Contested Terrain
North Cascades National Park Service Complex: An Administrative History
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Part III -- 1978-1998

As the 1970s came to a close, the park complex's first decade ended and a new era began. The park's first decade saw the National Park Service trying to shape a wilderness park in the broadest sense. Building a wilderness park from the ground up, so to speak, offered a challenge park managers willingly accepted and viewed with enthusiasm. But as the new parkland's history unfolded, traditional park management concerns, such as the construction of facilities for park visitors, drew more attention. Moreover, other management concerns, those unique to the park complex, particularly those emanating from Stehekin, demanded that park officials come to terms with lingering questions about the true intent of the park complex's enabling legislation. Conflict generated by these and other issues was a catalyst for growth and change in the park complex's next two decades of management. This was a period in which the Park Service attempted to answer these questions and redirect the park complex back toward its primary mission of wilderness preservation. In this era, one theme was consistent. The tension between the wilderness park ideal and traditional park management was strong. The chapters in this section address changes in the park complex's administration, practices and controversies surrounding land acquisition, and hydroelectric issues. Other chapters consider the growth of the park's resource management program, accommodations for visitors, the designation of the park's wilderness, and the park's international relations.

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Last Updated: 14-Apr-1999