• View from Sourdough Mountain Overlook  A view looking down onto Diablo Lake. Photo Credit: NPS/Michael Silverman, 2010.

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Lone Mountain Fire - National Park Service Trail Closures

    The Lone Mountain Fire in North Cascades National Park is approximately 5 mi NW of Stehekin in the Boulder Creek drainage. Boulder Creek Trail is closed. More »

  • USFS Access Road and Trail Closures

    The following USFS trails providing backcountry access to the park service complex are closed due to Lone Mountain and Carlton Complex Fires: Twisp Pass, South Creek, Reynolds Creek, War Creek, Summit. The Twisp River Road is closed west of Eagle Creek. More »

Current Research

Mapping transects at doubtful lake

Collecting disturbance data at Doubtful Lake

NOCA, NPS

From the tiniest butterfly to the largest wildfire, clues about the inhabitants and cycles of the North Cascades can only be teased out through years of research, dedication of staff and partners, and a desire to know how it all fits into the big picture. Signals for climate change, for example, are reflected in everything from melting glaciers to the breeding success rates of butterfly populations.

In recent years, inventory and monitoring of the park's physical and biological resources has been the focus of a great deal of study. Without a baseline of understanding, how can we discover what changes are taking place and what it all means?

Exploratory archeology, ethnographic, and historic research also provide a deeper understanding of the rich cultural history in the North Cascades and add to data for comparative research.

How do we preserve and protect this amazing patch of wilderness for future generations? How do we make decisions to effectively manage such a dynamic landscape and broad set of resources? How can we protect our visitors and our resources without interfering with natural patterns? A cadre of scientists and specialists approach these questions by collecting data on landforms, soils, water, ice, air, sound, plants, fish, wildlife and historic and archeological resources. They study glacial retreat and riverine processes, identify rare and threatened habitat, plants and animals. They measure changes in forest composition and fire intervals, behavior patterns of wildlife and people, and find signals for pollution in water and air. Even the soundtrack of wilderness (the natural soundscape) is the subject of study.

Resource Briefs provide an overview of current and ongoing research in the park. We invite you to explore the North Cascades with a scientist's eye.

 

Did You Know?

Cascading stream

The North Cascades are well known for the abundant waterfalls that lace the mountains. Two of the best known waterfalls are Gorge Falls between Newhalem and Diablo along State Route 20 and Rainbow Falls in the Stehekin Valley.