nps logo smChelan—Early season snow grooming operations have begun at Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area on the Chelan Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Ski area personnel are working to establish a good snow base for future grooming operations.  Skiers should expect typical early season conditions with varying snow depths, soft snow, and the possibility of bare spots as temperatures warm up later in the week. 

Grooming will occur on an intermittent basis.  Fees will not be charged over the Thanksgiving weekend due to the thin snow cover and variable ski conditions. Ski area personnel will continue to monitor ski conditions and determine when the fee season will begin.

In conjunction with the start of snow grooming at Echo Ridge, beginning today Purtteman Gulch Road No. 8010 will be closed to wheeled vehicles and snowmobiles to provide for Nordic grooming activities. 

When fees are charged, ski passes are required for both ski and snowshoe trail use.  Day passes are available on-site for $10 per adult, with no charge for skiers or snowshoers age 17 and under.  Season passes are available for $70 at the Chelan Ranger District office. 

All trailheads in the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area are plowed and open for parking.  Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area is located 10 miles outside of the city of Chelan and is managed as a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club.

For current grooming information go online to www.lakecheleannordic.org or contact the Chelan Ranger District office at (509) 682-4900.  The Chelan Ranger District office is located at 428 West Woodin Avenue in Chelan with office hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

nps logo smSedro Woolley, WA –The public is invited to attend any of several meetings in November to learn more about and provide comment on a proposed action to replace administrative facilities at Stehekin on Lake Chelan.

Meetings will be held on the following dates:

Stehekin:  November 17

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Stehekin Community Hall

Wenatchee:  November 18

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Douglas County Public Utility District Auditorium

1151 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee

Seattle:  November 19

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

319 Second Avenue South

The meetings will be structured as open houses with opportunities to talk with park staff, ask questions, and provide comments on the Environmental Assessment (EA).  A brief presentation describing the proposal will be given shortly after beginning of each meeting.

 
The purpose of the proposed action is to provide cost-effective and sustainable maintenance, fire operations, and housing critical to Lake Chelan National Recreation Area operations outside of environmentally sensitive areas. The proposed action is needed to remove the existing facilities from the Stehekin River’s floodplain, because the existing facilities are inefficient to operate and maintain, and a long-term solution for solid waste disposal must be identified and implemented.                  

Existing maintenance and fire facilities would be removed from the floodplain and channel migration zone of the Stehekin River, allowing the lots to be restored to more natural conditions. In accordance with the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan and Final Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan/Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, new maintenance facilities would be consolidated in an area near the airstrip and would include shuttle bus storage and maintenance; equipment; a repair building; a fire cache and dorm; helicopter pad; hazardous materials, propane, and gasoline storage; and a solid waste compaction/recycling transfer facility. One single-family house would be built in one of three potential locations in the Stehekin Valley.

The Environmental Assessment analyzed the impacts of a No Action Alternative and three action alternatives. Each action alternative includes a different layout for the new maintenance facility at the Stehekin Airstrip site, in combination with a different housing site. The Environmental Assessment identifies a Preferred Alternative and an Environmentally Preferable Alternative.

The recently completed Environmental Assessment for the Replacement of Administrative Facilities at Stehekin is open for public review and comment through December 7, 2014 at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SMFRP.

During the comment period, you may also submit comments through the regular mail or by hand delivery directly to: Superintendent’s Office, ATTN: Stehekin Administrative Facilities EA, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.

usfsWENATCHEE — A 6-mile stretch of Mills Canyon Road No. 5200 will be closed weekdays while Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) work occurs.  The road will be closed from the national forest boundary at the bottom of the canyon to its junction with Road No. 5215.  The closure starts today and will continue through October 13.  The road will be open on weekends.

BAER work will stabilize the road to minimize damage from potential debris flows, heavy rain events and snow melt run off.  “It is important to get this work accomplished now, before winter weather arrives,” said Civil Engineer Jonathan Jennett.  “We need to clean out culverts and improve road drainage so the road is in good condition to withstand weather events that might occur this winter.”

Mills Canyon Road connects with the Entiat Valley Road approximately 3 miles west of Entiat, Washington. 

Please contact the Entiat Ranger District office at 509-784-4700 for additional information about the road closure and BAER work.

nps logo smSedro Woolley, WA –The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comments on a proposal to restore the fisher (Pekania pennanti) to Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks.  The recently completed Fisher Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment for Mount Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park Service Complex (Fisher EA) proposes the reintroduction of 80 fishers into the southwestern Cascades, including Mount Rainier National Park, over the course of two years.  Similar efforts in the northwestern Cascades, including North Cascades National Park Complex, would follow a successful release to the south.

The fisher is a medium-sized carnivore in the weasel family that is native to the north and south Cascades of Washington State. Considered absent from Washington by the mid-1990s, Washington State formally listed the fisher as endangered in 1998. Since the fisher is not expected to return to the Cascades on its own, Washington State has determined that fisher reintroduction is necessary in both the southwestern and northwestern Cascades to restore this species to its historical range in the state.  Fishers would likely be brought in from central British Columbia and monitoring would follow each reintroduction effort for at least three years.

The NPS is seeking public review and comment on the Fisher EA through October 15, 2014. To see the full plan and provide comments, go to www.parkplanning.nps.gov/RestoreFisher. Limited physical copies are also available at several public libraries throughout the region including Bellingham, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Seattle, Tacoma, Puyallup, Enumclaw, Buckley, Eatonville, Chelan, East Wenatchee, and Yakima Valley and by request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. During the comment period, you may also submit comments through the regular mail or by hand delivery directly to: Superintendent’s Office, ATTN: Fisher EA, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.

All comments on the Fisher EA are welcome, particularly those that assess the adequacy of the document in disclosing and evaluating the effects on the environment. These comments are most useful if they are as specific as possible and do the following:

  • Discuss a particular plan element or alternative
  • Identify incomplete or incorrect information
  • Offer reasons why a particular alternative or plan element would or would not work
  • Offer a reasonable, new plan element or completely new alternative that could help accomplish the stated goals
  • Point out discrepancies between legal mandates and proposals
  • Highlight deficiencies in the analysis of environmental consequences
  • Provide information on how you use the park and how particular proposals in the planning document would affect that use.

The NPS and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be holding public open houses to provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the Fisher EA and provide verbal or written comments. Details on the location, date, and time of these meetings is available on the project website at: www.parkplanning.nps.gov/RestoreFisher.

nps logo smSeptember 2, 2014 – Sedro Wooley, WA - Two new Artists in Residence in the fields of music and writing will join the park mid-September through early October to produce work inspired by Wilderness of the North Cascades.

Portland, Oregon composer Christina Rusnak, has been chosen as the fall Artist-in-Residence for Lake Chelan National Recreation Area at Stehekin.  Christina’s music is written for groups as diverse as jazz ensembles and symphony orchestras.

Ms. Rusnak’s music is strongly influenced by wilderness landscapes.  “My intention is to follow in the footsteps of past and present composers who have been inspired by our National Parks.  As a composer, cultural explorer and writer, my premise is that wilderness is not a static place – that the landscape is a vibrant dynamic place, constantly evolving via wind, climate, fire and regeneration”.

 Poet Paul Willis, from Eastmont College in Santa Barbara, California will share a poetry writing workshop at the North Cascades Visitor Center in Newhalem, Saturday, Sept. 20, 1-3 pm. Beginners are welcome and participants may walk some short trails if weather permits. Class size is limited, so please call 360-854-7304 to register; walk-ups allowed as space permits. Mr. Willis will also be reading poetry at some of the evening campfire programs in late September during his residency.