The 2003 Flood Opened Other Possibilities for Avid Environmentalists
The Environmental Assessment (download Upper Road EA pdf file) following the 2003 flood did provide one alternative, regarding the road, that would have carried out the intent set out in the 1995 Management Plan. Alternative D (with overwhelming public support) would have relocated the 100-foot road corridor in the washed out section between Car Wash Falls and Bridge Creek up onto the rim of the gorge and would have restored the still existing 'Old Wagon Road' to its place as a flood proof route from High Bridge to Bridge Creek. However, the Park Service opted to abandon the road above Car Wash Falls.
The proposed action (along with the alternatives) sets out further studies, inventories etc of rare and endangered species to be conducted. These actions provide information for subsequent actions taken to protect rare and endangered species. This information would be supportive of Alternative A from the 1995 General Management Plan.
The concept for Alternative A calls for (see p165 of the 1995 General Management Plan) the lower Stehekin Valley, including the Landing, to become a wild and natural area where natural forces would be allowed to remove all traces of manmade development. In accordance with a "sanctuary wilderness" concept, both upper and lower valleys would be permanently protected and available as habitat for gray wolves, grizzly bears, Pacific fishers, and possibly California wolverines. It is this extreme change in the nature of the Upper and Lower Stehkin Valleys that needs to be the subject of extensive public discussion leading to legislation that clearly spells out the nature and justification for this new type of wilderness. This legislation would set the precedent for other such areas in existing or new wilderness areas.
It would seem reasonable that before an alternative such as Alternative A were to be implemented that the American people should be fully informed and that by legislation of their duly elected representatives they would have the final say. It would seem appropriate that new legislation be enacted before such drastic actions be allowed to take place.
You are invited...
(1)To weigh in on the desired action regarding the road and...
(2)Extend the discussion about using the Stehekin Valley (upper and lower) as a model for a wilderness concept that might best be called "sanctuary wilderness" or...
(3)Propose or discuss other issues relevant to our national parks and wilderness areas.
There is a good deal of material out there about grizzly bears, wolves and other rare, endangered or recovering species. Articles on wolves and pikascan be found in a recent issue of NCCC's (North Cascades Conservation Council) magazine, The Wild Cascades. There is an article in an earlier issue about grizzly bears.
These are examples of what we would like to display here to advance the discussion.
We welcome your help.