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.

  • Map and infographics showing the region of the plan, what matters in the Pacific Northwestt (1), what people want in a Northwest Forest Plan (2) and what most voters support in a revised Northwest Forest plan (3). A two page summary of the polls results is below the map and infographics.

  • statewide survey of 600 registered voters in Washington, Oregon and California, with an additional oversample of 200 registered voters in California counties, was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers, including 45% of all interviews conducted via cell phone.

  • “We Can’t Wait: Why we need reform of the federal coal program now,” shows how the industry has been passing on millions in costs every day to the public. The status quo of the program has impacted public lands to the tune of billions of dollars and could multiply if coal companies aren’t held responsible for cleanup as they go bankrupt. Damages due to climate change from mining emissions will cost billions and drinking water for entire cities could be lost to mining or polluted beyond safe drinking levels.