Why the North Cascades

Liberty Bell Early Winter Blue Lake Trail
Ancient forests, dramatic peaks and alpine lakes are what immediately meets the eye in in the North Cascades. But there is much more than beauty in this Washington mountain range.

The region has a strong legacy of conservation, with more than 2.5 million acres of pristine wilderness stretching from the Canadian border to the foothills of Mt. Rainier. The North Cascades also shelter endangered species, including the gray wolf and spotted owl.

“The North Cascades provide clean drinking water, pristine wilderness and world-class recreation opportunities for all.”

What’s at stake

In addition to the North Cascades’ vast wild lands and the habitat it provides for endangered species, the North Cascades are home to most of the glaciers in the United States, outside of Alaska.

But, because of climate change and threats of overdevelopment, the lands and waters of the region are increasingly at risk.

Colonial Peak, North Cascades National Park-Doug Walker

What we’re doing

The Wilderness Society is working across the North Cascades to:

  • Use our natural resources more wisely
  • Provide opportunities to experience the outdoors
  • Protect the remaining wild places.

How we’re doing it

We work with local communities across the North Cascades to connect people with wild lands and engage them in protecting those lands.

  • In the Yakima Basin, we are working to protect headwaters and restore critical fish and wildlife habitat.
  • In the U.S. Highway 2 corridor, we are improving access to public land and wilderness areas.
  • In Methow Valley, we are working with partners to restore the health of the Chewuch River basin.


Our work is based on forming strong partnerships and working together to find innovative solutions to protecting the North Cascades. We:

  • Led the Yakima Basin Conservation Campaign to protect the headwaters of the Yakima Basin
  • Partnered with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on watershed restoration and travel planning
  • Engaged the public around a plan to create a sustainable road system in the Chewuch watershed
  • Built the North Cascades Initiative to engage new audiences in experiencing and protecting the landscape

See also:

North Cascades National Park

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