May 24, 2011
Kerry Olson, 360-854-7302
With the North Cascades Scenic Highway opening this week, North Cascades National Park is also open and beginning to offer summer recreation and visitor services throughout the State Route 20 corridor. In addition to hiking, camping, family activities, and ranger programs, North Cascades National Park is excited to partner with the North Cascades Institute and Seattle City Light to run the Skagit Tours on Diablo Lake. This partnership will offer new adventures for the 2011 summer season.
“We want to invite people to come and enjoy your national park,” said North Cascades National Park Complex Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “This summer, we are excited to work with partners to operate the historic Skagit Tours and add some new programs as well.”
Join a Ranger and North Cascades Institute Instructor aboard the Alice Ross III for a boat tour of Diablo Lake. The tour includes a delicious lunch, featuring food from the Skagit “foodshed” at the Environmental Learning Center overlooking Diablo Lake. Tours are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July and August, with special senior group bookings available on Thursdays.
In addition, National Park Service rangers and North Cascades Institute naturalists will be leading two new tours along the State Route 20 corridor. Join a ranger for a guided walking tour in the historic company town of Newhalem. These tours start at the Skagit Information Center twice a day on Wednesdays through Mondays in July and August and weekends in September. For the adventurous, explore the Hydro Highway and learn about the North Cascades and Skagit Project by guided van and hiking tour. This field day includes a picnic lunch at a scenic site, plus either a two-mile hike or several shorter hikes. The Hydro Highway Tour is offered Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July and August. For more information on all of the Skagit Tours, visit www.skagittours.com.
This year the National Park Service, North Cascades Institute and Seattle City Light will work together to operate the Skagit Information Center in Newhalem, which opens on May 26, providing easy access to fun things to do along the State Route 20 corridor and in the North Cascades. The information center will feature historic artifacts from the Skagit Museum and a new bookstore operated by North Cascades Institute.The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center is now open daily and will offer a variety of ranger programs this summer, including the free Junior Ranger program for kids 3 and older. A renovated bookstore, operated by North Cascades Institute, provides maps, guide books, and gifts.
“The North Cascades are calling you, your family and friends,” said Jenkins. “North Cascades National Park Visitor Center and Skagit Information Center in Newhalem are the perfect place to start your visit. As the snow melts, more trails will open up for great hiking along State Route 20. This weekend you might try the Happy Creek Boardwalk, which is re-opening after a two year renovation.”
For details on hiking in North Cascades National Park, visit the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount or go to
http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/hiking.htm. Free backcountry permits are required for overnight stays within the park.
Campgrounds along the North Cascades Highway are opening this week for the summer season, including Goodell Creek Campground located along the Skagit River, Newhalem Creek Campground, and Colonial Creek Campground on Diablo Lake. The majority of sites are first come, first serve. Reservations for individual sites at Newhalem Creek Campground and group campsites in Newhalem Creek and Goodell Creek Campgrounds are available at http://www.recreation.gov.
North Cascades Institute’s Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake, operated in partnership with Seattle City Light and North Cascades National Park, is a great summer getaway for adults and families looking for fun summer programs. A more flexible recreation and learning experience is also available through North Cascades Institute’s expanded Base Camp Program, which offers affordable accommodations and meals on Diablo Lake with your choice of learning adventures. Find out more at www.ncascades.org.