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.

  • Michael Reinemer

    Development of natural areas in the United States, coupled with expected changes in climate, have increased the importance of migration corridors that connect protected natural areas. Large, connected wild lands reduce the isolation of animal and plant populations and allow for migration and movement that can help preserve populations of wild species and enhance genetic and ecosystem diversity. 

  • Sarah Graddy

    An analysis of more than 8,700 low-producing natural gas wells in two counties in the San Juan Basin, San Juan and Rio Arriba, determined that BLM’s rule will have little to no negative impact on these marginal wells.

    The results of the study indicate that the new rule—which aims to reduce waste from venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands—will actually increase overall production and royalties paid to support vital services in the state of New Mexico.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The measure would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, protect two wilderness areas in New Mexico and address water supply and river restoration efforts in the Yakima Basin in Washington state.