• 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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  • Highway 20 Will Be Closed East of the Park For Culvert Repairs On Oct 21 & 22.

    Highway 20 will be completely closed between mileposts 147 & 157 (Granite Creek to Rainy Pass) from 6 a.m. Oct. 21 to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. The Easy Pass trailhead will be inaccessible during this time. More »

  • Diablo Lake To Be Drawn Down Three Feet in Oct., Trailer-Launched Boats Affected

    Diablo Lake will be drawn down 3 vertical feet for facility repairs from October 8-17. During the drawdown, boats with trailers will not be able to launch or take boats off the water. Hand-launched vessels will still be able to launch. More »

  • 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 »

Wetlands, Marshes and Swamps

Amidst the high peaks, deep forests and cold rivers for which the park is renowned wetlands, marshes and swamps may be the last thing people think of when they visit. Although they are not the most prominent aspects of the park ecosystem, they are one of the most important. They prepare the ground from which, in time, will spring forth an ancient forest. Wetlands also provide perfect habitat for many amphibians, invertebrates and aquatic plants. Some of the most outstanding wetlands in the park are nestled along the lower stretches of the Chilliwack River. The area is a magnificent expanse of relatively inaccessible and pristine wilderness, which has been recommended for designation as a Research Natural Area. Here, near the Canadian border, is located one of the largest wetlands in the park, boasting forested, scrub/shrub, emergent and open water wetlands. As with all ecosystems, this environment is dependent on the plants and creatures that dwell there. Much of the wetland is maintained by a colony of beavers that dam the streams with freshly cut alder boughs, stream debris and packed mud. The standing water and the animal and plant activity that occurs within it saturate the ground with nutrients preparing it for the forests of future generations. The wetland is dependent on the beaver colony just as the beaver colony is dependent on the wetland and future old-growth forests are dependent on them both. The wetland environment provides us with yet another example of how all things in nature are interconnected, even the wetlands that so often go overlooked.

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.