North Cascades National Park Working On Plan To Improve Access To Stehekin River Corridor

North Cascades National Park officials, hoping to solve problems associated with flooding of the Stehekin River, have developed possible options that could improve access and enhance recreation opportunities. NPS photos.

Weary no doubt of floods that time and again have impeded access to the Stehekin area of North Cascades National Park, officials are fine-tuning a draft environmental impact statement that examines possible changes to the Stehekin River corridor.

The plan was developed specifically in response to "the record floods of 1995, 2003 and 2006," according to park officials. It is also seen as the means to continue to implement the 1995 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan. "The goals in creating this plan are to provide high-quality recreational experiences, protect natural and cultural resources, support the private community of Stehekin, and establish sustainable administrative facilities," according to a park release.

“We appreciate the public input over the past three years that has helped us create this draft plan,” said North Cascades Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “Once again, we seek your help. Please review the draft alternatives and provide us with your thoughts and specific recommendations on how these can be improved.”

Major elements of the preferred alternative of the draft EIS include "the relocation of about two miles of the Stehekin Valley Road around flood-prone McGregor Meadows, a change to large wood management at the river mouth, and a revision of the 1995 Land Protection Plan to update priorities for land protection and federal land available for exchange."

"The preferred alternative would also make several new recreational opportunities available to the public, including a new raft take-out at the river mouth, a new campground at Rainbow Falls, and a Lower Valley Trail to connect the Stehekin Landing to High Bridge," a park release noted.

A series of public meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks to bring the public up to speed on the plan's details, and to solicit comments.

Public Meeting Schedule:

Tuesday, October 19 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Golden West Visitor Center, Stehekin, Washington

Wednesday, October 20 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 215 Melody Lane, Wenatchee, Washington

Thursday, October 21 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park , 319 Second Avenue South, Seattle.

Documents for the plan can be reviewed at this site. You can find the same documents, and leave your comments, at this site.

Comments are being taken through December 13.