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

    Citing some of “the most beautiful and iconic landscapes on earth” in Teton County’s backyard, the board of commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously passed a resolution that “opposes any and all efforts by the State of Wyoming to obtain the wholesale transfer of federal lands in Wyoming” to the state. In January, Sweetwater County filed a letter with the state legislature stating similar opposition to measures that would turn over federal public lands—such as parks, wilderness, and national forests—to state jurisdiction and management.

  • Tim Woody

    In spite of Royal Dutch Shell’s disastrous performance during the 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today conditionally approved the company’s 2015 exploration plan, which provides even fewer safeguards for the Chukchi Sea and its sensitive coastline than Shell had in place three years ago. Shell also plans to bring a different rig operated by a new contractor to the Arctic Ocean in 2015, which could result in unexpected transport and drilling problems.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society strongly supports bipartisan legislation, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235, H.R. 167), to fix a budgetary problem called “fire borrowing.”  This is a destructive cycle in which the Forest Service is forced to take funds from other forest programs when its allotted wildfire funds are used up, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul to put out fires in our national forests.