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Published: December 01, 2011
By Andrea Imler
North Cascades National Recreation Area.
That’s just one of the changes to come out of an intensive planning effort by North Cascades National Park that will guide the park’s management decisions of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area for the next 15-20 years. The North Cascades National Recreation Area wouldn’t be a new designation, but rather the renaming (by way of Congressional legislation) of Ross Lake National Recreation Area (NRA). Why the change? The park is responding to “widespread public requests to connect to North Cascades National Park and its greater ecosystem through the NRA.”
The requests were part of a multi-year effort that the park undertook to garner feedback on its planning efforts, which ranged from recommending wild and scenic river status to maintaining facilities, from communities, local businesses, non-profit organizations and park visitors. The park’s planning newsletter states,
In creating this plan, North Cascades National Park Service Complex articulates a future vision for Ross Lake National Recreation Area – one that has been defined largely by you: the owners and users of this public land. Over the course of this planning effort, you have shared with us a clear vision for Ross Lake NRA: one that recognizes the North Cascades as a national treasure; one that preserves and protects the natural and cultural histories of this land as they are; and one that connects visitors with this place, its mountains and waters, its history, diversity, and wildness.
We’re excited to see that Ross Lake NRA (or should we start calling it North Cascades NRA in eager anticipation?) will be managed, “as a gateway to millions of acres of wilderness by providing enhanced visitor opportunities along the North Cascades Highway and ensuring the long-term stewardship of the surrounding North Cascades ecosystem and wilderness.”
While we’re still digging into the plan, here’s a short list of changes we’re happy to see: