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North Cascades Study Team - The North Cascades: A Report ...
Part 1 - Introduction
p. 9: On March 5, 1963, the North Cascades Study Team was formed as part of a "Peace Treaty" between the Forest Service and National Park Service at the request of President John F. Kennedy. The study team held hearings in October 1963. Over 300 witnesses or statements were heard or received at the hearings and about 2,400 additional letters were received prior to closing of the record on November 15, 1963. Of these, the ratio was about four to one in favor of establishing a national park in the North Cascades (p. 82). The study team report was completed in October 1965.
p. 14: The study team recommendations were written by the chairman, Edward C. Crafts. They represented "a new set to recommendations that has not heretofore been proposed." The Forest Service and Park Service recommendations (which the team members were unable to reconcile) are also included in this report. In summary, the study team recommends:
The report conditions its recommendation for a North Cascades National Park "upon development of adequate facilities and means of entry into presently remote areas." Helicopters and aerial tramways are suggested. The report states: "A major reason for recommending a National Park is that by means of access and development, the area can be made available to large numbers of people rather than retaining half the area in Wilderness area status, as would be done by the Forest Service." Also: "High priority should be given to the construction of an adequate system of scenic roads," including completion of the North Cross-State Highway, a road from the head of Ross Lake in British Columbia along the lake to the North Cross-State Highway, a road from Heather Meadows tunneling under Austin Pass to Baker Lake, connecting roads through Curry Gap, Cady Pass, Harts Pass, and a road splitting in two the Alpine Lakes area. New road construction would total 154 miles.
- A 698,000-acre North Cascades National Park with boundaries from Lake Chelan to Ruby Creek, including the Stehekin Valley, Thunder and Granite Creeks. The park would also include Ross and Diablo Lakes and the part of the North Cascade Primitive Area lying west of Ross Lake (the Picket Range) including Mt Shuksan but not Mt Baker.
- Minor expansion of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area toward Stehekin, the Suiattle River, and the Whitechuck River.
- Four new wilderness areas--Alpine Lakes, Enchantment, Mt Aix and Okanogan. The Okanogan Wilderness would be roughly equivalent to the part of the North Cascade Primitive Area lying east of Ross Lake. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness would be a smaller version of the existing Alpine Lakes Limited Area, disconnected from the new Enchantment Wilderness.
- The Cougar Lake and Monte Cristo Peak Limited Areas (as well as the existing Alpine Lakes Limited Area) would be declassified.
Part III - Recommendations
p. 76: The National Park Service recommendations include:
- A national park surrounding Glacier Peak and a second national park north of the Skagit River and west of Ross Lake, including the Pickets, Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan.
- A North Cascade (Okanogan) Wilderness east of Ross Lake.
- A national recreation area north and east of Glacier Peak including the Eldorado Peaks High Country and the north half of Lake Chelan as far east as the Chelan-Sawtooth crest.
- A single wilderness area combining the Alpine Lakes, Mt Stuart and Enchantment Lakes areas.
p. 77: The Forest Service recommendations include:
- A new North Cascades Wilderness Area of 813,000 acres, approximately the same area as the existing North Cascade Primitive Area.
- An Eldorado Peaks High Country of 537,000 acres managed primarily for recreation.
- Minor expansion of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area (as described above).
- Three other new wilderness areas--Alpine Lakes, Enchantment, and Mt Aix (as described above).
p. 80: During the past year, the Forest Service has been giving local publicity to its plans for the Eldorado Peaks High Country (between Cascade Pass and Ruby and Granite Creeks). The Forest Service has been criticized for this, on the grounds that it is attempting to jump the gun on recommendations of the study team and build political support for its plans. These plans would carry out the policy directive of the Secretary of Agriculture's 1960 designation establishing the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area "to open up and develop [the Eldorado Peaks High Country] for the use and enjoyment of the large number of people who desire other kinds of outdoor recreation and those who are unable to engage in wilderness travel (p. 50)." The Forest Service plans include:
- An aerial tramway from the North Cross-State Highway to Ruby Mountain.
- A road from the North Cross-State Highway to Roland Point on Ross Lake.
- A road from the North Cross-State Highway to Harts Pass via Canyon Creek.
- A road up Thunder Creek to its confluence with Fisher Creek.
- A dam near the confluence of Thunder and McAllister Creeks with a reservoir filling the valley upstream to about the 2400-foot level.
- An aerial tramway from the end of the Thunder Creek road to the ridgeline south of Tricouni Peak.
- A developed ski area on the southwest side of the North Cross-State Highway between Cabinet and Kitling Creeks.
- A developed ski area on the northeast side of the North Cross-State Highway in the Swamp Creek-Cutthroat Pass area.
- A developed ski area on the south side of the North Cross-State Highway at Washington Pass.
- Over 15 new campgrounds along the North Cross-State Highway, and more new campgrounds within a day's hike of the highway.
Part V - Appendices
p. 182: Included are highlights of the history of the North Cascades, including selected key events, acts of Congress, legislative proposals, and administrative decisions.
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