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Historic Bell House Removal

North Cascades National Park Service Complex » Historic Bell House Removal » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS) will remove developments (house, shop, covered storage building, outhouse, septic system, water system (well), and gravel road/driveway) from the Bell property located on Bell Road (Chelan County Property ID #52272) in the Stehekin Valley. The developments are within the channel migration zone of the Stehekin River in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (part of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex (NOCA)).

The channel migration zone is subject to future erosion and occupation by the active channels of the Stehekin River, thus removal of developments removes the threat of damage by erosion, flooding, and their incorporation into the Stehekin River. Property values such as aesthetics and water quality may be compromised by damaged and flooded structures and the septic system and asbestos in the house could contaminate the river. A proactive approach in this dynamic landscape also results in long-term cost savings to the NPS, as it removes the expense of trying to protect property from flooding and erosion.

The NPS is seeking your input on proposed mitigations that will offset the removal of the Bell house from the Stehekin River channel migration zone. Because this structure is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, its removal is an "adverse effect" on the historic property, per Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires agencies take into account and mitigate the effects of their actions on historic properties. Information on the resolution of adverse effects on historic properties is available at 36 CFR § 800.6 via

Please see the provided background document via the "Open for Comment" link to the left for additional information on the proposal, such as photos of the existing developments on the parcel, a map of the project location, and a map of the Area of Potential Effect (APE).

The NPS has determined that there is a greater benefit to restoring and protecting the channel migration zone than for the preservation of the historic structure. Accordingly, the NPS must mitigate the effects of the removal of this historic structure to the community of Stehekin and the greater public. This mitigation must be equal to the impact that the removal creates.

Your comments on the proposed mitigations and/or proposal(s) of other appropriate mitigations to minimize the effects of the removal of this structure are requested.

Required mitigation:

- Conduct Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentation of the structure which typically includes writing a narrative history, creating measured drawings, and photo-documentation.

Proposed mitigations:

- Create an interpretive panel to be displayed in the Golden West Visitor Center with photographs and explanatory text of the Bell house and the Bell family in Stehekin.

- Host a "virtual" version of the exhibit on the NPS NOCA website to make it available to the greater public.

The final mitigation plan will be approved by NPS and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and will incorporate public comment where feasible.

Contact Information

Jack Oelfke, (360) 854-7310.