Crater Lake Overflights Halted
NPCA worked with Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon to include protection of Crater Lake from overflight tours in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. Thanks to this legislation, the peace and tranquility of Crater Lake will remain without the droning of helicopter fly-over tours. The National Park Service will now be given the ability to deny air tours over Crater Lake National Park without having to first prepare an air tour management plan – a bureaucratic hurdle that wastes park resources and is not required at any other national park in the country.
Major Elwha River Restoration Progress
Thanks in part to NPCA’s years of work, this year saw significant progress on the Elwha River Restoration project. Following the successful removal of the Elwha Dam, the Glines Canyon Dam, the last remaining dam inside the boundaries of Olympic National Park, is scheduled to be completely removed early in the spring of 2013. Most of the water behind the dam in what was formerly Lake Mills has been drained and crews (including NPCA volunteers) have begun the revegetation process. NPCA has spent years advocating for the completion of this project and worked with Congressman Norm Dicks to get the last funds needed. NPCA also sponsored several volunteer events this year focused on the revegetation effort, preparing native plants to be introduced to the newly uncovered land in the former reservoirs. To see videos of the removal process and updated information, visit the Dam Removal Blog.
Pollution of Washington National Parks Halted!
NPCA advocated for Washington state legislation and a revised regional haze State Implementation Plan which will force the shutdown of the two units at the TransAlta coal-fired power plant in Centralia, WA, in 2020 and 2025 respectively. Also, the facility must use improved pollution control technology in the meantime. NPCA also worked for improvements to the State Department of Ecology’s plan to further reduce the plant’s emissions in order to protect the air quality at Olympic, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier National Parks in the intervening years. These regional treasures – and all the land and people and homes in between – have been impacted by haze pollution from TransAlta’s outdated power plant.
- Convinced the National Park Service to recommend the creation of a Manhattan Project National Historic Park, including Washington’s Hanford B reactor.
- Hosted three service days one each at Olympic, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier National Parks. Hundreds of NPCA volunteers repaired miles of trail, planted hundreds of native plants, and cleaned up several ocean beaches.
- Hosted the 2nd annual National Park Family Day. More than 1,500 attended the event including a large number of families with children. Thirty partners and parks tabled at the event.
- Secured legislation to expand Oregon Caves National Monument by more than 4,000 acres.
- Held a successful rally at Mount St. Helens for its elevation to a national park which acquired the attention and support of numerous local businesses, community leaders, and local elected officials.
- Celebrated the start of the removal of two dams on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park after 20 years of work by a coalition of conservation organizations. NPCA was instrumental in ensuring public support and federal funding for this project through our work in the community and with Congressman Norm Dicks.
Last Dam Summer on the Elwha
Olympic National Park, with support from NPCA, completed all 42 preliminary projects (including water treatment plant construction, fish hatchery construction, levee improvements, etc.) required before removal of 2 dams on the Elwha River could begin. NPCA built public and congressional support for this project over the past decade resulting in the final appropriations needed to complete the project and move it one year ahead of the projected completion date.
Inaugural Seattle Family Day
After the success of our Family Day event at Fort Vancouver NHS, NPCA partnered with the Klondike Goldrush NHP to host Seattle’s own Family Day Event. This annual event includes programs and activities for park lovers of all ages and information for planning summer visits to our northwest national parks.
America’s Great Outdoors Meetings
NPCA worked with the National Park Service to publicize and promote these events across the country. The Seattle event drew approximately 500 park and outdoor enthusiasts to express their concerns and ideas on how to enjoy, protect, and promote America’s Great Outdoors.
Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail
NPCA worked with the Ice Age Floods Institute, the National Park Service, and congressional members from 4 states to see the successful passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which created the nation’s first National Geologic Trail. The trail follows the path of pre-historic floods that carved the Columbia Basin in the Western United States, starting in Missoula, Montana, and ending at the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. These immensely powerful floods, which inundated portions of the Northwest during the last Ice Age, originated from glacial lakes that formed ice dams. When the dams broke, soaring masses of water shaped the landscape of present-day Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, and carved the pathway of the Columbia River Gorge.
The Way In - Community Meetings
The Northwest Regional Office held a series of community meetings in the gateway communities of Olympic, Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks to discuss the future of access to our national parks. Appropriate access to these parks is expected to change in the coming years as stronger, more frequent storm events and shrinking budgets challenge public land managers with how and which roads to keep open and which to close or limit access to. Following these meeting, NPCA produced a report outlining the concerns of these communities and suggested solutions.
John Muir Visits Seattle
Taking a step aside from the Northwest Regional Office’s series of informative and educational speakers, we invited the public to join us to enjoy “An Evening with John Muir.” Actor and impersonator Lee Stetson performed his nationally renowned one-man show as John Muir, recounting stories of his adventures in the northwest. The sold out crowd at Seattle’s Town Hall took pleasure in hearing from John Muir himself about trips with his dog Stickeen, a winter storm on Mount Shasta, and his “accidental” summit of Mount Rainier.
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
The Northwest Regional Office of NPCA partnered with the local PBS affiliate, KCTS 9 to promote Ken Burns’ most recent documentary. Including a visit to over 2000 people at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall by Ken Burns and producer Dayton Duncan, a special preview of episode 5 (focusing on the Northwest), and promotion of the film prior to John Muir’s performance, NPCA and KCTS 9 helped ensured the success of this incredible and memorable look at “America’s Best Idea.”
Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Memorial
The Northwest Regional Office of NPCA and members of the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Community work together with members of Congress to create a proud new addition to the National Parks System, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial (BIJAM). Originally sponsored by US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island), the bill officially designated the BIJAM as a satellite unit of the Minidoka National Historic Site, a World War II “Relocation Center” located in southern Idaho. In order that the U.S., “Let it not happen again,” this memorial will help all Americans remember the way American citizens were mistreated during a time of fear and war. This memorial hopefully will prevent this type of outrage from ever occurring again.