Press Release Jan 19, 2022

British Columbia Reclaims Mining Rights For Upper Skagit Watershed

Decision will protect important waterways within North Cascades National Park and beyond

Seattle, WA – British Columbia’s decision to reclaim mining rights in the headwaters of the Upper Skagit River, effectively saving the area from a planned industrial gold and copper mine at a major waterway that runs from British Columbia into Washington state, is a significant step in protecting the heart of North Cascades National Park , environmental advocates said today.

“Today the lifeblood of North Cascades National Park is saved,” said Rob Smith, northwest regional director at the National Parks Conservation Association. “This is excellent news for people, fish and wildlife on both sides of the border. Preventing industrial mining in the Skagit River headwaters will in turn protect downstream waterways in the North Cascades that are crucial to the health and wellbeing of local tribes, residents, fish and wildlife as well as the area’s recreation and agricultural industries that all rely on healthy clean water.”

The potential release of copper and other heavy metals risked polluting waters downstream of the Canadian mining site.

The Skagit River runs from British Columbia to Puget Sound via the North Cascades National Park, and is an important waterway for local tribes, residents, park wildlife, and is the only river in Puget Sound that produces substantial runs of all of our native salmon and trout species.

Imperial Metals, the company that previously owned the mining rights to the site, was the company involved in the 2014 Mount Polley mine disaster in British Columbia, in which a collapsed dam sent 24 million cubic meters of mining waste into nearby lakes and rivers.


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

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