• 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.
show Alerts »
  • 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 »

Lakes and Ponds

The abundance and diversity of aquatic habitats in the North Cascades ecosystem is one of the characteristics that makes this area unique. In North Cascades National Park (NP), over 500 lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the mountain landscape. These natural environments are home to native aquatic life including plankton, aquatic insects, frogs and salamanders. To visiting onlookers, the natural backdrop of these lakes and ponds makes them appear pristine, but ongoing stresses may be affecting the health of these ecological systems.

Park resource mangers are monitoring these lakes and ponds to determine their chemical and physical status. Acidic deposition (acid rain) and nutrient-laden atmospheric deposition may be altering the chemical composition of lakes and ponds. This could be causing acidification and nutrient enrichment harmful to the sensitive balance of aquatic life. The physical and chemical properties of lakes and streams can also be affected by direct human influences. Trampling and destruction of vegetation around shorelines leads to erosion, sedimentation and changes in nutrient inputs. Introduction of non-native species causes environmental disturbances, and historic mining activity may have led to the contamination of some water sources.

Aquatic resource managers from North Cascades NP are working with the North Coast Cascades Network, the United States Geological Survey and the National Park Service's Water Resources Division in developing a long-term ecological monitoring program for lakes and ponds. This will allow them to determine if acid rain and visitor use are affecting the health of these fragile but valued environments.

For more information on Mountain Lakes in the North Cascades: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkID=327&projectId=10007

Did You Know?

Junior Ranger Totem: Raven

Anyone can become a North Cascades Junior Ranger! Pick up one of the four FREE activity booklets at any of the visitor or information centers. Complete the activities and earn your official junior ranger badge! Download the booklet here. More...