The sound of rushing water and songs of an ouzel draw me closer to the river. For years, drawn to the high mountains, I passed by the Nooksack River on my way to the North Cascades. Now, having cultivated a deep appreciation for the beauty and serenity of this beautiful watercourse, I stop and linger on its banks to soak it in. This river is every bit as awe-inspiring as our magnificent mountains.
Remarkably, the Nooksack hosts all five native Pacific salmon as well as a rich diversity of other wildlife. It feeds the Salish Sea. It has spiritual and cultural significance. It is our water supply.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was created by Congress in 1968 “to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for present and future generations.” This is right for our river. Though there have been many hydroelectric dam permit applications on the Nooksack since the 1970’s, none are currently active and a Wild and Scenic designation would veto any future dams. The era of dams is over.
The wild and free-flowing upper headwaters of the Nooksack deserve protection as a Wild and Scenic River. The time has come.
More info and petition at www.wildnooksack.com
Brett Baunton likes his photo adventures with Denise and Luna the Husky. National Geographic,The USPS, Alaska Magazine, National Parks and the U.S. Forest Service feature his images. “Wild Nooksack” is Brett’s current project.