North Cascades Focus Areas

The pristine forests, rivers, lakes and mountains of the North Cascades clean our air and water and provide outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Wilderness Society’s work in the North Cascades focuses on three key wild areas that are critical to the health of the landscape and nearby communities. We are working in the following focus areas to:

  • Protect wild lands for people and wildlife to use and enjoy
  • Support recreation access and opportunities
  • Garner broad-based support for long-term conservation

U.S. Highway 2

Three wilderness areas totaling 600,000 acres form the backbone of wild lands along this corridor: Henry M. Jackson and Wild Sky to the north and Alpine Lakes to the south. These areas offer important natural resources and unique opportunities to experience the beauty and wild lands of the North Cascades. Our work along the Highway Two corridor aims to meet the recreational needs of the region and demonstrate the benefit of wilderness to local communities.

Methow Valley

While many think of the eastern half of Washington state as a dry and dusty place, the Methow Valley is home to impressive rivers like the Methow, Twisp and Chewuch, all of which drain into the region’s largest river, the Columbia. We’re building on the Methow’s rich conservation legacy to further protect the wild lands and waters of the region and enhance recreation access and opportunities on these public lands.

Yakima Basin

The Yakima Basin is one of the most diverse watersheds in Washington state, from the wet, alpine forests of the Cascades to the arid, sagebrush-studded Yakima Valley. The basin is home to the Yakima River, which sustains fish, families and farms as it makes its way to the Columbia River. We are working to protect the headwaters of the basin, restore critical fish and wildlife habitat and enhance recreation access and management.

  • In the first of a three management plans to be released in 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado missed a great opportunity to protect some of Colorado's most treasured landscapes—including the Dolores River, lands surrounding Mesa Verde National Park and recreation hub

  • When school was out for the summer in the suburbs of Manhattan where I grew up, my mom packed our little Subaru hatchback with sleeping bags, a tent, a cooler filled with fruit and sandwich meat, hiking boots, rain gear, and three kids, and headed West.  Like generations before and since, w

  • The Forest Service recently released a plan that could protect much of Colorado’s Thompson Divide from new oil and gas leasing. For years, this spectacular area has been threatened by oil and gas development.