Middle Fork of the Cascade River with Mix Up Peak off to the right.   Purchased claims are in upper left of picture.

The Wilderness Land Trust purchases 100 acres to protect Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness forever

The Wilderness Land Trust purchases 100 acres to protect Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness forever

Nov. 05, 2013


To the intrepid hiker traversing between Cascade Peak and Mix Up peak in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, the scenery looks natural and unaffected by human presence.  What the hiker can’t see, however, are 100 acres of private land on the slopes of Cascade Peak, patented in 1907 for lead and silver prospecting.  These mining claims, looking down into the lush forested valleys of this glacier-carved landscape, have long been a target for the Wilderness Land Trust – and were finally woven into the Glacier Peak wilderness this week.


Over the last 100 years, the mining claims were passed from owner to owner, taken back by the county for taxes, sold to new owners, and eventually ended up in the hands of three families who thought they would make a go at trying to find some silver.   The Soren family administered the claims, and Bill Soren fondly remembers spending time with his Dad working the claims in an effort to strike it rich.


"Dad was a mining engineer and knew every rock and mineral seem in these mountains,” recalls Bill.  “These claims were tough. One year Dad lost a pack train of mules over a cliff trying to get to them.” 


Those trips into the mountains stuck with Bill, and when The Wilderness Land Trust contacted him about selling, he was pleased that these claims could be permanently brought into the Glacier Peak Wilderness.   “We are glad the deal worked out for everyone involved,” Bill said. “The land is now where it belongs.”


The purchase of the claims adds to sixty acres the Trust has already protected in the wilderness.    Together, the Trust’s purchases remove the threat of any future mining in the area, preserve the view shed along the ridge line, and secure the upper reaches of the Cascade River watershed.


"The Wilderness Land Trust works to complete wilderness areas and remove possible management conflicts that arise when private land is located in the middle of wilderness,” said David Kirk, Senior Lands Specialist for the Trust.   “These claims are on the edge of North Cascades National Park where grizzly bears, wolverines, and gray wolves all roam the wilderness.   The Soren family and all hikers, anglers, hunters and horse packers who enjoy the Glacier Peak area can now be assured that the wilderness they love will remain in its natural state."


The Wilderness Land Trust

The Wilderness Land Trust is a highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land. Since it was founded in 1992, the non-profit organization has preserved more than 373 parcels comprising of more than 38,500 acres of wilderness inholdings in 88 designated and proposed wilderness areas. The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501 (c)(3) organization, has offices in California, Colorado and Washington State.  For more information visit our website www.wildernesslandtrust.org.


The Wilderness Land Trust is a 1% for the Planet Non-Profit Partner.  Visit www.onepercentfortheplanet.org for more information.

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