POSITION STATEMENT BY FOREST SERVICE
I. Present Resource Use
II. Planned Resource Use in the Future
III. What is Multiple UseThe High Mountain PolicyA Multiple Use Management
Guide for the North Cascades Study Area
Landscape Management Areas
The Grass-Shrub Resource Association
The Principal Forest Resource Association
The Upper Forest Resource Association
The Alpine Resource Association
IV. What Are Wilderness Areas
V. Special Management AreasPresent and Proposed Areas of Wilderness
Glacier Peak Wilderness
North Cascades Primitive Area
Proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Proposed Enchantment Wilderness
Proposed Mount Aix Wilderness
Areas to be Managed with Special Emphasis on Recreation
Eldorado Peaks High Country
The Mount Baker Recreation Area
The Mather Memorial Parkway
The Cougar Lake Area
Proposed Recreation Ways
VI. The Recreation Resource in the Rest of the Study Area
VII. Landscape Management Areas
VIII. Timber Harvesting Methods and Limitations
IX. Cooperation with Mount Rainier National Park
(2 ACCOMPANYINB MAPS.)
1. PRESENT RESOURCE USE
The National Forest lands in this great area are now the locale for a land-use mix composed of the following main ingredients:
1. recreation use by nearly 3 million people a year to picnic, camp, ski, hunt, and fish;
2. 1,259,000 acres formally established by act of Congress as Wilderness or Primitive areas which are held and managed to retain wilderness environment for use by the lovers of solitary-type recreation;
3. hunting use of the entire 6 million acres of the Study Area for deer, elk, goat, small game, upland birds, and some waterfowl under an effective program of cooperation with the State of Washington game officials and with the State exercising ownership and control of the game;
4. fishing use, under similar arrangements with State officials, of many hundreds of miles of sparkling mountain streams and numerous lakes;
5. controlled timber harvesting on a sustained basis that directly provides employment in timber harvesting and manufacturing amounting to about 5,500 jobs each year, and to which another 14,500 jobs in directly affiliated activities can be attributed;
6. water supply for domestic consumption, and irrigation and power which is significant to half the communities in the western part of the State of Washington;
7. forage production used by about 8,000 head of cattle, about 14,000 head of sheep, and some 27 percent of the State's population of deer, elk, goat, and other big-game animals; and
8. active or prospective extraction of at least 15 metallic minerals and a large number of nonmetallic miner materials.
II. PLANNED RESOURCE USE IN THE FUTURE
Forest Service resource and land management plans call for:
1. adding some 237,000 acres to the area of dedicated Wilderness areas as well as reclassifying the 801,000-acre North Cascades Primitive Area to Wilderness area status;
2. continuing the present intensive pattern of wildlife habitat management to support expanded levels of big and small game population;
3. maintaining and increasing levels of fishing use;
4. substantially expanding the number and location of developed recreation sites, including winter sports areas, organization camps, and resort facilities as well as the more numerous small camp and picnic areas;
5. greatly expanding the opportunity for outdoor-type mountain recreation by significant new developments in areas where main roads are projected but are not yet built;
6. continuing emphasis on maximum freedom of opportunity for individual recreation users to follow their recreation pursuits with the least possible limitation or restraint;
7. continuing to harvest the sustainable allowable annual cut of timber, with intensified cultural treatment on the good timber growing sites, and following modified principles of designating the timber to be cut adjacent to recreation areas and on all other acres where the management of the landscape is as important as the management of the timber;
8. more water impoundment reservoirs where they are needed in the normal course of supplying water for use of Washington State residents, and intensifying efforts to manipulate vegetative cover so as to produce more water in the areas where water supplies comprise a future problem;
9. continued use of appropriate areas of National Forest land for domestic livestock grazing;
10. opportunity to continue and expand mining and mineral development in accordance with the laws Congress has enacted on this subject;
11. expansion of the present road systems in the National Forest areas to be managed for commodity production, and provision of recreation trails and some recreation-way type roads on which the road location and use will emphasize scenery and the desire of people to see it from an automobile.
III. WHAT IS MULTIPLE USE
Congress has directed by P.L. 86517 that "it is the policy of the Congress that the national forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes . . . The establishment and maintenance of areas of wilderness are consistent with the purposes . . . of this act. . . . 'Multiple use' means:
"The management of all the various renewable surface resources of the national forests so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the needs of the American people; making the most judicious use of the land for some or all of these resources or related services over areas large enough to provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions; that some land will be used for less than all the resources; harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources, each with the other, without impairment of the productivity of the land, with consideration being given to the relative values of the various resources, and not necessarily the combination of uses that will give the greatest dollar return or greatest unit output."
The concept of multiple use is put into action through multiple use plans that are based on inventories of the resources involved. The effort in such planning is to coordinate the several uses that may be appropriate in an area, each at the level that will best meet present and future needs of the American people, and will at the same time be commensurate with the capacity of the land and resources to sustain these uses.
Multiple use planning applies to areas of land . . . not usually to the individual acre, but to areas sufficiently large to allow for coordination of the various resources and uses. The planning area may be a Region, a Ranger District, or a still smaller management unit. At each planning level conclusions from careful analyses result in policies for coordinated management, broad for the Service as a whole, more detailed as the unit to which they apply becomes smaller.
The High Mountain PolicyA Multiple Use Management Guide for the North Cascades Study Area
In 1961, the Forest Service formalized a management guide for making multiple use decisions in the National Forests of Washington and Oregon, including all of the North Cascades Study Area. It does not apply to areas classed as either Wilderness or Primitive areas, and has been withheld from application in certain areas being studied for such classification. This guide was approved by Secretary Orville Freeman in April of 1962.
The High Mountain Policy is based on a recognition that in the mountainous parts of the Pacific Northwest there are four broad resource management associations: Grass-Shrub, Principal Forest, Upper Forest, and Alpine. Each is a product of environmental factors that give it reasonably homogeneous resource values, and make it susceptible to common resource and use objectives and management policies. Cutting across or located within all of these natural associations is another land classification category, the Landscape Management Areas, which are areas along streams and travel routes now or prospectively of special significance because of high recreational value.
Landscape Management Areas are planned to provide for public use which is known to be expanding. They are designated mainly along streams and recreation travel routes, and around lakes, including that part of the scenic foreground seen from these areas. They are considered separate management units. They require a type of management different from that applied to the association in which they occur. Aesthetics and recreation are recognized as major objectives of management in Landscape Management Areas. Management practices for timber, wildlife, watershed, and other recreation values which may be of key importance outside a landscape management area are varied as or if necessary to weave them into the coordinated use pattern developed for a landscape management area.
The Grass-Shrub Resource Association is characterized by grass, scattered pine, juniper and sagebrush groundcover and is located at relatively low elevations. The Association is usually found on the drier east side of the Cascade Mountains and is the smallest (area-wise) of the four associations. Its principal resource value is the production of forage for livestock and game. In addition it has watershed value and is used for big game hunting and some fishing.
The Principal Forest Resource Association starts near sea level on the west side of the mountains and above the Grass Shrub Association on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. It is the more heavily forested area, supporting Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and associated species. Major streams and travel routes cut across this Association. It is the most accessible of the four associations to population concentrations. In addition to providing the bulk of the Region's timber, the area embraced by this Association must also provide outdoor recreation for large numbers of people. The management objective is sustained production of high quality timber in a manner which appropriately recognizes associated values and protects the water and recreational features of the intermingled Landscape Management Areas. Big game and domestic livestock graze in this Association. Landscape Management Areas are laid out within this Association as conditions and resource use require.
The Upper Forest Resource Association is located immediately above the Principal Forest Association and extends upward in elevation almost to timberline. It has numerous lakes and meadows and moderately sloping mountainsides. It is characterized by true fir-hemlock stands and other high elevation species. Timber is generally of poorer quality and value than in the Principal Forest Association. Landscape Management Areas occur within this Association. The rest of the Upper Forest usually can be harmoniously managed for most National Forest purposes: watershed, wildlife and fish, and all categories of recreational use. Hunting and fishing are popular recreational activities.
The Alpine Resource Association extends from near timberline to the crest of the mountains. Much of the area is above 5,000 feet. It contains high-elevation lakes, open Alpine meadows, glaciers and other outstanding scenic features. Soils are fragile, and precipitation heavy. Access is often by trail. Most of the existing and potential winter sports areas are located within this Association. Management objectives emphasize retention of natural conditions, and also provide for other types of recreation. Management to produce optimum yields of water, fish, wildlife, and forage (including forage for packstock) are concurrent uses.
A specific policy for managing the "High Mountains" Area is set forth in the guide. This "High Mountain Policy" applies to all of the Alpine Resource Association and the Landscape Management Areas of the Upper Forest Resource Association. Classified Wilderness areas are exempted from the policy, since they are managed under policies now outlined by act of Congress. Most of the Study Area's winter sports developments are, or will be, located in the High Mountain Area. Located here also are some roads, campgrounds and picnic areas that permit large numbers of people to enjoy high mountain scenery. Numerous potential recreational sites are also found here. Dispersed hunting and fishing use is common.
Basic management objectives in the High Mountain Area call for protection and improvements of soil, watershed, wildlife, fish, and varied recreation resources under near-natural conditions with minimum modification of the landscape.
Valid demands for public use of water are to be recognized, with the condition that facilities which are required be developed to serve several uses, that they blend with the natural setting, and they not hamper coordinated use of related resources.
Specialized recreation facilities will be developed to give a greater number of people the opportunity to enjoy high mountain scenery and activities. This includes roads, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic vistas, winter recreation sites, mountain resorts, and shelters. These facilities will be designed to retain scenic qualities, recognizing peoples' needs for both developed and primitive type recreation.
Wildlife habitat will be maintained and improved to provide an adequate food supply for a predetermined level of wildlife population. Game harvest will be used to keep wildlife and food supply in balance. In "key" wildlife areas, wildlife will be given preference for available forage. Domestic livestock, including pack and saddle animals, will be permitted to graze in numbers and on areas as are found to be suitable for that use. Revegetation will be undertaken where needed.
Timber in the Alpine Association may be harvested only for development of recreation, wildlife and water resources; public safety; control of insect and disease epidemics; salvage of extraordinary losses and reduction of fire hazard; research in watershed management; and necessary occupancy or administrative use. Timber in the Landscape Management Areas of the Upper Forest Association will be managed to produce a thrifty forest that is aesthetically pleasing. The degree of modification of timber harvest in these areas may vary from the cutting of only dead, dying or diseased trees in occupancy areas to small clear-cuts in mature and overmature stands on the fringes of scenic foreground areas. Timber outside the Landscape Management Areas of the Upper Forest Association will generally be managed as it is in the Principal Forest Association. In practice, very substantial portions of the Upper Forest Association within the Study Area have now been classified as falling within Landscape Management Areas.
The Forest Service has no control over prospecting nor over mining on valid claims filed under the General Mining Laws. It will, however, alleviate as much as possible detrimental impacts on other resources and uses, including those handled under the Materials Act.
Commercial developments (lodges, resorts), rights-of-way, administrative facilities and other necessary occupancies will be provided for when in the public interest. They will be designed and located to harmonize with management objectives of the Landscape Management Areas and the Alpine Resource Association.
Areas possessing rare or unique species of wildlife and plant life, geologic phenomena, or historical or archeological features will be managed for preservation and public enjoyment.
IV. WHAT ARE WILDERNESS AREAS
The Wilderness Act, approved September 3, 1964 (P.L. 88577) provides that units of the National Wilderness Preservation System are to be "administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness;"
It also provides:
"Definition of WildernessA wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least 5,000 acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value."
The act further provides:
"Except as otherwise provided in this act, each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character. Except as otherwise provided in this act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use.
"Except as specifically provided for in this act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.
"Nothing in this act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests."
Reiteration of these main policy guides as they have now been established by Congress is important to a presentation of Forest Service plans for the North Cascade Area, for about 1,260,000 National Forest acres of the approximately 6 million acres in the Study Area are now covered by these legislative policy guides. And, Forest Service plans contemplate adding some 237,000 acres in areas which, up to this time, have been managed in accordance with these principles and which the Forest Service expects to propose under the procedures of the Wilderness Act, for addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The units involved are as follows:
1. The Glacier Peak Wilderness458,105 acres.
2. The North Cascades Primitive Area801,000 acres. (The Wilderness Act requires that this Area be studied and a proposal made to either declassify it or reclassify it as Wilderness. The Forest Service proposes to reclassify it as Wilderness, with some boundary modifications, discussed in a following section. The reclassification proposal would increase the acreage to about 813,000 acres.)
3. A proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness150,000 acres. (Not now a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Tentative boundaries suitable for proposal under the Wilderness Act have been established.)
4. A proposed Enchantment Wilderness30,000 acres. (Not now a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Tentative boundaries suitable for proposal under the Wilderness Act have been established.)
5. A proposed Mount Aix Wilderness45,000 acres. (This unit is not a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Tentative boundaries suitable for proposal under the Wilderness Act have been established in a preliminary way.)
As part of the Wilderness System management activities of the Forest Service, individual administration plans are to be prepared for each area included in the National Wilderness Preservation System. These plans are to set forth in writing the way in which the Forest Service will redeem the responsibility "for preserving the wilderness character of the area . . . for the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use." Each unit administration plan will detail the way in which, for that area, the general Wilderness policies now being followed are to be applied to provide for dispersal of recreational use; to meet requirements for sanitation and fire protection; to identify areas of special scientific interest; and to provide, where appropriate, for parts of these areas to be without trails to meet the objective of "opportunities for solitude." Prospecting and mining activities will be regulated in the manner provided for in the Wilderness Act. Other commodity or commercial uses will be permitted only as authorized by the Wilderness Act.
V. SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREAS
Within the National Forests in the Study Area, there are certain areas which will be managed according to special management principles to reflect some special adaptability of the area for a particular type of use. Areas of Wilderness comprise one such type of special management area, and there are others. In this part of this report, the major special management areas now recognized, or to be recognized in the plans the Forest Service now has under preparation, are set forth and briefly described.
A. Present and Proposed Areas of Wilderness
1. Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. This area is covered under the Wilderness Act, and is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It includes 458,105 acres of National Forest land, and was established by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1960. Glacier Peak is a major landmark. There are some 30 other peaks in the close vicinity. Some 90 glaciers are dispersed throughout this locale of superb scenery.
This fragile area should remain as a Wilderness, and will continue to be so managed. As is true of other National Forest units of the National Wilderness Preservation System, it is to be covered by an administration plan defining objectives of management and the means by which they will be achieved. Immediate management objectives are to bring up to an acceptable construction standard, commensurate with normal anticipated use levels, a skeleton system of the main trails such as the Cascade Crest Trail. Any other trails believed to be necessary will be low-standard trails, intended primarily to provide a means for dispersing users. Other immediate objectives include: boundary and trails signing; the minimum necessary attention to sanitation needs; and implementing a system of seasonal recreation guards for supervision, cleanup, and information to users to secure dispersal of use and cooperation with restrictions on use (such as persuading people to carry their garbage back out of the Wilderness).
Boundary changes have been proposed by a number of interested groups. Because the Wilderness Act has been pending ever since this Wilderness area was formally established, the Forest Service has not given detailed on-the-ground study to all of the major proposals that have been made. Such study would be necessary prior to seeking legislation to change boundaries at any point.
Provided that a careful examination on the ground can establish a clear identification for a boundary so as to avoid problems of administration caused by an indefinite boundary, the Forest Service is willing to seek legislation for a boundary extension along the northeast perimeter of the present Glacier Peak Wilderness Area extending to the shore of Lake Chelan in the vicinity of Riddle Creek; thence along the general vicinity of the west shore of Lake Chelan and the west side of the Stehekin River to the vicinity of Cascade Pass; and thence south along the Cascade summit to the present boundary at Trapper Mountain.
Such an extension would add about 20,000 acres to the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
The Forest Service is also willing to seek relatively small boundary changes in the so-called corridors of the White Chuck River Valley and the Suiattle River Valley. In the White Chuck River Valley the change would move the boundary west about 2 miles to an irregular north-south line about coinciding with the mouth of Pumice Creek. In the Suiattle River Valley, the boundary change would also move the boundary west. The revised boundary would run from the Suiattle River at the mouth of Milk Creek north a short distance, then generally parallel to the Suiattle River to a point on Sulphur Creek about a half mile upstream from the Suiattle River; thence north to Downey Mountain; and thence west to the present boundary at Green Mountain. These two changes would add about 10,000 acres to the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.
2. North Cascade Primitive Area. The Forest Service proposes to: (1) reclassify this to a Wilderness Area; (2) change the boundaries so as to have them coincide with natural features of topography rather than with straight lines on a map; (3) exclude from the Wilderness Area the shorelines of Ross Lake and the lower end of Beaver Creek; and (4) exclude about a township on the extreme east end of the present Primitive area. The net effect of the changes would be to increase net acreage from about 801,000 acres to about 813,000 acres.
The Wilderness Act provides that the North Cascade Primitive Area shall continue to be administered "under the rules and regulations affecting such areas on the effective date of this act until Congress has determined otherwise." The rules and regulations in effect on the date of the act provide that primitive areas "shall be administered in the same manner as Wilderness areas and with the same restrictions on their use."
Plans for the protection of this Primitive area, and for its administration as an area which is primarily wilderness in character now exist. These are to be revised to bring them into full agreement with the provisions of the Wilderness Act and the implementing regulations thereunder. A modest extension of the existing trail system is needed; and facilities to care for sanitation needs of users will also need to be provided. Recreation guards have been assigned to parts of this Primitive area for several years. Extension of this system, and an intensified program of user contacts to secure cooperation in protecting wilderness values will likewise be needed and will be arranged for.
The Forest Service believes that both the segment of this area lying to the west of Ross Lake, which includes the Pickett Range, Mount Triumph, Mount Blum, and Mount Redoubt, and the segment lying east of Ross Lake can best serve the long range public interest by being held and managed as formally dedicated areas of wilderness.
3. Proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Along the crest of the Cascade Mountains, between Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass is an area of high lakes of unusual charm and attractiveness for seekers of solitude and solitary-type recreation. An area of some 150,000 acres embracing the most attractive portion of this area is now without roads and possesses little in the way of resource values which would, in the future, tend to bring on pressure for road construction. This area clearly meets the standards for classification as a wilderness.
The Forest Service proposes to recommend this area, under the Wilderness Act, for classification as a unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The area has been studied. Decisions about boundary locations, sufficiently firm to be the basis for public hearings, have been decided upon. This area will make a fully acceptable addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System. It will be developed with some additional mileage of low-standard trails for camping, hiking, riding, scientific study, hunting, and other such pursuits.
4. Proposed Enchantment Wilderness Area. The Mount Stuart Range is a geological and scenic unit to the east of and separate from the area embraced within the proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. An area of about 30,000 acres has been delineated, as a result of on-the-ground studies, as being highly suitable for inclusion as a unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is an area of outstanding scenic qualities, of sharp contrasts in elevation and topography, of challenging mountain climbing, and it is without roads and with only a minor mileage of trails.
The Forest Service proposes to recommend this area under the Wilderness Act, as the Enchantment Wilderness Area. Boundaries suitable for presenting a proposal at a public hearing have been decided upon. The unit will have no significant amount of further trail construction, so that it will retain its present illusion of being a "lost world" above the valleys to be reached only by those hardy enough to come in without use of trails. Existing trails, including that up Ingalls Creek, will be retained.
5. Proposed Mount Aix Wilderness Area. Some 10 miles east of Mount Rainier National Park is an isolated group of rough ridges and clustered mountain peaks in an area which abounds with unusual geological features, sharp contrasts of elevational difference, and with grand scenery on a small scale. Rugged beauty characterizes this area. Main mountain peaks are: Mount Aix, Bismark Peak, Rattlesnake Peaks, Timberwolf Mountain, and Ironstone Mountain. The area is isolated and relatively arid. Access is comparatively difficult. Only a person with a real desire for solitude will be attracted to go into this area.
The Forest Service proposes to recommend classification of this area of about 45,000 acres as a unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System. On-the-ground studies have identified in a reasonably adequate manner the boundaries of the isolated wilderness associated with the Mount Aix complex. The proposal is not yet firm enough to propose at public hearings, as some more clearcut decisions still are needed concerning management of part of the area lying to the west of the mountain complex.
In the Mount Aix complex itself little additional development would be undertaken. The main effort needed is to be certain that trails are safe for horse and human use; and that needed sanitation precautions are arranged for. The area, when established, will need an administration plan, boundary signing, and an appropriate level of attention from Forest Service (recreation) guards.
B. Areas To Be Managed With Special Emphasis on Recreation
Under the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act (P.L. 86517) outdoor recreation is one of several major land uses which Congress has defined as an objective of management of the National Forests. Recreation needs, as with watershed protection needs, are taken into consideration in plans for managing all the resources. There are some areas, however, where recreation use is of greater importance and significance than is use of other resources. There are four such areas in the North Cascades not including those in the category of Wilderness. This portion of this report briefly describes the plans for giving emphasis to recreation management for these four areas.
1. Eldorado Peaks High Country. When the Secretary of Agriculture formally established the unit now called the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, the establishment order specified the type of land use and management to be accorded to the National Forest lands in the area lying between the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area and the North Cascades Primitive Area. The order provides:
. . . the policy will be to manage the Cascade Pass-Ruby creek area primarily for preservation of scenic values and to open up and develop it for the use and enjoyment of the large numbers of people who desire other kinds of outdoor recreation and those who are unable to engage in wilderness travel. Recreation uses, such as camping, picnicking, skiing, hunting, fishing, and enjoyment of scenery, will be given primary consideration. Roads, vistas, resorts, ski lifts, and other developments needed by the public will be planned. Timber harvesting and other resource utilization will be permitted to the extent that they can be properly integrated and harmonized with the recreation and the protection of the outstanding scenic attractions.
The area covered by this policy has not heretofore been given a specific place name.
The Forest Service proposes:
1. To name this unit "The Eldorado Peaks High Country."
2. To manage this "High Country," the boundaries of which are shown on the map (page 166) in accordance with the policy directive established by the Secretary of Agriculture and quoted above.
3. To develop a system of public access and recreation use facilities as outlined in the plan which follows.
4. To perform only such timber removal as public interest and the resource importance of the area clearly justifies by selective cutting methods except as other systems of cutting may be required for mining, for road construction, for salvaging diseased, insect-infested, or dying timber, or for authorized other activities such as water impoundments or rights-of-way.
5. To do no additional road construction utilizing funds or authority of the Forest Service in Bridge Creek or in the Stehekin Valley.
Trails are the principal means for general public access to most of the area now. There are dead-end roads to Diablo Lake; up the Cascade River; to Harts Pass and Slate Creek; part way up Early Winters Creek; and in the Stehekin Valley at the head of Lake Chelan. There is boat access on Lake Chelan and Ross Lake. Airplanes fly in and out of Ross Lake, Lake Chelan, and Trapper Lake. The north portion of the area is now being opened up by construction of the North Cross-State Highway. Once this main artery of transportation is completed, additional facilities for public access and use can be developed which are not feasible now.
Parts of the area are mineralized and may be of economic significance. Sites for water impoundments may be of future significance. These possible uses of the area will be permitted to develop as future course of events may dictate, but with an effort by the Forest Service to make such possible events helpful for recreation useas by recreation development of the shoreline of reservoirs, or similar use of roads made necessary with future mining activity. Grazing will be continued and so will close cooperation with the State of Washington to maintain a desirable environment and habitat for the fish and game resource in order to insure good hunting and fishing.
The Forest Service has developed multiple use management plans to carry out the policy set by the Secretary of Agriculture. These plans give major emphasis to recreation.
The following discussion presents Forest Service views of the potential for recreation development in this area of 537,600 acres which lies north and northeast of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.
The general areas for developed recreation sites will be along the main routes of access-Skagit River, Thunder Creek, Ross Lake, Ruby Creek, Granite Creek, Slate Creek, Harts Pass, Methow River, Early Winters Creek, Lake Chelan, the lower Stehekin River, and the upper Cascade River.
Roads, primarily designed for recreation use, will be planned. Tramways, or lifts for winter sports activities, are feasible in half a dozen locations. These will be supplemented by an improved system of trails.
Sightseeing and general enjoyment will undoubtedly be one of the greatest uses, dependent as they are on good roads. The North Cross-State Highway will form a connection for loop trips. Dead-end forest roads to Ross Lake, and up Thunder Creek will provide additional access during the summer. The North Cross-State Highway will be an all-year road. Significant vista points and spots of interest will be signed, provided with short trails, or unattended displays to interpret the geologic, human history, and management activities of the area.
Aerial tramways will greatly enhance the opportunities for sightseeing and access to some of the higher peaks. These are being planned for Ruby Peak just south of Ross Lake, Thunder Creek above the proposed dam, Granite Creek, and Early Winters Creek near Rainy Pass, and there are potential sites for others.
Boat tours are currently available on Diablo Lake, Ross Dam, and Lake Chelan. The Seattle City Light Company provides the popular Diablo Lake boat trip and a tour of the dams. There is a potential for similar tours on Ross Lake when the highway is completed.
Camping and picnicking will be very popular recreation activities in this area. The Forest Service recreation plan projects 149 sites available for camping and picnicking; 28 are now existing. Many of these would be along the North Cross-State Highway, Harts Pass road, Ross Lake, Lake Chelan, and the spur roads in Thunder Creek and the Cascade River. Only picnic areas will be developed in and around alpine meadows that are too fragile for concentrated camping use.
Fishing is quite good in this section of the North Cascades. Ross Lake and Lake Chelan offer some of the State's best trout fishing. The high lakes are also popular fishing haunts with stream fishing ranking third. Completion of the North Cross-State Highway will greatly increase the fishing use on Ross Lake, and close cooperation with the Washington State Game Department will be required to keep this Lake and others adequately stocked.
Hunter use will increase with better access. Good big game hunting can be maintained for deer, bear, and mountain goats. Some grouse and waterfowl hunting may be made available for the first time with the additional access.
There are good potential winter sports areas. One such area is adjacent to the North Cross-State Highway just north of Rainy Pass. A combination of west-side snow depths and and the east-side weather makes this one of the outstanding potential sites in the Northwest. Planned facilities will provide for skiing and ice skating in winter; hiking, riding, climbing, hunting, and supervised camping in summer and fall; and swimming the year around. Another good area is in Granite Creek. There are six or seven other good sites suitable for later development as they are needed, such as Thunder Creek.
Boating, swimming, and water skiing are now concentrated on Lake Chelan. Completion of the planned road system will increase the need for resorts, boat ramps, stores, and camping facilities to handle this activity, especially on Ross Lake. Ross Lake has a big potential for water sports development. A reservoir in Thunder Creek will create another water sports and fishing area. In addition it will provide camping and picnicking sites.
Hiking and riding in connection with pack trips are very popular and will be more so. The Cascade Crest Trail winds along the backbone of the North Cascade Mountains, linking the North Cascade Primitive Area and the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. Feeder trails climb to the crest from side drainages. The Rainy Pass-Washington Pass area may become a main trailway, linking the new highway with the Stehekin River and Lake Chelan. Commercial facilities would be needed here to cope with the increased hiking and riding use; also, additional trails are planned and will probably be needed. Mountain climbing, photography, and rock hounding are typical of the relatively small, but interesting, recreation uses that can be expected to increase. Overnight accommodations and other resort service will be developed with the ski developments and other sites as the need demands.
Below is a tabulation of the existing and planned developments, and the uses and benefits that will follow.
The Eldorado Peaks High Country will be made available to untold thousands of people. This will be accomplished under the multiple use management program designed to carry out the policy and objectives of the Secretary of Agriculture. This part of the North Cascade Mountains will become increasingly popular for the many types of recreation opportunities and facilities it will offer.
Cascade PassRuby Creek Area
FISH AND WILDLIFE
RECREATION AND OTHER RESOURCE USES ON THE MOUNT BAKER NATIONAL FOREST USES
2. The Mount Baker Recreation Area. Secretary of Agriculture W. M. Jardine, on September 24, 1926, established this area as the Mount Baker Park Division of the Mount Baker National Forest. Management of the area was clearly stated in the Land Classification Order.
"Pursuant to an Act of Congress directing the Secretary of Agriculture to select, classify, and segregate lands within the boundaries of National Forests that may be opened to homestead entry, certain lands aggregating 74,859 acres within the Mount Baker National Forest, surrounding Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan, as indicated upon the diagram hereto attached, have been duly examined, and, being found to comprise natural resources susceptible of many public uses and possessing such scenic beauty which should be available to the public, were classified and segregated on October 2, 1915, as not chiefly valuable for agriculture and therefore not subject to segregation under the Act of August 10, 1912.
"It appears that these lands are not only of great value for National Forest purposes but should also be permanently retained in Government ownership in order to provide for their protection, development, use and enjoyment by the general public, and can be so administered by the Forest Service with out additional expense to the Government.
"Now, Therefore, I, W. M. Jardine, Secretary of Agriculture, do hereby give public notice that the above-mentioned area, surrounding Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan and reached by a recently constructed extension to the Pacific highway, is hereby designated as the Mount Baker Park Division of the Mount Baker National Forest, and that all National Forest lands therein are held for the use and enjoyment of the general public for recreation purposes, coordinately with the purposes for which the Mount Baker National Forest was established. A proper and orderly utilization of timber, forage, water power and other economic resources shall be allowed within the area, but such utilization shall not be permitted to impair the value of the area as a site for public campgrounds, municipal or health camps, sanitarium, club houses, hotels, summer homes, or public utilities requisite for the comfort and convenience of the people using the area for recreational purposes. The administration, development and use of this area shall be governed by the spirit of this order, and no use shall be allowed or permitted that will interfere with the broad public purposes herein set forth."
The area has been managed since that date with major emphasis on the recreational value.
An all-year highway leads to Heather Meadows by way of the Nooksack River from Bellingham. From Heather Meadows a low-standard road leads to Kulshan Ridge. It is open in the summer only. From Heather Meadows and the end of the road only trails lead to Mount Baker on the west and Mount Shuksan on the east. It is planned that only trails will lead out from these recreation centers to the higher country. A Recreation Way is proposed from Heather Meadows across Austin Pass and south to connect with a present road at Baker Lake. This will make an outstanding scenic loop both summer and winter.
Heather Meadows is developed for summer and winter use. Some 100,000 people visit the area each year for winter sports. This use is increasing each year. The present chair lift is being supplemented with two new ones being completed now. A new lodge to supplement the present one is in the planning stage.
During the summer the area is very popular for camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain climbing, berry picking, rock-hounding, sightseeing, hunting and some fishing.
Timber harvesting in the lower areas and other resource management is carried on within the coordination requirements of the Landscape Management Areas.
The Mount Baker-Mount Shuksan Area is very popular and well-known in Canada as well as the United States. The management practices are well accepted. The Forest Service proposes that this area remain in its present status.
3. The Mather Memorial Parkway. A half-mile strip on either side of this highway as it traverses the Snoqualmie National Forest has been designated for maintenance of scenic attractiveness. This is in accordance with a 1931 joint designation by the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior. The strip of land covered by this designation will continue to be managed primarily as a scenic strip along this highway.
4. The Cougar Lake Area. East of Mount Rainier National Park is an attractive area which the Forest Service now manages with recreation as a principal value. Parts of it have been proposed by outdoor clubs for classification as a wilderness but in the opinion of Forest Service people who have studied it carefully on the ground there is reason to question whether it may properly be proposed for such classification under the Wilderness Act. The area involved lies between Mount Rainier National Park and the area the Forest Service expects to recommend as the proposed Mount Aix Wilderness. The area is already quite accessible by means of spur roads and a trail system. It is a prospective locale for developed recreation facilities such as campgrounds intended to take some camping pressure off of Mount Rainier National Park. There will be a need within this area for campgrounds and perhaps some other developed recreation facilities that cannot be established within an area of wilderness. Parts of the area will probably have rather heavy use.
The Forest Service plans to manage this area primarily for recreation use, with routine-type timber harvest operations excluded from large parts of it. Firm decisions on all the key points of management objectives have not been worked out. The Forest Service proposes to call this "The Cougar Lakes Country."
C. Proposed Recreation Ways
The Forest Service proposes that four routes in the North Cascades be developed as Recreation Ways:
1. Curry Gap. This proposed road will extend from the Stevens Pass highway, up the Beckler River, over Curry Gap and down the Sauk River to Darrington. It will rise from either end through timber, subalpine and alpine-type terrain providing vistas of rugged mountain peaks, magnificent glaciers, and tumbling white waterglacial streams. It will provide a 1-day trip from Seattle, Wash., via U.S. Highway No. 2 and Forest Highway No. 7.
2. Cady Pass. This route will leave the Curry Gap Recreation Way south of Curry Gap and climb to the Cascade Summit at Cady Pass, thence follow down the Little Wenatchee River to Highway 15C near Lake Wenatchee. The entire route affords vistas of rugged mountain terrain including many glaciers, streams, and alpine meadows. It will provide a 1-day trip from Seattle, Wash., or Wenatchee, Wash., via U.S. Highway 2 and Highway 15C.
3. Harts Pass. This proposed route will leave Washington Forest Highway No. 32 (North Cross-State Highway) near Ross Lake and climb through timber, sub-Alpine, and Alpine-type terrain to the summit of the North Cascades at Harts Pass, thence descending the east slopes of the Cascades to the Methow River and Washington State Highway No. 16. This will offer an inspiring view of rugged mountains and glaciers. The panorama from the Harts Pass vicinity will be an outstanding attraction.
4. Austin Pass. The road will extend from Heather Meadows, tunnel under Austin Pass, then down Baker River to tie with the present road system at Baker Lake. It will open up grand views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the Baker-Skagit River country. It will form an excellent loop drive up the Nooksack River, then down the Baker and Skagit rivers. It will also form an alternate route to Bellingham and Cascade from the North Cross-State Highway.
These high-standard Recreation Ways will open some parts of this country to automotive transportation for the first time. Several tracts of commercial timber, mineral depositssuch as the Monte Cristo areawill be readily accessible. A few privately owned lands will be more accessible also. Access to parts of the high country will be less difficult. Under these circumstances there will be a demand and need to use parts of the scenic roads for some commercial use. The commercial hauling will be generated, mostly, within the area itself. Use of the roads for cross-country commercial hauling will probably be very light, if any. In addition to commercial hauling there will be a demand and need to use the roads for heavy recreation-equipment traffic. This will be trucks and trailers for hauling riding and pack stock, camp and house trailers, and camper trucks. These types of traffic can be accommodated on such roads by implementing a system of traffic controls when and where necessary.
The routes will open top quality sites for overlooks, picnicking and camping areas. The Forest Service will develop these along with information centers, and other features to add to the enjoyment of the visitors.
VI. THE RECREATION RESOURCE IN THE REST OF THE STUDY AREA
Recreation is an important use of all the National Forest lands in the Study Area. Preceding portions of the report have discussed recreation emphasis in the special areas, in the primitive areas, and in the areas of wilderness. This portion discusses recreation use of the rest of the National Forest lands.
Recreation use of these National Forest lands has more than doubled in the last 10 years. It can be expected to more than double again in the next 10. The Forest Service now has 525 developed camp, picnic, and other recreation sites, including 7 winter sports sites. Recreation use accommodated in these sites, and for sightseeing, now runs about 3 million persons. In order to accommodate the expected doubling of recreation use in the next 10 years the Forest Service has plans to about double the existing number of recreation sites in the various categories of use. Sites for this expansion have been selected; generalized plans for most of it have been prepared; and detail plans covering work projected in the next 3 to 4 years have been worked out.
The Forest Service recognizes that people differ in what they want to satisfy their needs for outdoor recreation. Some feel that for a camping trip to be satisfying to them they should "rough it" to a considerable degree. They want only a minimum of development of the camping area. They prefer low-standard, little-traveled roads, or even only trail access. Other people are happier with more highly developed areas. They want surfaced roads and trails and modern toilet and water facilities. Many of them prefer camping near other people, where they can associate closely with fellow-campers.
The plan is to provide opportunities for different levels of experience and to guide visitors to the areas that will best satisfy their individual needs. The North Cascades Area offers opportunities for all levels of experience. The opportunities for wilderness or back-country experiences are outstanding and are being planned for. At the same time there are many opportunities for developments, for ordinary forest recreation, and for winter sports, and these also are being planned and developed.
Forest Service plans for recreation development and use are built around the idea of maximum freedom of opportunity for individual recreation users to follow their recreation pursuits with the least possible limitation or restraint. This is true of hunting and fishing as well as berry picking, rock hunting, wildlife photography, and other pleasurable pursuits. Limitations on use, such as closing some trails to motor scooters, or limiting use by pack stock, will be invoked where protection of the resource, or its enjoyment and use cannot be satisfactorily arranged for without such limitations.
VII. LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT AREAS
The land which lies adjacent to campground, lakeshores, major streams, and major recreation travel routes is managed differently than is land not so located. On such land, maintaining an environment that is attractive to recreation users is a main purpose of management. So they are called Landscape Management Areas. And they are managed so as to maintain an attractive landscape.
This concept recognizes that in the foreground, immediately adjacent to a campground, shoreline or road, maintaining an attractive landscape may require great differences in timber harvest or other resource management activities. Further back, the differences can be less.
The means used to manage these landscape areas vary with the conditions as found on the ground. Parts of a Landscape Management Area may be heavily timbered, while other sections may have open scattered tree cover. Some parts may be in the high, open country, and other parts along lake and river shores. These greatly differing situations require various management treatments to meet the objective of an attractive landscape.
In landscape management areas, the main management objectives are:
1. Management of all resources will be planned to keep soil in place, to maintain or improve its productivity, and its ability to absorb and store precipitation.
2. Watershed values will be given primary consideration by managers to promote optimum yields and deliveries of usable water in stable streamflows or subsurface supply.
3. Lands will be managed to maintain or enhance opportunities for more people to have both conventional outdoor recreation and wilderness experience with minimum modification of the landscape so as to maintain a near-natural, scenic appearance. Fish and wildlife management will be emphasized because of its importance in recreation pursuits.
In these areas, timber harvesting methods are designed to avoid large openings in the forest canopy, and to minimize logging disturbance. In foreground areas, timber removal may be limited to little more than removal of dead, dying, hazardous, and diseased trees. Farther in the background areas, more timber may be justifiably removed. Where a landscape management area lies in the Alpine Resource Association, only such timber is removed as is necessary for public safety, for recreation and water developments, for control of insect and disease epidemics, for salvage of extraordinary losses, and for needed administrative or occupancy improvements. Of course there is no timber harvest in areas of wilderness.
In these areas, recreation facilities to give people an opportunity to enjoy mountain scenery and activities, such developments may include roads, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic vistas, winter recreation sites, mountain resorts, tramways, and visitor information services. These facilities are designed to retain scenic qualities, recognizing the needs for both concentrated family recreation and more primitive-type recreation use.
Commercial facilities, such as lodges, resorts, and public service sites are permitted when there is a demonstrated public need which cannot be satisfied on private land. Other land occupancy will be permitted as needed to serve resource and administrative use. These facilities are to be located outside and back from the recreational developments along roads and streams and around lakes except for public service facilities which, because of their nature, must be in these areas. Rights-of-way such as for installation of powerlines, gaslines, ditches, and flumes are located out of the area, or designed to harmonize with the management objective.
Domestic livestock is permitted to graze in areas of suitable range and when this can be done to meet the management objective of the area.
The Forest Service has no control over prospecting and mining on valid claims filed under the General Mining Laws. However, miners and prospectors are encouraged to conduct their activities in a manner designed to maintain aesthetic values. Mineral materials permits are issued for commercial development of common materials, not subject to location under the mining laws, only when compatible with basic management objectives of the area. Sites to be developed for recreation or administrative use are recommended for withdrawal for mineral entry. Areas containing special interest materials, such as geodes, agate, jasper, and crystals, not in commercial quantity, are managed for public use and enjoyment.
The land which is within the range of vision of persons on the water surface of large areas of water, such as the surface of Lake Chelan, is usually within a landscape management area. Management prescriptions for the landscape management area adjacent to upper Lake Chelan will provide for only limited salvage-type cutting, and no clear cutting, visible from the lake surface.
VIII. TIMBER HARVESTING METHODS AND LIMITATIONS
The growing and harvesting of trees for lumber, pulp, and other wood products is one of the important industries in the study area. The growing of continuous crops of trees on a high-level production is science that ranks with scientific farming. Many conifer trees, especially Douglas-fir, grow best in stands of even age. Douglas-fir is classified as an intolerant species. This means that it does not readily reproduce itself in shaded areas. Trees that are more tolerant of shade, such as hemlock and fir, will replace Douglas-fir if left undisturbed over a long period of time. Douglas-fir is best reproduced in clear-cut areas where the ground following logging is cleaned up and the area seeded or planted immediately. In full sunlight, the young Douglas-fir grows rapidly and soon covers the area with healthy, attractive trees that are on their way to developing a new crop. This is, in a brief statement, the scientific way of growing continuous crops of Douglas-fir trees.
Old-growth stands may be handled on an individual tree selection basis providing it is possible to care for the stand by thinning the undergrowth and removing shade and competition from the young Douglas-fir trees. This is an expensive procedure unless markets are available for these products. It is justified in some areas such as planned and carried out in Landscape Management Areas.
Multiple use can only be accomplished on the ground in some sort of action programtimber sale, roadbuilding, revegetation, wildlife habitat projects, and others. In much of the North Cascades the big action programs are timber harvesting and roadbuilding. The two are closely tied together and many of the roads are built in connection with timber sales.
Multiple use planning provides for coordination of uses at different levels of emphasis in each of the Resource Management Associations in the North Cascades. This means that in merchantable timbered areas the harvesting practices are blended into a coordinated program providing for some wildlife habitat, scenery, watershed protection, and some range forage considerations. This coordination is accomplished on the ground through timber salesthe big action program.
Roads are built which serve recreation and other uses as well as timber. Timber is harvested by individual tree selection in some areas, and in small clear-cut patches in others. This type of patch cutting is of great benefit to wildlife. There are many deer and other wildlife on the timbered areas of the west slopes of the Cascades due to these prescribed timber harvesting practices. The aesthetic requirements in the Landscape Management Areas and Alpine Resource Association require individual tree selection and small, scattered patch cutting which are good watershed protection measures and make good wildlife habitat.
The entire multiple use management program is designed to give the greatest value to the people of America. It is a planned pattern of use of the available and potential resources that does not give maximum return for any one resource but which does give the greatest overall benefit. The timber harvesting program is an important phase of accomplishing this planned multiple use program.
IX. COOPERATION WITH MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Park Service personnel of Mount Rainier National Park and Forest Service personnel of the adjoining Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot National Forests work together closely in coordinating overall and detailed planning and operational phases of their activities. It is the policy of the Forest Service to continue these close working relationships and coordination.
2. A joint Park Service-Forest Service study of the boundary situation around Mount Rainier might be desirable in the near future. The objective of such a study should be to:
a. Determine areas needed for a fully coordinated development program that will best and most efficiently serve the overall public need; and
b. Utilize the available sites and resources for the types of recreation and other uses for which they are best suited.
Data and reasons that have been discussed for changes in the boundaries have not been jointly studied and reviewed to the point where any recommendations or concurrence can be made by the Forest Service at this time.
Last Updated: 26-Mar-2010