Ross Lake NRA General Management Plan and EIS
Dear Friend of the North Cascades,
It is with great pleasure that we provide to you the Ross Lake National Recreation Area Final General Management Plan – a plan that articulates a vision and management philosophy for guiding decision making in Ross Lake National Recreation Area (NRA) for the next 15 to 20 years.
If you are reading this letter, it is likely that you have been a part of some of what the North Cascades has to offer. Perhaps you have camped at Colonial Creek Campground or kayaked across the turquoise water of Diablo Lake. Perhaps you have climbed Pyramid Peak, hiked the Easy Bank Trail to Desolation Lookout, or attended an interpretive program on the night sky. Regardless of your experience, you know the enjoyment and adventure that the North Cascades can offer, and you understand the importance of ensuring its protection for future generations.
We deeply understand that responsibility as well, and that is why over the past several years we have worked with surrounding communities, local businesses and non-profit organizations, and most importantly, park visitors to create this plan. Over the course of this effort, we heard your desire to recommend 33 river miles for wild and scenic river designation, to convert the Thunder Creek Potential Wilderness Area to designated wilderness, to preserve the natural soundscapes of the Cascades, to protect crucial grizzly bear habitat, and to offer more accessible hiking trails for the average visitor. We heard your recommendations to maintain or improve important facilities like the Wilderness Information Center and camping facilities in Hozomeen and to continue to work with partners like the U.S. Forest Service, North Cascades Institute, Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, and Seattle City Light to manage and protect these lands. Mostly, we heard your overwhelming desire to connect to this place, to visit these mountains and waters, and to enjoy their history, diversity, and wildness.
We believe this plan heeds your suggestions, concerns, and call for action. This final GMP sets forth clear actions to manage Ross Lake NRA as a gateway to millions of acres of wilderness by providing enhanced visitor opportunities along the North Cascades Highway and ensuring the long-term stewardship of the surrounding North Cascades ecosystem and wilderness.
As you will see in reading this plan, we have many goals set out for us in the coming years – goals that we created thanks to your involvement in this planning process and goals that we cannot meet without your ongoing help and support. Thank you, to all of you, for sharing your time and energy in helping to make the Ross Lake National Recreation Area what it is today and what it will be in years to come: a place for adventure, education, and engagement, where nature and wildness thrive.
Palmer (Chip) Jenkins
North Cascades National Park Service Complex
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1239