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

    North Cascades

    National Park Washington

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  • Cascade River Road will be open as normal through fall/winter 2014

    Cascade River Rd. will be open in 2014 until snow conditions make it impassable to vehicles, as normal. The road closure that was planned to begin September 8 has been postponed beyond 2014 due to unforeseen circumstances. More »

  • 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 »

  • Re-opening of Adjacent U.S. Forest Service Road and Trails that Access North Cascades NP Complex

    The area closure of the Twisp River Road and the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest due to wildfires has been lifted as of August 19, 2014. 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?

Long horned beetle

There are more insects in the Park than any other group of animals; in fact, 95% of all animal species on earth are insects. Take your time to explore the breathtaking world of butterflies, beetles, and bugs. More...