American Whitewater joins coalition in unveiling a new "Destination
Darrington" map as Highway 530 opens to all traffic this weekend restoring access to
DARRINGTON, WA – Today, ten leading conservation and recreation groups and the outdoor
retail companies, Outdoor Research and REI, are working to put the Washington town of Darrington
"on the map" as the "Gateway to the North Cascades," for world-class fishing,
hiking, camping, biking, rafting and more. These organizations, with the support of local
businesses, have produced a colorful brochure map spotlighting recreational opportunities around
The new map can be downloaded for free at www.DestinationDarringtonMap.com
. In addition, REI
is covering the costs to print 20,000 hardcopies of the new coalitions’ destination map.
Both REI and Outdoor Research will begin distributing them in their stores in the region next
week – all part of the coalition’s efforts to help Darrington recover from the tragic
Highway 530 slide earlier this year. Visitors to www.DestinationDarringtonMap.com
can also make a donation to help
the town get back on its feet.
"We are truly grateful for the assistance from the conservation and recreation community and
hope to see lots of visitors this summer – our welcome mat is out for everyone," said
Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin. “We want everyone to know that Darrington is still open for
business and are relieved that Highway 530 will be re-opened in time for this weekend’s
Darrington Day and the remainder of the summer recreation season."
"Darrington, Washington is a small town surrounded by the unsurpassed beauty of majestic
mountains, old growth forests, rushing rivers and miles of hiking trails to explore! We invite
everyone to come to our annual Darrington Day Celebration May, 31st and the rest of the
summer," said Martha Rasmussen from the Darrington Area Business Association and manager of
the Destination Darrington website.
On March 22, 2014, a mudslide devastated the small community of Steelhead Haven in Oso, taking
dozens of lives, and blocking access to the town of Darrington and nearby recreational
destinations. At the request of U.S. Senator Patty Murray, members of the conservation and
recreation community came together to support the communities in the Stillaguamish Valley.
After weeks of traffic limited to local residents and Highway 530 posted as closed, Darrington is
now open for business and the SR 530 bypass access route around the slide (one lane) is open to
the general public for everyone wanting to come out and enjoy Darrington's world-class
Just a 90-minute drive from Seattle, Darrington is surrounded by public lands and situated near
two wild and scenic rivers – the Sauk and Suiattle – and three wilderness areas
– the Henry M. Jackson, Boulder River, and Glacier Peak – all of which provide
world-class recreational opportunities for hiking, camping, climbing, road and mountain biking,
rafting, horseback riding and fishing.
"The Sauk River is one of the top whitewater destinations in the state,” notes
American Whitewater's Thomas O'Keefe. "The river is at a prime flow for rafting and
a river trip is one of the best ways to experience one of our nation's most beautiful wild
and scenic rivers."
"Darrington has been and continues to be a gateway to world-class outdoor recreation
opportunities, like the recently protected Green Mountain Lookout," said Kitty Craig,
Washington deputy director for The Wilderness Society. As Senator Patty Murray shared, the
lookout is "a place where parents have brought their kids for generations to appreciate the
splendor of the great outdoors in the Northwest. And it's a place that has been a vital
source of tourism-related income and a source of historical pride for the local community of
"The wild lands just out the backdoor in Darrington are incredible. The reason we work to
protect these places is so current and future generations can enjoy them," said Tom Uniack,
conservation director for Washington Wild. "The Darrington area is a hub for opportunities
to explore old-growth forests, wild rivers and scenic vistas for families, couples and outdoor
"Nestled in the North Cascades, Darrington is the prime basecamp for daytrips, weekend
escapes and weeklong adventures," said Andrea Imler, advocacy director for Washington Trails
Association. "If you love to hike, there’s a trail for you here – from the
family-friendly Old Sauk trail to the jaw-dropping Green Mountain trail."
Matt Perkins of the Washington Climbers Coalition pointed out that "rock climbers have been
finding exciting challenges here as well, with granite domes in Clear Creek and Squire Creek and
other opportunities throughout the Darrington area."
"The conservation and recreation community were happy to do what we can to support the local
economy of Darrington in the wake of the tragic slide,” said Dan Ritzman of the Washington
Chapter of the Sierra Club “This is a small part of the statewide and national response to
help. We appreciate efforts by Senator Patty Murray to bring our communities together and make a