Skagit River, WA - TAKE ACTION
For the past three years North Cascades National
Park has been working to revise the management plan for the Ross Lake National Recreation Area,
which includes the lands and rivers along Highway 20 in the North Cascades. As part of this
planning effort American Whitewater formally requested a review of rivers that may be eligible
for Wild and Scenic designation.
The Park Service responded to our request and conducted an eligibility and suitability study of the Skagit River, the primary river that flows along Highway 20 through the popular S Bends (Goodell Creek to Copper Creek). While the downstream section of the Skagit, which is popular for eagle floats, is designated as Wild and Scenic, what many paddlers do not know is that the well-known whitewater run upstream has no such protection. In fact this section was originally the site of a massive dam and hydropower project in the 1970's which would have inundated this run. The Skagit Wild and Scenic River was established by Congress in 1978, but the Seattle City Council did not kill the hydropower project until August 1981. While there are no current plans to construct this dam, the Park Service solicited public input in deciding whether to recommend this river for permanent protection in its free-flowing condition.
The good news is that after two years of review, the Park Service has recommended completion of the Skagit Wild and Scenic River system by adding this important stretch of the river. In addition, two tributaries that include Goodell and Newhalem Creek have also been recommended for designation. Thanks to the efforts of the paddling community and our partners in the river conservation community the Park Service received "overwhelming positive" public support for this recommendation. Currently this is a draft recommendation and the Park Service is accepting a final round of public comment through September 30th.
Paddlers can weigh in to support long-term protection of the Skagit River, specifically the section from Goodell Creek to Copper Creek that includes the S Bends, by filing a comment in support of the Park Service conclusions. All that is required is a simple comment expressing the importance of the Skagit River to you and closing with the statement that you strongly support the Park Service recommendations to protect the Skagit River in Ross Lake National Recreation Area and its two major tributaries Goodell Creek and Newhalem Creek through Wild and Scenic designation.
Supporting Documents and Additional Background can be reviewed from the links to the right of this page.