The directive to the North Cascades Study Team from the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture states,
The recommendations are obviously the key part of the report. These are based on the various resource reports, all the other background information and personal experience and judgment available to the study team, individual agency recommendations of both the National Park Service and the Forest Service, and by the public hearing record.
Prior to enumeration of the recommendations and a discussion of them, there are first summarized the separate proposals of both the National Park Service and the Forest Service. Also, as preliminary to the recommendations, the results of the hearing record are summarized.
At the conclusion of the recommendations, there is an appraisal of their economic impact and, also, the individual views of the team members are stated to the extent each individual decided to offer them. These views were necessarily addressed to the review draft of August 30, 1965, which immediately preceded this final report. To the extent that the chairman felt able to accept these comments, they have been incorporated in, or are reflected in, this report. To the extent that this has been done, therefore, the comments of the study team members are not applicable. Nevertheless, they are of real value.
Among the major issues confronting the study team were: (1) Should there be a new National Park; (2) How much Wilderness is enough; (3) How best to provide for the more conventional types of recreation desired by the great mass of people; (4) How to reconcile national and local interests when the two appear to conflict; (5) How to utilize and manage the timber resource in harmony with other multiple uses of the area; and (6) The extent to which scenic roads should be an essential ingredient in making the North Cascades available to large numbers of people.
The individual agency recommendations are given in full in the appendices. They are summarized here. The purpose of this is to make available in both complete and summary form the separate views of the two agencies directly concerned in management of the Federal lands in the area. Obviously these recommendations were given careful consideration by the study team.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The statement by the National Park Service appears in complete form as Appendix C. That service made the following eight recommendations:
"1. The Service proposes an enlarged Mount Rainier National Park to provide an eastside environment with visitor facilities and interpretive services developed as an integral part of the park complex. An extension to the south to include the remainder of the Tatoosh Range is also proposed.
"2. The National Park Service recommends the magnificent heartland of wild country in the Alpine Lakes and Mount Stuart and Enchantment Lakes region as a Wilderness area, which could be the core of a larger surrounding recreation region.
"3. The National Park Service recommends a National Park surrounding Glacier Peak.
"4. National Park status should be accorded that climatic Cascade country occurring from the Skagit Valley to the Canadian boundary, west of Ross Lake, embracing Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, the Picket Range, and adjacent mountain country.
"5. East of Ross Lake a North Cascade Wilderness Area should be established to protect a primitive region that is ideal for wilderness travel and experience.
"6. In the region north and east of Glacier Peak the recreation lands are so outstanding, having, as they do, major water resources and scenic values of their own complementary to the area qualifying as a park that National Recreation Area designation is recommended there.
"7. Design and development of a system of scenic drives and parkways in the Cascades region should receive high priority.
"8. The recreational lands around Baker and Ross Lakes; those surrounding the wilderness heartland of the Alpine Lakes and Mount Stuart, and the land to the east of Mount Rainier National Park and its proposed eastward extension, are also of especial value in serving both State and out-of-State needs, and offer a wide variety of recreation opportunity. This is also true of the Okanogan Country. These areas should be given special protection and management for recreational use."
Figure 29 illustrates the following recommendations of the National Park Service in relation to existing areas dedicated for recreation:
1. Recommended extensions on the south and east sides of Mount Rainier.
2. A proposed new Wilderness area in the Alpine Lakes-Mount Stuart region.
3. A proposed extension of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area on the western boundary.
4. A proposed new Eldorado Peaks-Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, encompassing the Eldorado Peaks High Country, a segment of the eastern shore of Lake Chelan, and extending south and west to border the north and east boundaries of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.
5. A proposed Okanogan Wilderness which would be essentially the same as that part of the North Cascades Primitive Area east of Ross Lake.
6. A proposed Mount Baker National Park which would embrace Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, the Picket Range, and extending from roughly the Skagit River Valley on the south to the Canadian boundary, and east to Ross Lake.
The Forest Service views and recommendations are given in complete form in Appendix B.
The resource and land management plans of that agency call for the following 11 actions:
"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 system in the National Forest area 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."
The details of the Forest Service plans with respect to Wilderness areas are given in Appendix B. These include enlargement of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, reclassification and enlargement of the North Cascade Primitive Area, establishment of three additional Wilderness areasAlpine Lakes, Enchantment, and Mount Aix.
In addition, the Forest Service proposes to manage certain areas with special emphasis on recreation, including Eldorado Peaks High Country, the Mount Baker Recreation Area, Mather Memorial Parkway, and the Cougar Lake Area. It proposes four recreation ways: Curry Gap, Cady Pass, Harts Pass, and Austin Pass.
With respect to the Eldorado Peaks, 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 in figure 30, in accordance with the policy directive established by the Secretary of Agriculture and referred to above.
3. To develop a system of public access and recreation use facilities.
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 other authorized activities such as water impoundments or rights-of-way.
5. To do no additional road construction utilizing funds on authority of the Forest Service in Bridge Creek or in the Stehekin Valley.
Figure 31 shows Forest Service proposals in relation to existing dedicated recreation areas. These include:
1. A proposed southerly extension of Mount Rainier National Park to include 7,000 acres.
2. A new Mount Aix Wilderness Area of 45,000 acres.
3. A new Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of 150,000 acres.
4. A new Enchantment Wilderness Area of 30,000 acres.
5. Small westerly extension of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the Suiattle and White Chuck River Valleys, which would include about 10,000 acres.
6. A northeasterly extension of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area of about 20,000 acres extending from Riddle Creek up the Stehekin Valley to Cascade Pass.1
7. An Eldorado Peaks High Country area of 537,000 acres.
8. A new North Cascades Wilderness Area of 813,000 acres, which would be approximately the same size as the present North Cascade Primitive Area, and
9. Maintenance of the existing Mount Baker Recreation Area.
The record of public hearings that were held in October 1963 had a consequential impact on views of the study team.
After the first day of testimony at Wenatchee, it was readily apparent that as far as those appearing were concerned only two issues were involved. These were (1) whether existing administration by the Forest Service and its policy of multiple use should be endorsed and (2) in contravention to this should there be another National Park in the North Cascades and additional areas preserved in Wilderness classification.
The bulk of the testimony at Mount Vernon and Wenatchee favored continuation of Forest Service management and administration. The reasons most commonly given were that the local and State economy would be adversely affected if additional National Forest lands were put in Wilderness areas or given National Park status; that the counties would be adversely affected with regard to their portion of the 25 percent fund which they receive from National Forest revenues; and that hunting opportunities would be lost to sportsmen under National Park status.
During the hearings in Wenatchee and Mount Vernon there was testimony favoring Wilderness area and a National Park but the bulk of such views were expressed at the Seattle hearings. Substantial numbers of conservationists, professional people and individual citizens favored a park proposal, recommended protection and preservation of the scenic qualities of the North Cascades, or expressed the view that the Forest Service could not withstand the economic pressure that might be brought to bear by industry and local communities.
Despite the presence of both Forest Service and National Park Service in the area for many years, it was evident throughout the hearings that a great many citizens do not understand the management policies of the two agencies.
Of the 216 witnesses who gave oral testimony, 126 endorsed Forest Service management, whereas 87 recommended a change in policy or administration generally favoring either more Wilderness areas or creation of a National Park.
The record was held open following the hearings until November 15. Of the 2,375 statements received following the close of the hearing and before the close of the record, the ratio was about four to one in favor of establishing a National Park in the North Cascades.
Figure 32 summarizes the views received during and following the hearings.
Figure 32 Summary of testimony, both oral and written statements, including petitions, submitted for the record during and after the public hearings of October 7-11, 1963, relating to the North Cascades Study Area.
Some 1,278 petitions carrying about 23,000 signatures were submitted to the study team. The great bulk of these, however, were petitions that were processed in 1960 and 1961 and simply recommended that a study of the potential of a National Park be made in the North Cascades. This of course is within the purview of the study team. Six petitions with some 1,875 signatures favored Forest Service management.
Of the 2,591 written or oral statements, about 90 percent were by individuals speaking for themselves. About 10 percent were on behalf of a large variety of organizations, local, State, and national. Some of these organizations have memberships running into the thousands. An indication of the kind, number, and general position of various organizational groups follows:
A great variety of views are expressed in the testimony, written statements and petitions. Among other things, the hearings demonstrated:
1. Widespread and deep-seated interest in the assignment of the study team and its recommendation.
2. Popular feeling that the issue could be over-simplified into a National Park or not a National Park.
3. Recognition of the controversial nature of the resource issues, but not of their complexity.
4. Most individuals who expressed themselves favored a National Park, whereas most organizations and groups with an economic interest in the resources did not.
5. The center of support for a National Park was found in the urban areas and the center of opposition in the rural areas.
The following recommendations are grouped into seven categories: (1) Wilderness Areas, (2) North Cascades National Park, (3) Mount Rainier National Park, (4) Other Recreation Areas, (5) Scenic Roads and Trails, (6) Timber Management, (7) Other.
The following recommendations reflect the views of the chairman of the study team. Views of the other members of the team differ in some major respects and in numerous minor respects. To the extent the other team members desired to express their differing views, they appear later in the report in the individual statements prepared by the other team members. To properly evaluate the recommendations or alternative possibilities, there should be careful study of these individual views.
There are 21 recommendations. Five deal with Wilderness areas; one with a North Cascades National Park; two with Mount Rainier National Park; four with other recreation areas; two with scenic roads and trails; one with timber management; and six on other aspects of the area, including fish and wildlife, and water and power developments.
Of the 21 recommendations, 10 will require action by the Congress, and 11 may be implemented by administrative decision. Those recommendations requiring congressional action are Nos. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, XIII, XVI, XVIII.
Figure 33 shows recommended new and revised management areas in relation to existing designations. This is a key map and summarizes visually a number of the major recommendations, including those relating to Alpine Lakes, Enchantment, Glacier Peak and Okanogan Wilderness areas, the North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks, Mount Baker Recreation Area, and the Skagit Wild River.
Figure 34 shows the proposed system of scenic roads recommended by the study team. It also shows the Cascade Crest Trail.
Recommendation I. An Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area should be established.
On the crest of the Cascade Mountains, between Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass, is an extremely beautiful area of high mountain lakes and peaks believed to be unmatched elsewhere in the country. Much of this area has been in limited area status under Forest Service management.
The team concurs with the Forest Service proposal to create a Wilderness area of some 150,000 acres. The area clearly meets the standards for classification as Wilderness. Some additional miles of low standard trails should be developed for camping, hiking, riding, hunting, and similar wilderness pursuits.
Recommendation II. An Enchantment Wilderness Area should be established.
This is an area of about 30,000 acres in the Mount Stuart Range lying east of the recommended Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. It is an area of outstanding scenic qualities, of sharp contrasts in elevation and topography, of challenging mountain climbing, and without roads.
The National Park Service recommended that the Alpine Lakes and Enchantment areas be combined into one, but the Forest Service recommended that the two areas be kept separate in order to permit better access and the development of a connecting road between Leavenworth and Cle Elum Lake via Icicle Creek, Jack Creek and the pass northwest of Ingalls Peak to Fortune Creek and down the Cle Elum River. The study team agreed with the Forest Service and recommends two separate Wilderness areas.
Recommendation III. A Mount Aix Wilderness Area should be established.
About 10 miles east of Mount Rainier is an isolated group of rough ridges and clustered mountain peaks with sharp elevational contrasts, rugged beauty, and spectacular scenery. The main peaks are: Mount Aix, Bismark Peak, Rattlesnake Peaks, Timberwolf Mountain, and Ironstone Mountain. This area is located southeast of Bumping Lake.
The study team concurs in the Forest Service proposal to establish in this area a Wilderness unit of about 45,000 acres. The approximate boundaries are shown in figure 33.
Recommendation IV. The present boundaries of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area should be extended in three respects: (1) the northeast perimeter should be extended to the Stehekin River, (2) the Suiattle River corridor should be adjusted, and (3) the White Chuck River corridor should be adjusted.
The team agrees that it would be desirable to extend the boundary of the northeast perimeter of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area 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, thence south along the Cascade Summit to the present boundary at Trapper Mountain.
It is also recommended that the Suiattle and White Chuck River corridors into the Wilderness area be reduced by adjusting the present boundary of the Wilderness as shown in figure 33. The revised boundary in the Suiattle corridor would run from the Suiattle River at the mouth of Milk Creek north a short distance, then generally parallel to the river to a point on Sulphur Creek about a half mile upstream from the Suiattle River, then north to Downey Mountain and then west to the present boundary at Green Mountain.
In the White Chuck River Valley, the change would move the Wilderness area boundary west about 2 miles to an irregular north-south line roughly coinciding with the mouth of Pumice Creek.
The three extensions in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area boundary would roughly add about 39,000 acres to the present Wilderness area.
Recommendation V. An Okanogan Wilderness Area should be established.
This area would consist of about 495,000 acres and follow approximately the boundaries of that portion of the North Cascade Primitive Area which lies east of Ross Lake. About a township on the extreme east end of the Primitive area would be eliminated.
NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK
Recommendation VI. There should be established a North Cascades National Park extending from a few miles below the head of Lake Chelan, northwestward including the Eldorado Peaks area, Thunder Creek and Granite Creek drainages, Ross and Diablo Lakes, the Picket Range, and generally that part of the North Cascade Primitive Area lying west of Ross Lake, and Mount Shuksan. A condition of the recommendation is that adequate access be developed by road, trail, water, and air, including aerial tram and helicopter. A second condition is that the enabling legislation retain the status quo with respect to distribution of National Forest receipts between affected counties.
This recommendation is not unanimous among the team. Representatives of the Department of Agriculture do not favor establishment of another National Park in the area. Representatives of the Department of the Interior favor a new National Park, but propose different boundaries and would include Mount Baker. The varying views of the team members are subsequently expressed.
The recommendation to establish a North Cascades National Park is conditioned upon development of adequate facilities and means of entry so that the large numbers of park visitors can have access to the spectacular and majestic mountain scenery, snow fields, glaciers, and other attractions of the North Cascades. Means of access must not be limited by the National Park Service to the traditional roads and trails. This area calls for more imaginative and creative treatment, utilizing helicopters, trains, perhaps funiculars and narrow-gage railroad. The recommendation is also conditioned upon noninterference with the needs of Seattle City Light on Ross and Diablo Lakes.
Enabling legislation should include provisions to maintain the status quo of the present proportionate distribution of National Forest receipts among affected counties.
The question of a National Park in the North Cascades has recurred for many years and is undoubtedly the most controversial of the issues involved. A park, or not a park, is the crux of the questions which have faced the study team.
Description of Area
There is no question as to the physical qualifications of the area for National Park status. This is not at issue. The Eldorado Peaks area, the Picket Range, Mount Shuksan, the upper part of Lake Chelan, the Stehekin River, and Thunder and Granite Creek valleys are undisputed as to their uniqueness and scenic grandeur.
The recommended area is not the same as any previous National Park proposal. Yet, it is recommended by both the Forest Service and the National Park Service as primarily of value for recreation.
The recommended North Cascades National Park would encompass about 698,000 acres, of which 15,000 acres would be water surface, primarily Ross and Diablo Lakes and a portion of Lake Chelan. Of the total area, 658,000 acres, 94 percent, is already dedicated primarily to recreation: 314,000 acres are in the North Cascade Primitive Area, 329,000 acres in the Eldorado Peaks High Country, and 15,000 acres in Mount Baker Recreation Area (fig. 36).
The proposed National Park would be created from portions of the Mount Baker and Wenatchee National Forests. Eighty-two percent is presently part of the Mount Baker National Forest, and 18 percent is part of the Wenatchee National Forest. Sixty percent of the land is in Whatcom County, 22 percent in Skagit County, and 18 percent in Chelan County (fig. 36).
Figure 36 Area of the proposed North Cascades National Park, by land and water areas, by National Forest by county, by present land status.
The specific area proposed is shown in figure 35. It is described in more detail as follows, but it should be made clear that the indicated boundaries and description are reasonable approximations and are not necessarily firm as to detail.
Over 99 percent of the land area is federally owned. There are small acreages of private lands at the lower end of the Stehekin River Valley. These should be acquired by the National Park Service. There are some privately owned lands, largely patented mining claims, at the head of Thunder Creek just north of Boston Glacier and other small areas in the vicinity of Cascade Pass.
Diablo and Ross Dams would be within the recommended park. The Gorge Dam and powerhouse are outside the area. Any bill to create a National Park should permit the continued operations of the Seattle City Light on the main stem of the Skagit River within the park boundaries, including Ross and Diablo Lakes.
In considering the National Park proposal, it is essential to understand what resources would be included within the park.
The proposed park area of 698,000 acres has been classified by both the Forest Service and the National Park Service according to the recreation management classes recommended by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (fig. 37). Although the agencies differ somewhat in their application of these criteria, there is general agreement upon classification of 25-30 percent of the proposed park as unique natural areas, 30-45 percent as Primitive areas, and 30-40 percent as natural environment areas.
Figure 37 Area of proposed North Cascades National Park, by ORRRC outdoor recreation resource management classes, Forest Service Landscape Management classes, and forest and non-forest areas.
The classifications by the two agencies are shown graphically in figures 38 and 39.
A further classification of the resources has been made according to the Forest Service high mountain policy statement. This shows that in addition to the 314,000 acres now in the North Cascade Primitive Area, some 327,000 acres are classified either in the landscape management areas under all four associations, or in the residual portion of the Alpine association. This leaves only 42,000 acres not subject to the special type of management applied by the Forest Service to Alpine and to landscape management areas. The classification of the proposed park according to the resource management associations of the Forest Service appears in figure 40.
The significance of this is that 92 percent of the proposed park area is already classified by the Forest Service as having primary recreation, soil and watershed values (fig. 37).
Of the 683,000 acres of land in the proposed park, only 3 percent, or 19,000 acres, is commercial timber land now available that would be reserved. Some 6,000 additional acres of commercial forest land is included in that portion of the North Cascade Primitive Area which would be made part of the park. This is already reserved (figs. 37 and 41).
The available commercial forest land consists of narrow stringers located primarily in three localities: along Granite Creek, Thunder Creek, and the Stehekin River. The reserved commercial forest land is in small parcels bordering Ross Lake and near the Canadian line along the Chilliwack River.
If the average stand per acre of currently available commercial forest land is estimated at about 19,000 board feet per acre, this means that about 355 million board feet would be included in the park that would otherwise be available. This is less than half of 1 percent of the total sawtimber volume available in the Study Area.1
Two-thirds of the recommended park, 475,000 acres, is noncommercial forest land and about 28 percent is nonforest, meaning grasslands, Alpine meadows, bare rock and snow and ice fields (figs. 37 and 41). The large acreage of noncommercial forest is so classed due to steep slopes, fragile soils, poor quality, or inaccessibility.
A very fewless than 10small timber sales have been made in the Stehekin River drainage by the Forest Service, but these have either been completed or are inactive at the present. No additional sales are planned. No timber sales are planned in Thunder Creek, Granite Creek or Panther Creek through fiscal year 1967. There are no other timber sale plans in the area.
All of the available commercial timberland in the proposed park falls within the landscape management classification of the Forest Service and in the Eldorado Peaks High Country area wherein, according to the Forest Service, only such timber removal would be performed "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 other authorized activities, such as water impoundments and rights-of-way."
The proposed National Park would include seven grazing allotments and parts of two others. However, all of these allotments are closed except part of the Stehekin River Cattle Allotment. About 14,000 acres of this one allotment are in the proposed park. The closed or vacant allotments total about 45,000 acres (fig. 42).
With respect to potential reservoir sites, the most significant one in the proposed park is the Thunder Creek dam and power site. This dam, if constructed by Seattle City Light, would inundate about 1,500 acres, most of which is commercial timberland. The Copper Creek proposal of the same company is well outside the proposed park and above the recommended Wild River segment of the Skagit. A proposal to raise the height of Ross Dam by 125 feet would inundate a substantial additional acreage but would not significantly affect in an adverse manner the National Park proposal if drawdowns are minimized or controlled. Existing and potential reservoir development projects within the park are shown in figure 43.
There is no real way to assess the mineral potential in the proposed National Park. It is known that there are a large number of mining claims, both within the North Cascade Primitive Area portion and the southeastern portion in the Cascade Pass-Stehekin River-Ruby Creek area. Many of the claims are very old and have never been active.
Fishing would not be affected because fishing, habitat development, and stocking are allowed in a National Park.
The proposed park includes substantial areas of deer and elk winter range along the shores of Ross and Diablo Lakes and up Thunder Creek. There is also a substantial acreage of deer and elk winter range in the area between Mount Redoubt and Whatcom Peak in the North Cascade Primitive Area.
The area proposed for a park is mountain goat range. There is no question but that hunting of deer, elk, and mountain goats would be adversely affected. Figure 44, based on the study team's fish and wildlife resources report indicates, however, that there are no major hunting areas within the proposed park.
Of the 285,000 Washington State big game hunters, about 25 percent, or 70,00075,000, hunt in the total Study Area. Eighty percent of these are deer hunters. Perhaps 500 to 600 are goat hunters.
There is no known way of estimating what proportion of the hunters who use the Study Area would cease to hunt because of establishment of the park. The probable effect would be to increase the hunting load in the remainder of the Study Area, rather than to reduce the number of hunters. Since the number of big game is greater than the supply of summer feed, the effect might be to accelerate the over-utilization of summer feed by big game in the proposed National Park and thus create feed supply problems similar to those which have occurred in some other National Parks.
The relationship of some significant features of the proposed National Park to the total Study Area is shown statistically and by chart in figure 45.
Figure 45 Relation of the proposed North Cascades National Park to the North Cascades Study Areas by total land area, available commercial forest areas and sawtimber, ORRRC recreation resource classes, area dedicated primarily to recreation, and existing and potential water resource development projects.
The park would include about 11 percent of the Study Area, but less than 1 percent of the available forest land and less than 1 percent of the available sawtimber. It would include about one-fourth of the areas presently dedicated to recreation and very significant proportions of the unique natural and primitive areas found in the Study Area.
Agency Plans for the Area
Neither the Forest Service nor the National Park Service has specific plans applying precisely to the the area recommended for inclusion in a National Park because the proposal is not one that has been previously advanced. However, both agencies do have plans that apply to some extent.
About 314,000 acres of the recommended park are in what is presently the North Cascade Primitive Area. Under Forest Service plans, this portion would continue to be administered by the Forest Service as Wilderness area in accordance with provisions of the Wilderness Act. A detailed discussion of this area concerning its natural resource features, its timber and cover types, its recreation use, grazing, mineral and wildlife resources, and proposed boundary adjustments appears in a "Report on Proposed North Cascades Wilderness Area of February 6, 1962," prepared for administrative use only by the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service.
About 329,000 acres is included in what the Forest Service would define as the Eldorado Peaks High Country. This area plus roads, trail, and development facilities is shown in figure 30. Forest Service plans for the administration of the area are described in some detail in Appendix B, including statistics on highways, trails, recreation, fish and wildlife, timber, forage and water power.
National Park Service
The National Park Service recommends a Mount Baker National Park which is quite different from the recommendation contained herein for a North Cascades National Park. Preliminary plans for visitor access include roads, helicopter areas, trains, boats, trails, visitor centers, lodges, and major campgrounds. These plans are shown diagrammatically in figure 46.
One of the conditions prerequisite to recommending a North Cascades National Park is that adequate access and use facilities be developed by the National Park Service in the area. This is intended to include that portion of the proposed park which is now within the North Cascade Primitive Area. Figure 46 does not adequately reflect this concept. The National Park Service development plans for the park should contemplate better access into the northern part of the park.
Major Considerations in Recommending a National Park
A great many factors were considered in arriving at the conclusion to recommend a National Park. Among these were the physical characteristics of the area, the need for making the area available to significant numbers of people, the minimal adverse impact on resources such as timber, the economic benefits that would accrue from the establishment of a Park, the value of a National Park name, and the relationship of the park proposal to the other recommendations.
The sum total of the recommendations needs to be evaluated as a package rather than simply as a question of having a National Park or not. The recommendations are interrelated and interdependent.
Insofar as physical features are concerned, the question of whether the North Cascades area meets National Park criteria is not debatable. The area obviously includes the unique physical, natural or geological features necessary to qualify for National Park status. More than this, the proposed park would become one of the outstanding units of the whole National Park System because of its superlative mountain features.
One of the key considerations was that the recommendation for a park be conditioned upon its being developed for mass recreation use and that adequate access be provided by road, trail, water and air. The North Cross-State Highway under construction will provide main access from both east and west. Lake Chelan will provide a unique avenue of access. Ross and Diablo Lakes will provide unique access to certain portions of the Park. Side roads are contemplated where feasible. A scenic road is recommended down the east side of Ross Lake to provide major highway access from Canada.
One of the most significant justifications for a National Park is that under Forest Service management about one-half of the area would be in Wilderness status where now only about 1,000-2,000 people visit per year. Under the National Park proposal, this area would be made available to large numbers of people who either do not wish, are unable, do not have the time, or cannot afford wilderness-type travel.
The volume of wilderness area use in the Study Area indicates that despite the very large area devoted to Wilderness, relatively few people make use of these areas.
It is also important to bear in mind that additional Wilderness areas are proposed, such as the Alpine Lakes, Enchantment, Mount Aix, and some expansion of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. It is felt that there will be sufficient area dedicated to Wilderness in the North Cascades and that it is more important to dedicate the superlative and unique character of this area for National Park use and development, rather than to place more lands into the Wilderness category.
The establishment of a park would have little or no adverse effect on the utilization of timber, grazing of domestic livestock, or fishing. There is very little commercial timber in the area and it is not being operated at present.
There is no significant mineral development in the proposed park area.
With respect to water and power, it is recommended that the park be established in such a way that it will not interfere with the development of the water and power potential of the affected portion of the main stem of the Skagit River.
The question of a Thunder Creek dam and reservoir should be determined by the Congress either at the time the park is created or at a later time when and if the project becomes imminent.
The creation of a National Park by act of Congress not only would give the area statutory protection for park purposes but also could, if the Congress so wished, provide status quo with respect to distribution of National Forest receipts among counties, assure that modern means of aerial access would be utilized by the Park Service to get people into the area for day or weekend trips, and protect foreseeable needs for water and power development.
The Forest Service could continue its administration of the area as it has in the past and in accord with its plans for the future. However, under Forest Service administration, there would not be the statutory assurance that there would be under creation of a park by the Congress.
Likewise, under Forest Service administration, much of the area is planned for continued Wilderness area use and would be inaccessible to most people.
Both the Forest Service and the National Park Service are competent, highly respected, and dedicated agencies. Despite the great advances made by the Forest Service in recent years in recreation matters, the National Park Service properly is recognized as the agency which should administer and develop the extraordinary, unique and outstanding National Park-type areas of the Nation.
With the establishment of the proposed National Park, the area would be transferred to the administration of the National Park Service. This loss of jurisdiction by the Forest Service should not be a controlling factor in Forest Service evaluation of the recommendation. However, the study team recognizes that jurisdictional questions may be a controlling factor in influencing agency position. Despite possible jurisdictional feelings because both agencies are aggressive and jealous of the areas under their control the fact remains that there would still be a Mount Baker National Forest of 1,255,000 acres even with the creation of a National Park. Likewise, there would still be a Wenatchee National Forest of 1,607,000 acres.
In summation, it would appear that the major factors favoring establishment of a North Cascades National Park are the statutory assurance of protection and continuity of the Park if created by Congress, the obvious natural characteristics of the area for a National Park, the economic benefits that could be expected from, increased tourism to the area, the opening of much of the area to mass recreation use rather than continued dedication of nearly half of it for Wilderness area use, the economic advantages that would accrue to the area through its having the benefit of National Park stature, and the fact that all of this can be done without adversely affecting tax rolls, utilization of timber, or other natural resources of the area.
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Recommendation VII. The southern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park should be extended to include about 11 sections of National Forest land in the vicinity of Tatoosh Ridge.
This proposed extension has been agreed to by both the Forest Service and the National Park Service. It is described as follows:
Starting at the junction of the Tatoosh Mountain Range and the National Park boundary in the northwest quarter of Section 4, T. 14 N., R. 9 E., and continue in a southeasterly direction following the crest of the Tatoosh Range to the north quarter corner of Section 22, T. 14 N., R. 9 E., from which point continue east along the section line on the north side of Sections 22, 23, and 24 to the northeast corner of Section 24, T. 14 N., R. 9 E.; from that point continue 1/2 mile north along the section line to the west quarter corner of Section 18, T. 14 N., R. 10 E., from which point continue due east across Ohanapecosh River to State Highway No. 14, in the eastern portion of Section 19, T. 14 N., R. 10 E.; from which point continue in a northerly direction along the western edge of the right-of-way for State Highway No. 14, to the existing National Park boundary in the eastern portion of Section 8, T. 14 N., R. 10 E.
The Study Team concurs in this recommendation of the two agencies.
Recommendation VIII. There should be effective coordination and management between Mount Rainier National Park and surrounding National Forest lands executed through inter-bureau arrangements or cooperative agreements.
A start has been made in this direction. The superintendent of the Mount Rainier National Park and the concerned National Forest supervisors have collaborated in initiating coordinated planning to care effectively for the large number of expected visitors to the National Park. National Forest lands and facilities bordering the park will need to be used in a manner that is coordinated with park administration. The study team commends the "Coordinated Planning Report for Mount Rainier National Park and Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot National Forests, January, 1965" that the two agencies have initiated and recommends that this be continued and made an effective management instrument by both agencies. Master planning for the National Park should be carried forward aggressively.
The two agencies have a common management problem in their need to not destroy the fragile wilderness conditions of certain areas under their administration while at the same time making these areas available for the use and enjoyment of people. These problems involve the natural fragility of Wilderness areas, problems of sanitation, abuse of terrain, and utilization of pack stock. The two agencies should coordinate their expertise in the management of Wilderness areas.
OTHER RECREATION AREAS
Recommendation IX. Mount Baker and most of the surrounding Recreation Area should continue to be administered by the Forest Service and managed in accord with its plans for the area as described in Appendix B.
An all-year highway leads to Heather Meadows by way of the Nooksack River from Bellingham. Trails lead from the end of the road to Mount Baker on the west and Mount Shuksan on the east. A recreation way is proposed from Heather Meadows across Austin Pass and south to connect with the present road at Baker Lake. This will provide am outstanding scenic loop year long. Heather Meadows is developed for summer and winter use and receives about 100,000 visitors for winter sports alone each year. Two new chair lifts for the ski slopes are contemplated. A new lodge is in the planning stage. Mount Baker and the Heather Meadows area should not be included in a National Park.
Recommendation X. The Cougar Lake and Monte Cristo Peak Limited Areas should be declassified as such and administered by the Forest Service in accord with its normal multiple-use management policies.
The Cougar Lake Limited Area is close to the eastern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. It is a prospective location for campgrounds and other developed recreation facilities and could take some of the pressure off Mount Rainier National Park. The area should be managed primarily for recreation use in coordination with the needs of Mount Rainier National Park. It is not recommended that it be classified under the Wilderness Act.
A substantial acreage and volume of commercially valuable National Forest timber will be transferred from the reserved to the available category by declassifying the Cougar Lake area.
Recommendation XI. The Eldorado Peaks High Country should continue to be developed by the Forest Service for recreation pending establishment of the North Cascades National Park.
The recommended park would include a substantial portion of the Eldorado Peaks High Country. The recreation potential, opportunities, and needs in the area are such that it would be unwise for the Forest Service to cease development of the area as contemplated pending Congressional decision on establishment of the recommended park.
Recommendation XII. The Forest Service and the National Park Service, in anticipation of increased recreational load in the Study Area for camping, picnicking, driving for pleasure, winter sports and other normal outdoor recreation pursuits, should aggressively pursue their respective plans to provide needed facilities to accommodate the prospective demand as foreseen for the next 20 years.
SCENIC ROADS AND TRAILS
Recommendation XIII. Because of the relative inaccessibility of the Study Area, the great popularity of driving for pleasure as a recreation pursuit, and the importance of making much more of the North Cascades available to large numbers of people, high priority should be given to the construction of an adequate system of scenic roads.
The study team was supplied with the independent recommendations of the Forest Service, National Park Service, and the State of Washington. The latter was in connection with a report on a national system of scenic roads or parkways being prepared for the Recreation Advisory Council under the leadership of the Department of Commerce.
The National Park Service recommendations included those of the Forest Service, plus numerous others. The State of Washington overlapped many of the Federal proposals and also included some that were not made by either Federal agency.
There is considerable mileage of low-class roads in the area, much of which has been constructed either by the Forest Service or by timber contractors for log hauling purposes. These roads need improvements in the way of surfacing and/or turnouts to make them suitable for scenic use. The total mileage of forest highways and forest development roads is 5,500.
Figure 34 shows a proposed scenic road network largely as contemplated by the National Park Service. It distinguishes between (1) existing roads, (2) roads where improvements are recommended to make them meet scenic road standards, (3) roads under construction, and (4) potential new roads. The map also shows roads recommended by the Forest Service and additional roads proposed by the State of Washington, and a recommended road down Ross Lake from Canada.
The Forest Service gives the highest priority to routes through Curry Gap, Cady Pass, Harts Pass, and Austin Pass.
The Curry Gap road would extend from the Stevens Pass highway up the Beckler River, over Curry Gap and down the Sauk River to Darrington. It would rise through timber, sub-Alpine and Alpine-type terrain and provide magnificent vistas of mountain scenery.
The Cady Pass route would start at Curry Gap Recreation Way, climb to the Cascade Summit at Cady Pass, and down the Little Wenatchee River to U.S. Highway 2 near Lake Wenatchee.
The Harts Pass route would leave the North Cross-State Highway near Ross Lake, climb through timber and Alpine terrain to the Harts Pass crest, and then go down the east slope to the Methow River near Washington State Highway No. 20, formerly No. 16.
The Austin Pass route would tunnel from Heather Meadows under Austin Pass and down Baker River to tie with the present road system at Baker Lake.
The team gave special attention to the advisability of a north-south highway along the crest of the North Cascades. It was persuaded that such a road would be undesirable because of the land scarring, erosion, severe weather conditions and terrific costs. It was concluded also that a cut-off route from the Cascade River up to the crest of the Hidden Lake Peaks along Boston Peak, and connecting with the North Cross-State Highway at the upper end of Granite Creek would likewise be unfeasible.
Consideration should be given to the desirability and practicality of road access from Canada down the east side of Ross Lake, connecting the North Cross-State Highway to Highway No. 3 in British Columbia. Highway 3 in turn joins Highway No. 1 at Hope on the Fraser River. There is already a private logging road in British Columbia down the Skagit River to the north end of Ross Lake. Such a route connection would provide easy access to the North Cascades National Park from Vancouver and also from Banff and Jasper National Parks in British Columbia.
In summation, there appear to be reasonable possibilities of a scenic road network of about 920 miles in the Study Area of which, over two-thirds are existing roads and the remainder need either improvements or construction (fig. 47). The development of an adequate scenic road network is one of the highest priority proposals of the study team.
Figure 47 Proposals for scenic roads and parkways in the North Cascades Study Area, by agencies
There are two waterway access routes to the North Cascades that are unique and deserving of special mention. One is by boat or float plane from Chelan on the east side, up the length of 55-mile long Lake Chelan into the heart of the area. The other is from existing Highway 20, formerly No. 17 to Diablo Lake and north through Diablo and Ross Lakes about 25 miles to the Canadian line.
Recommendation XIV. An adequate recreation trail system is needed in the North Cascades. The Cascade Crest Trail in particular should be adequately developed, maintained and equipped with signs.
Within the Study Area, there are 5,500 miles of trails in the Forest Service Transportation System, 40 percent of which is currently considered inadequate. In addition, there are more than 300 miles of trails in Mount Rainier National Park.
A great many miles of Forest Service trails were constructed initially for fire protection and suppression, or other administrative purposes. Most of these trails, however, have recreational value. The Forest Service goal is to make needed improvements for recreational purposes on 2,275 miles of trails and to construct 430 additional miles.
Within the Study Area, there are 341 miles of the Cascades Crest Trail. The Forest Service and National Park Service propose different locations for the Cascade Crest Trail from Harts Pass to the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The Park Service proposal is shown in figure 34. The Forest Service proposal is shown in figure 30.
Trails are closed to motorized traffic in National Parks, Wilderness, and Primitive areas. Outside these areas, the use of motorscooters on trails is a matter of administrative discretion and the study team believes properly so.
Recommendation XV. With respect to timber management, the Forest Service should: (a) systematically apply the policy directives and guidelines described in "Management Objectives and Policies for the High Mountain Areas of National Forests of the Pacific Northwest Region"; (b) keep clear-cut blocks as small as practicable; (c) in or near areas proposed for special attention to recreation, use clear-cutting only where other silvicultural systems clearly are not feasible; (d) assure prompt regeneration by planting if adequate natural regeneration does not occur promptly; (e) artifically revegetate road banks and other areas where there are similar disturbances in order to minimize impacts on landscape and soil erosion following timber harvesting operations; (f) provide adequate scenic strips and roadside improvements consistent with landscape management principles; (g) in areas recommended for Wilderness classification or National Park status, timber harvesting should not be permitted for a period of 5 years to provide time for congressional consideration and action on the recommendations, except necessary tree cutting operations of the Seattle City Light and Power Co. should be permitted, as should essential insect or disease protection cuttings; (h) continue to carry on research on both the silviculture and economics of Douglas-fir, including the practicality of methods of harvesting and regeneration other than clear-cutting; and (i) in the design and construction of timber management roads, give appropriate consideration to the needs of other multiple resources of the National Forests.
The recommendations speak largely for themselves. In some instances they are an endorsement of existing Forest Service policy. The study team was favorably impressed with and endorses the Forest Service high mountain policy. That agency has been criticized both for not moving aggressively enough in applying the policy, and for moving too fast. The team felt that the policy should be firmly applied.
There is considerable nonstocked or partially-stocked acreage of cut-over timberlands and it was felt that steps should be taken to assure regeneration promptly following cutting.
Block cutting in the principal forest association has tended in the past to be unduly large. Smaller blocks would lessen the adverse effects of this type of silviculture.
Effective research has been carried on by the Forest Service for many years in both Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine types. The application of the high mountain policy and the equality of resources as provided in the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act both indicate the need for continued economic and silvicultural research in these forest types.
The team did not feel that the Forest Service was primarily oriented toward timber harvesting nor that the management and utilization of other multiple resources of the National Forests were secondary considerations. This may have been true in the past, but there has been a major reorientation, adjustment, and modernization of Forest Service thinking and policy within the past decade, particularly since enactment of the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act. The large acreages of land dedicated by the Forest Service to Wilderness, limited, or primitive status is one indication of its awareness of the recreation and aesthetic values of the North Cascades.
Recommendation XVI. Certain portions of the Skagit River and its tributaries within the Study Area should be given Wild River status in accord with the provisions of S. 1446, 89th Congress. Pending such status, the National Forest lands adjacent to designated portions should be managed in accord with the Wild River concept.
This would include the Skagit River upstream from the Mount Baker National Forest boundary to its junction with Copper Creek; the Cascade River up stream from the National Forest boundary to its junction with its north and south forks and up the South Fork to the boundary of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area; the Suiattle River upstream from the National Forest boundary to the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area boundary at Milk Creek; the Sauk River upstream from the National Forest boundary to its junction with Elliott Creek, and the North Fork of the Sauk River from its junction with the South Fork of the Sauk to the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area boundary.
These river stretches total about 60 miles and are only a small portion of the total length of the Skagit River recommended for examination for Wild River status outside the Study Area. In general, the river shore and not more than a quarter of a mile back from the shore on each side should be managed by the Forest Service as a Wild River.
Recommendation XVII. The Secretary of Agriculture should support the intervention of the Secretary of the Interior of July 22, 1965, with respect to Federal Power Commission project No. 2151 relating to the Wenatchee River. The Secretary of the Interior should seek the views of the Secretary of Agriculture and should carefully assess the recreation impacts, both favorable and unfavorable, before acting on the proposed replacement dam on Bumping River below the existing Bumping Lake Reservoir.
The Federal Power Commission project application offers a plan for improvement and utilization of water, power, and development of the Wenatchee River. The proposed development by Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County should consider the fish, wildlife, and recreational resources as well as utilization of water and power. The study team feels that the plan of development of the Wenatchee River and its tributaries proposed by the applicant should be adapted to a comprehensive plan of development of the Wenatchee River and its upstream tributaries within the Study Area as a headwaters subbasin of the Columbia River basin.
The proposed Bumping Lake project is an enlargement and replacement of the existing Bumping Lake Reservoir on Bumping River. The new structure would be a few miles downstream from the existing reservoir and would have a storage capacity of 458,000 acre-feet, compared to the present capacity of 33,000. Surface acreage would increase from 1,400 to 4,100. The recreation effect of such construction would be to push high density recreation lands around the reservoir into an area that is now classed as natural environment lands. This might not be consequential, but should have careful consideration before the Departments of Agriculture and Interior take a position on this matter.
Recommendation XVIII. The enactment of legislation to create a North Cascades National Park should include provisions that would protect the present installations and plans of the Seattle City Light on the main stem of the Skagit River.
Recommendation XIX. The Forest Service should continue to work with cities having closed municipal watersheds in order to develop satisfactory plans and procedures by which these watershed areas can be made available to help meet the expanding future recreational needs of the Study Area.
Recommendation XX. The State of Washington and concerned Federal agencies should take all reasonable measures to protect and manage the fisheries resource, to improve habitat, and to increase levels of fishing use.
Recommendation XXI. The State of Washington and concerned Federal agencies should intensify wildlife, wildlife habitat, and range management with a view to increasing available forage supplies and bringing the numbers of big game and livestock into balance with the grazing capacity that can be sustained.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Present and projected population and employment of the Study Area and surrounding counties and cities have been previously summarized, as has, to some degree, the economic significance of the various resources.
The purpose of this section is twofold: (1) To review the effect of existing and proposed recreation dedications on the availability, or lack of it, of commercial forest land and sawtimber volumes. The combined effect of the recommendations with respect to recreation dedications is evaluated in terms of their effect on the timber industry. (2) To appraise the net economic impacts of the three basic recommendations concerning a North Cascades National Park, Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, and a scenic road system.
There is no attempt to describe the total present or potential economic significance of the Study Area, either with or without the recommendations of the study team, because many of the recommendations will be carried out by the Forest Service and the National Park Service independently of this report. In contrast, the purpose is to focus attention on the effects of the recommendations on timber and the net impact of the more controversial or costly proposals.
EFFECT OF RECREATION DEDICATIONS ON TIMBERLANDS AND VOLUMES
In order to appraise fairly the effect of present and proposed recreation dedications, it is necessary to consider them as a group. This is because in some instances, such as the North Cascades National Park proposal, land would be removed from multiple use administration. In other cases, such as the Cougar Lake Limited Area, land would go from a reserved status to normal National Forest management. The net effect in the Study Area can only be realized when the recommendations for change or status quo are considered as a package for the 15 areas summarized in figure 48.
Figure 48 Net difference within the North Cascades Study Area between existing and proposed areas managed wholly or primarily for recreation, by total area, sawtimber volume and area of available commercial forest land, by kind of area.
This is one of the most significant comparisons in the entire report. It shows that on all the areas involved, the net effect despite establishment of a National Park and the designation of several new Wilderness Areas would be to add 228,000 acres to undedicated status and place them in normal multiple use management. The main reasons for this are the declassification of the Cougar Lake Limited Area, the reduction of the Alpine Lakes Limited Area to a considerably smaller Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, and the elimination of substantial acreage from the Eldorado Peaks High Country which is not placed in the proposed National Park.
With respect to commercial forest land, the net effect is to increase the availability of commercial forest land and to decrease the acreage in reserved status. For example, on the 2-1/2 million acres involved in the dedicated areas there are now 84,000 acres of available commercial forest land. If the recommendations in this report are carried out, the amount of available commercial forest land from these same areas would be increased by 56,000 acres to a total of 140,000 acres. The reserved commercial forest land acreage of 356,000 acres would be decreased accordingly.
In terms of sawtimber volumes, the areas in question now have an available sawtimber stand of 1.6 billion board feet. This would be roughly doubled to 3.1 billion board feet. The reserved timber volume of 11.2 billion board feet would be reduced accordingly, to 9.7 billion. Again, the reasons are the substantial timber volumes that would be made available from land that is now in the Alpine Lakes and Cougar Lake Limited areas plus the fact that the North Cascades National Park would withdraw only minimum acre age and volumes of commercial timber; namely, 19,000 acres and 355 million board feet.
The net effect of the recommended actions is:
To put it succinctly, implementation of the recommendations would mean creation of a National Park, creation of four new Wilderness areas and a Wild River, elimination of two limited areas, and at the same time nearly doubling the amount of sawtimber that would be available for commercial operations from the areas involved.
The relationship between the existing and proposed 15 dedicated areas and the total Study Area with respect to acreage involved, commercial forest area and timber volumes is also significant. Recognition of these same relationships between the proposed North Cascades National Park and the total Study Area, as well as between the park and all dedicated areas, is important to have in mind in order to place these proposals in proper perspective. These relationships are shown in Figure 49.
Figure 49 Relation of existing and proposed areas dedicated wholly or primarily to recreation and the proposed North Cascades National to the existing Study Area, in terms of total land area, available and reserved commercial forest area and sawtimber volume.
For example, the recommended North Cascades National Park would include 11 percent of the total acreage in the Study Area, but only 0.8 percent of the commercial forest area and 0.6 percent of the commercial timber volume. It is obvious that the establishment of the park would have no significant adverse effect on the timber industry.
Of far more significance to the timber industry is the fact that by implementing the recommendations, about 1,470,000,000 board feet presently reserved will be made available for commercial operations. This is a reduction of 13 percent in the amount of reserved sawtimber. Most of the remaining reserved timber occurs in Mount Rainier National Park and the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.
GLACIER PEAK WILDERNESS AREA
The recommendation to enlarge Glacier Peak Wilderness Area by 39,000 acres would add about 7,000 acres of commercial timber land supporting 207 million board feet of sawtimber to this area.
There would be no land acquisition costs. Land taxes would not be affected, because only Federal lands are involved. The formula for distribution of National Forest receipts would not be affected although the amount of receipts might be reduced slightly because of the reduction of prospective timber sales. There are no presently active timber sales in the affected area.
The number of visitors to the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area probably would not be significantly altered because of the proposed extensions; nor would payrolls or expenditures for employment in recreation or tourism be changed appreciably.
In summation, there will be few, if any, appreciable economic effects either pro or con from the proposed Glacier Peak Wilderness Area boundary extensions.
NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK
The establishment of the recommended 698,000-acre National Park would result in certain economic benefits stemming from an increase in visitor use, from capital development and from maintenance and operation.
There would be no significant effect on land taxes nor on acquisition costs, because 99 percent or more of the area is already Federal lands. Only a small acreage of private lands would be subject to acquisition.
There would be an estimated annual visitation of about 1.3 million persons, of which perhaps 35 percent would be from out of State. Visitor days are estimated at 2.4 million, annual visitor expenditures at $20.8 million (fig. 50).
Figure 50 Estimated annual expenditures, wages, and employment which would be generated by visitors to and development of recreation facilities in the proposed North Cascades National Park, and by visitor use and development of scenic roads in the North Cascades Study Area.
This is translatable in terms of wages paid to $5.4 million per year and estimated annual year-long employment of 1,100 persons.
To this economic impact of visitations should be added an average annual benefit from capital construction of $7.4 million for the first 5 years. This would result in an estimated $2 million in wages and 400 persons employed.
No estimates have been made for maintenance or operation of the proposed park. This would be an additional benefit which has not been included.
In summary, the economic impact of both visitations and capital construction would be an annual employment of about 1,500 persons, visitor expenditures of $20.8 million and capital development costs of $7.4 million.
If the area were managed as the Forest Service proposes, rather than as a National Park, about half the area would be in the Eldorado Peaks High Country and about half in Wilderness status. Assuming that: (1) the National Park Service would develop the portion south of the Skagit River to about the same degree of intensity or greater than would the Forest Service; (2) developments would extend northward into the present Primitive area and not be limited to that portion south of the Skagit River; and (3) giving some recognition to the added visitations that would result from National Park status, it would seem reasonable to assume that under continued Forest Service management (rather than National Park Service), the estimates would be about 60 percent of those given above for employment, capital development and visitor expenditures.
It should be recognized that there would be a very minor adverse economic impact from the creation of the park due to removing some timber from the market. About 19,000 acres of commercial timberland which support an estimated 355 million board feet of sawtimber would be reserved in the National Park. This can be roughly converted to an allowable annual cut of 3.5 million board feet. In turn, this could mean National Forest receipts of about $70,000, returns to counties of about $17,500 annually and a dependent employment of 30-35 persons.
In other words, there would he a net gain of perhaps 600 people employed in the park against the loss of 35 persons employed in the timber industry, a revenue of $70,000 lost in timber annually against a net annual increase in visitor expenditures of roughly $8 million and a capital investment per year for 5 years of $3 million.
One of the conditions of recommending a National Park is that the enabling legislation retain the status quo with respect to distribution of National Forest receipts between affected counties. Gross revenues to the Mount Baker and Wenatchee National Forests would not be appreciably affected by creation of the National Park because the area involved currently returns no appreciable income from timber sales or other sources.
However, unless the status quo condition were met in the enabling legislation, the distribution of revenue between counties would necessarily be adjusted in accordance with the formula under prevailing law. The effect would be that Whatcom and Chelan Counties each would suffer an annual revenue loss of $50,000-$90,000 and Snohomish and Kittitas Counties could benefit accordingly. It is recommended that the present pattern to which the counties are accustomed should continue.
The recommendation for a scenic road system of about 920 miles would have a substantial economic benefit in terms of the cost of construction, maintenance, and operation, and the estimated net increase in driving for pleasure.
If the scenic road system is phased over a 15-year period, the total cost of construction, reconstruction, and minor improvements is estimated at $110 million or $7.5 million per year as shown below and in figure 50:
If to these capital road costs are added an allowance for maintenance and operation, this will mean about $2.5 million annually in terms of wages paid, and the employment of about 500 persons.
It is estimated that this scenic road system may result in a half a million visitor days use on the roads each year. This could mean a visitor expenditure of $8.5 million, most of which would be vehicle operation costs. Translated into wages, this could be $2.3 million annually and 400-500 persons employed.
It should be mentioned also that the roads in the proposed scenic road system would serve multiple purposes, not just recreation use alone. They would be valuable for timber hauling, for some inter-State use, and for normal commercial and trade use.
Within the Study Area it is believed that there would be no significant adverse economic results from the creation of this road system. Inasmuch as the land is primarily in Federal ownership, there would be only minor right-of-way acquisition costs.
The net effect of the recommendations is to:
1. Establish four new Wilderness areasAlpine Lakes, Okanogan, Enchantment, and Mount Aixtotaling 720,000 acres;
2. Enlarge the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area by 39,000 acres;
3. Establish a North Cascades National Park totaling 698,000 acres;
4. Enlarge Mount Rainier National Park by 7,000 acres and provide for coordinated management between the park and surrounding National Forest lands;
5. Declassify three limited areasAlpine Lakes, Cougar Lake, and Monte Cristo Peak;
6. Provide for an increase of 228,000 acres of National Forest land to be placed under normal multiple-use administration by the Forest Service;
7. Increase the available commercial forest land by 56,000 acres and increase the available commercial sawtimber by 1.5 billion board feet, thus providing a net benefit to the timber industry despite the creation of new Wilderness areas and a new National Park;
8. Provide for a 900-mile system of scenic roads; and several thousand miles of trails;
9. Establish a Wild River in the Skagit Basin;
10. Provide for adequate camping, picnicking, winter sports, boating and other conventional recreation facilities, including fishing and hunting opportunities, in anticipation of much greater population pressure and use;
11. Provide for timber management and necessary research to minimize erosion, land scarring, adverse effects on the natural beauty of the landscape, and accomplish prompt regeneration.
12. Involve practically no land acquisition costs and little removal of lands from the tax rolls, no change in distribution of National Forest receipts, no impairment of operations of Seattle City Light on the Skagit River, and no significant adverse effects on the livestock industry, or on commercial or sport fishing. There would be some adverse effects on hunting and there could be some on mining if there were significant future mineral discoveries in the area proposed for a National Park.
13. Provide for substantial net economic advantages from creation of a North Cascades National Park by an increase in tourism and the expenditures, wages, and employment generated thereby, and by capital outlays to develop the National Park with resulting employment and wages;
14. Provide substantial economic benefits through the construction, development, maintenance, and employment required to establish the recommended scenic road system, and from the expenditures and employment generated by driving for pleasure.
The overall conclusion is that there will be an economic benefit to the timber and tourism industries, little or no significant adverse effect on other resource based activities, substantial economic advantages from the creation of the scenic road system and the establishment of a new National Park, and very great intangible benefits to the population of the State, region and Nation through new opportunities for general recreation, through creation of a park, and through creation of new Wilderness areas.
Finally it is believed the recommendations are responsive to national needs, would benefit the local economy, protect economic uses of the Study Area, prevent further erosion of needed Wilderness areas, provide proper balance between multiple use forest management, mass recreation, Wilderness areas, and National Parks, and add a superlative sample of the North Cascades to our national gallery of natural beauty.
Last Updated: 26-Mar-2010