and its fragility.

The Northwest is a “purposeful place” because so many parts of it remain so brilliantly, even brutally authentic. It demands a sense of attachment; it has the power to shape dreams.

—Richard Louv 


Book

Pulitzer Prize–winning author William Dietrich takes us on an imaginary hike through the region, explaining the rich history and future challenges facing this remote yet accessible ecosystem, while guidebook author Craig Romano details day hikes, bicycle rides, paddling expeditions, ski outings, and car-camping options in the region. Gary Snyder shares a piece from his North Cascades journals. Profiles of people who characterize the landscape, written by the North Cascade Institute’s Christian Martin, an inspirational foreword by Richard Louv, and inspiring color photographs by the likes of Steph Abegg, Paul Bannick, Ed Cooper, Ethan Welty, and Art Wolfe, among others, bring the region to life.

Now available online from Mountaineers Books and in bookstores. Learn more about the book.

Outreach

A hands-on event series goes “beyond the book” to bring the stories and images of the North Cascades to audiences around the Northwest. Photographers and authors will share multimedia presentations in dozens of communities surrounding the North Cascades ecosystem.

See the calendar for upcoming events in your area.

 
 
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Place


Ancient Forests - Pristine Alpine Lakes - Rugged Peaks - Bursting Meadows - This is The Wild Nearby

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Place


Ancient Forests - Pristine Alpine Lakes - Rugged Peaks - Bursting Meadows - This is The Wild Nearby

The North Cascades ecosystem extends from Snoqualmie Pass to the Fraser River valley in British Columbia, encompassing rugged peaks, ancient forests, arid steppes, and glacier-fed waterways.

As one of the largest intact ecosystems in the contiguous United States, the North Cascades are home to a number of threatened and endangered species. Through citizen activism, Washington’s North Cascades National Park was created over 40 years ago. However, wild landscapes that many people believe to be inside the national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas remain unprotected.

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Act


The North Cascades are a rare natural gift—one that cannot be taken for granted, nor whose fate can be left to chance.

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Act


The North Cascades are a rare natural gift—one that cannot be taken for granted, nor whose fate can be left to chance.

North Cascades National Park and the surrounding Wilderness Areas have provided us an initial stake to ensure that this wild bounty will be around for generations to come.

But this region will not stay wild without continued attention and stewardship from everyone who lives nearby or travels there to explores its peaks and valleys. Resource extraction, power development and unchecked motorized recreation are just of a few of the threats this ecosystem faces, particularly as the surrounding region’s population grows.

More than 20 grassroots organizations groups helped Braided River to shape our book. These advocacy partners all use The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby while they are working collectively to advance a particular proposal, or while they are proposing alternative approaches to solving complicated problems, to help ensure that this natural ecosystem remains intact.

In our book and website, we hope you’ll see why the natural value of the North Cascades should be preserved; and we leave it to you to determine how.

You’ll find the most current active campaigns in this region listed below, along with links to more information to help you participate in this conservation conversation.

Many wild places lay outside the boundaries of protected areas. Photo and illustration by Ethan Welty.

Pending Legislation

Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 1785)

  • Highlights the national significance of the Mountains to Sound Greenway 
  • Enhances funding opportunities
  • Encourages partnerships and cooperation between private public entities and land managers
  • Documents the historic, cultural, educational, ecological and recreational resources of this unique landscape

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.


Successful Legislation

These proposals succeeded in December 2014.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions & Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 361; S. 112)

  • Designates more than 22,000 acres of low-elevation forest land as Wilderness, adding to the popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness area
  • Designates nearly 40 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner Washington Wild.


Ilabot Creek Wild & Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 829; S. 383) 

Designates 14 miles of Illabot Creek as a Wild and Scenic River, ensuring that it remains wild and free-flowing forever.

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner American Rivers. 


More Proposals and Campaigns

Nooksack River Wild & Scenic Campaign 

Seeks to protect approximately 100 river miles in the upper Nooksack basin, including portions of the three forks and eight tributary streams, under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. 

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner American Rivers.


American Alps Legacy Project 

Seeks to add more than 237,000 acres to National Park Service management on the east and west side of the North Cascades National Park.

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner American Alps Legacy Project.


Yakima Basin Integrated Plan 

Proposed land and rivers designations in the Yakima Basin would protect 160,000 acres of public land and 200 miles of rivers. 

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner The Wilderness Society.

Some conservation organizations oppose the plan because it includes new water storage projects that would flood old growth forests and shrub-steppe habitat, in addition to the conservation measures.

Read the position of one of the opponents, our partner the Sierra Club.


Cascades Wild 

Seeks to protect the upper watersheds, rivers, and streams that supply cool, clean water to fish and wildlife farms, businesses, and local communities of the growing Puget Sound region.

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner Washington Wild.


Protect Flagg Mountain

Preventing industrial mine exploratory activity at Flagg Mountain in the Mazama area.

Learn more from a proponent of this proposal, our partner Protect Flag Mountain.


Our intent here is not to advocate a specific course of action, nor to endorse a particular campaign, nor is it to present all potential points-of-view on these campaigns, but to provide a central access point to the many campaigns that our partners are engaged in that hold a common vision to protect the beauty, wildness, scenic landscapes, clean water, and other natural systems that define and sustain life in this region.

We invite you to visit the websites of our grassroots conservation partners to research these proposals further.

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Community


The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in The Wild Nearby was made possible through the efforts of many partners and the generosity of our donors. Like public lands themselves, this project belongs each citizen—It belongs to you.

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Community


The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in The Wild Nearby was made possible through the efforts of many partners and the generosity of our donors. Like public lands themselves, this project belongs each citizen—It belongs to you.

Donate

We appreciate your support. Our work would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters.

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Partners


Event Partner


Other Partners

Access Fund
American Alpine Club
American Alps Legacy Project
American Rivers
American Whitewater
Big City Mountaineers
Conservation Northwest
National Forest Foundation
North Cascades National Park Complex
Pilchuck Audubon Society
Save Our Wild Salmon
Seattle Audubon Society
 

Sierra Club Washington State Chapter
Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission
The Student Conservation Association
The Wilderness Society
Trout Unlimited
Washington Climbers Coalition
Washington Trails Association
Washington Wild
Washington’s National Park Fund