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Reimagining the Wilderness

It’s happened to all of us. You head up to Heliotrope Ridge or Lake Ann for a refreshing hike. At the trailhead, you hang your Northwest Forest Pass from your rearview mirror to show you paid for parking. Like a good citizen, you sign in at the trailhead, just in case. You write down how many are in your party ... Read More »

Cascade Crossing: Keeping the Faith in the North Cascades

I turn around to deliver the disappointing news. My wife stands a few short yards behind me as we pause to catch our breath. “Okay, I know for sure where we are, the bad news is we’ve got another section of steep talus slope before we reach camp.” Having already delivered this assessment of our route at least twice, she ... Read More »

SRBEIC: Flying High After 20 Years

The Skagit River is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful watercourses, flowing down from the North Cascades and making its sinuous way to the Salish Sea. In winter, bald eagles gather along its banks in amazing numbers, feeding on salmon. This epic cycle of salmon and eagle is one of nature’s great spectacles. For the Skagit River Bald Eagle ... Read More »

People of the Parks: The Legend and Legacy of Bill Lester

Every summer, Bill Lester would tell the same story. Former Park Ranger Alan Cline remembers that during every summer orientation for seasonal rangers, Lester – his mentor – would tell the story about a family that visited Olympic National Park while he was a ranger there. As the story went, one morning while tying his shoes, Lester greeted a couple ... Read More »

Making Fire

I have always been fascinated by animal adaptations. Whether a flight of countless miles, anti-freeze for blood, or a highly developed memory of food caches, natural seasonal adjustments are nothing short of miraculous. Humans, of course, also prepare for winter. But beyond putting on a few pounds as the temperature drops, our adaptations are centered in technology, not fantastic biology. ... Read More »

Wild & Scenic Status Sought for the Nooksack

The Nooksack River is born among the glaciers and snowfields of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and the Twin Sisters Range. Its three forks roll down from the ramparts through shadow-dappled forest and verdant farmlands, sweeping past villages and towns, eventually flowing into the Salish Sea. The river is home to all five species of native salmon as well as steelhead ... Read More »

Reflections on Wilderness

Wilderness is to me like a home, a place of happiness and comfort. Not so much physical comfort; rather, an emotional comfort. There is a sense of wilderness as the way a place should be, with a natural feeling of everything there working as it should, not needing to be changed or “improved”. That house is in order. It was ... Read More »

Still Wild After All These Years: The Wilderness Act Turns 50

More than one hundred million acres. This is the quantity of designated wilderness lands in the United States of America today. This bounty is the result of the Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964. The Act defines “wilderness” in language unusually poetic for legislation: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where ... Read More »