The Wilderness Land Trust’s latest purchase, 111 acres on Silver Creek in the Wild Sky Wilderness, ended the threat of
mining in a vast stretch of Washington wilderness.
Washington hosts 31 designated wilderness areas that encompass about 4.4 million acres. There are about 80 private inholdings totaling about 3,800 acres, including an active mine in the Mount Baker Wilderness, timber claims and a mill site. The Wild Sky Wilderness, created in 2008, is the newest addition to America’s Wilderness System. The 2.6 million-acre wilderness straddles the rugged North Cascade Range from Canada to Snoqualmie Pass.
Skagit County (USDA Forest Service)
The 570,00-acre Glacier Peak Wilderness occupies a huge swath of the Cascades, one of the steepest mountain ranges in the world. The wilderness shares its northern border with North Cascades National Park, and has few equals in terms of sheer ruggedness. Glacier Peak, the highest summit in the area at 10,541 feet, is more remote than any of the state's other famous old volcanoes. High meadows, deep forests and more than 200 lakes, many unnamed and difficult to access, can be found in the cirques and hidden basins. Wildlife includes grizzly bears, wolverines and gray wolves.
Chelan County (National Park Service)
The 635,000-acre Stephen Mather Wilderness, named for the first director of the National Park Service, is at the heart of more than two million acres of some of the wildest lands in the continental U.S. Designated in 1988, this huge, rugged wilderness provides a protected area for a range of wildlife, including elk mule deer, gray wolf, mountain goat, moose and bighorn sheep. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the southeastern corner of the park for about 13 miles, but much of the area can only be reached by multi-day hikes, often combined with mountaineering through this mostly trailless territory.
(USDA Forest Service)
Following a long legislative battle, the Wild Sky Wilderness, designated in 2008, was the first federal wilderness to be established in Washington in more than 25 years. When the Wild Sky Wilderness was first proposed, about 2,000 acres of private land were within its boundaries. The Wilderness Land Trust and Cascade Land Conservancy have purchased about one-third of these and efforts continue to acquire the remaining inholdings. The Wild Sky now totals nearly 107,000 acres, part of a 2.6 million acre wilderness complex that straddles the North Cascade Range from Canada to Snoqualmie Pass. The southwestern portion of the wilderness is only 25 miles from Puget Sound and is adjacent to the fast growing communities of the Skykomish River Valley. Salmon spawn in the reaches of the Skykomish River, popular with white water rafters. Trails are steep and few and cross-country travel is difficult.
Wild Sky Wilderness, Washington
"Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties of the earth are never alone or weary in life ... Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
The Wilderness Land Trust
PO Box 1420, Carbondale, CO 81623, phone: 970.963.1725 fax: 970.963.6067