News Release

Golden West Visitor Center in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area to remain closed this season

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: March 19, 2024
Contact: Katy Hooper

The Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin will remain closed this summer season, but North Cascades National Park and its partners will continue to offer information and services to help visitors experience this remote area of the park. 

Information and interpretive materials are available online, on bulletin boards located throughout the area, and on outdoor panels located on trails throughout the valley. Concession operators will also continue to provide general information to visitors along with lodging, food and supplies. 

“The Stehekin area is an important part of the park for both staff and visitors,” said Don Striker, park superintendent. “However, it receives significantly fewer visitors than other sections of the park. Budget constraints and challenges in hiring force us to focus limited resources where they can do the most good for the most visitors.” 

Overall, park visitation has increased by 36 percent in the past 10 years, but Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and Stehekin’s numbers have remained constant. The Golden West Visitor Center averaged 11,312 annual visitors between 2021 and 2023, while the North Cascades Visitor Center averaged 10 times more, with 114,718 visitors.

Attracting and retaining permanent and seasonal visitor services employees to this very remote location that is only accessible by boat, plane or a long hike, has also been a challenge. At the same time, appropriated budgets are not keeping up with inflation. The park’s overall staff has decreased 28 percent in the past decade due to funding challenges.   

Park officials are committed to maintaining essential services in this backcountry area and have prioritized operating and maintaining campgrounds, restrooms, and picnic areas. In addition, wildland firefighting staff and professional emergency staff will continue to rotate through and respond to this area of the park when needed.  

“Park managers have a duty to strategically implement resources where they make the most sense,” Striker said. “We are stewards of these exceptional national public lands, and we take that mission seriously. While we wish a cadre of rangers could staff all of our remote sites, unfortunately it is simply not realistic in today’s fiscal climate.”  

Things to know before coming to Stehekin:
•  Make lodging reservations. The North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin, NPS campgrounds, backcountry camps, and most private lodgings require reservations especially from May to September.
•  There is no cell phone reception. A public phone is located near the Stehekin Landing.
•  There are limited grocery and food services available in the summer and none in the off-season. With limited trash services, consider packing your trash in and packing it out.
•  There are no ATM services available in the valley. Many businesses accept credit cards, but some do not.
•  Visit our website at for additional information on getting to Stehekin, accommodations, and getting around once you’re arrived.

Last updated: March 19, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


360 854-7200

Contact Us