• 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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  • State Route 20 closed at Mile Post 134, Ross Dam

    After a brief closure at Newhalem due to an avalanche and unstable conditions, SR 20 has re-opened to its normal winter closure point at MP 134, Ross Dam. The highway will remain closed from Ross Dam to MP 171 (Silver Star Creek) until spring re-opening. More »

  • Ross Dam Haul Road Closure Continues

    A short segment of the Ross Dam Haul Road between the Diablo Lake suspension bridge and the tunnel remains closed to public use due to continued recovery following a March 2010 landslide. The closure will remain in effect through 2014. More »

  • Notice of planned work for the Cascade River Road, fall 2014

    Visitors planning to access the park via the Cascade River Road after Labor Day should be advised that the Park Service is planning a fall closure of this road at Eldorado Creek (3 miles before the end of the road) in order to perform permanent repairs. More »

Fire Regime

Fire is a powerful, seemingly magical force. A carelessly discarded cigarette, an unsupervised cooking flame or lightning can cause destruction and even death. In the skillfull hands of the park's fire team, however, fire becomes a useful tool of prevention and preservation. Prescribed burns are used to protect the wilderness by thinning out underbrush and small trees, thus reducing the danger of high-risk areas. The fire team monitors and, when necessary, manages natural wildfires. The regime recognizes fire as an essential element of change in the ecosystem. Usually sparked by lightning strikes, wildfires actually benefit the forest by thinning out small, weak trees thus clearing the way for new growth. Past policies of wildfire suppression in many parks actually worked against the wilderness by creating an unnaturally high accumulation of fuel that can lead to large scale uncontrollable destruction. Fire is like a double-edged sword, which is, on one hand, a tool that can be used for protection while, on the other, a destructive and deadly force if mismanaged. Fortunately, the park's fire program works constantly to limit artificial effects on the natural balance of fire and simultaneously protect people and forest communities.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Stephen Mather Wilderness comprises 93% of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. About 400 miles of trail provide access to this rugged Wilderness.