• 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.
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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 »

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?

Grizzly bear track in North Cascades National Park (1989). Photo Credit: NPS/NOCA/Roger Christophersen

Grizzly bear tracks can be a reliable indicator of species? Grizzly bear and black bear forepaw tracks are distinct from one another and often times better than a photo of the bear to confirm an observation. So don't just look up, look down.