Bills introduced to protect historic lookout and creek in the North Cascades

Illabot Creek

Thomas O'Keefe

Four members of Washington’s congressional delegation – Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Reps. Suzan DeleBene and Rick Larsen – introduced legislation this week to protect the historic Green Mountain Lookout and designate Illabot Creek and as a Wild and Scenic River

The Green Mountain Lookout, located in Glacier Peak Wilderness, is an important piece of Washington’s history and a trail leading to it is considered one of the state’s classic hikes. The lookout came under controversy recently regarding repairs that were done to the structure. As the result of a lawsuit, the U.S. District Court in Seattle determined that the U.S. Forest Service must remove the lookout from Green Mountain.

The legislation (S. 404 / H.R. 908) would allow for the lookout to remain on Green Mountain, which is still used during the fire season today.

Originating on the flanks of Snow King Mountain, Illabot Creek tumbles through Glacier Peak Wilderness all the way down to the mighty Skagit River. 14.3 miles of the Illabot would be protected in perpetuity upon passage of the legislation (S. 383 / H.R. 829). Designating the creek as wild and scenic would protect its free-flowing nature, water quality and important fish and wildlife habitat – threatened species such as bull trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon are all found on the Illabot.

The Wilderness Society supports both bills and looks forward to their passage in 2013.