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.

  • Sample Letter to IRA Adminstrator DOC

  • In this report, we provide the policy framework for designating ORV trails and areas on federal lands, along with a series of recommendations based on recent case law and ten case studies from the Forest Service, BLM, and National Park Service that demonstrate both agency failures to comply with the executive order minimization criteria and good planning practices that could be incorporated into a model for application of the criteria.
  • Chart of offshore oil well blowout incident rates illustrates the need for stronger federal regulations to improve human safety and decrease environmental risk.