National Parks Conservation Association Disappointed by House Passage of Bill to Rebuild Dead End Road In North Cascades National Park

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 27, 2009
Contact:   Sean Smith, National Parks Conservation Association, Cell: 206-818-4041


National Parks Conservation Association Disappointed by House Passage of Bill to Rebuild Dead End Road In North Cascades National Park

Statement by Sean Smith, Northwest Policy Director for NPCA

"The U.S. House's passage of H.R. 2806, which may force the National Park Service to rebuild the Upper Stehekin Road in North Cascades National Park, is disappointing. In 2006, the Park Service completed an environmental review of the Upper Stehekin Road and concluded the best way to preserve park resources, save taxpayer money and maintain public enjoyment was to retire the road. Even if the road was rebuilt higher along the mountainside, the safety of visitors would be at risk from an area that is prone to avalanches and it would be prohibitively expensive for the Park Service to build, repair, and maintain. The road has been closed since 2003 due to devastating floods and a trail has served as a popular entry way for hikers and horseback riders into the upper Stehekin valley. In fact, last year backcountry visitation in Stehekin was the highest it has been in eight years.    

"The Lower Stehekin Road already provides tremendous hiking opportunities for families. In fact, there are more than nine trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, which reach deep into the Stephen Mather Wilderness, the Glacier Peak Wilderness, and the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness that surround Stehekin. 

"Utilized by roughly 1,400 recreationists per year, rebuilding and maintaining the Upper Stehekin Road along unstable mountain slopes should not be a priority, especially when the National Park Service is already struggling to keep more popular park roads open from storm damage. We strongly encourage Senators Cantwell and Murray to oppose any similar efforts in the Senate."

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