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Topic: North Cascades National Park

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June 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Photo contest: Share your pictures from Washington’s national parks

We’re writing about Washington’s three big national parks, with stories on Mount Rainier  and Olympic National Park published recently (and North Cascades  National Park  coming up on Aug. 10). Now we’re looking for Seattle Times  readers’  best images from Washington’s national parks. Submit your  spectacular scenics, wildlife shots or simply family fun. We’ll judge…

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Comments | More in Contest | Topics: mount rainier, national parks, North Cascades National Park

May 15, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Helicopter photo shows where Seattle skier died on Shuksan; body now recovered

Above is a photo of the area where a Seattle skier died in a fall caused by a snow slide Wednesday morning on Mount Shuksan, in North Cascades National Park, northeast of Bellingham. Here’s the text of a statement released Wednesday night from North Cascades National Park: “At 10:45 this morning, North Cascades National Park dispatch received a report…

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Comments | Topics: Mount Shuksan, North Cascades National Park, skier killed

October 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Recreation, economic blues as federal lands stay closed

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park's Elwha  Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown.

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park’s Elwha Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown. (AP/Keith Thorpe)

Washington’s national-park  gems — Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades — remain closed, thanks to the federal shutdown. Locals can, with some effort and confusion, figure out other places to go for scenic drives, hikes and other recreation.

But for out-of-state and foreign visitors, the national-park closures are ruining long-planned trips and have local businesses near the parks worried about lingering economic impacts.

“People come from China, Germany, everywhere to see Mount Rainier,” said

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Comments | More in federal shutdown, national parks, Northwest, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: federal lands shutown, mount rainier national park, Mount St. Helens

August 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

North Cascades Highway may reopen on weekend

Look -  no cars on the North Cascades HIghway, which is blocked by mudslides.  But a portion of the road from the Methow Valley  up to Washington Pass (which is by the Liberty Bell peaks in the background) remains open to bicyclists and drivers who want to get to trailheads. A portion of the road on the west side also is open.

Look – no cars on the North Cascades Highway, which is blocked by mudslides. But an eastside  portion of the road, from the Methow Valley up to Washington Pass (which is by the Liberty Bell peaks in the background),  remains open to bicyclists and to  drivers who want to get to trailheads. A portion of the road on the west side also remains open. (Chris Fox photo)

Crews are working long hours to clear mudslides on the North Cascades Highway, and it’s possible that the popular mountain road could reopen this weekend, says Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Adamson. In the meantime,  some bicyclists are having a field day pedaling up and whizzing down part of the blissfully empty road that remains open.

 The road, also known as Highway 20, is a scenic and popular route that leads from Western Washington to  the Methow Valley. It was shut down  Saturday night because of mudslides touched off by an intense rain/hail storm. By Sunday, eight mud slides just west of Rainy Pass had buried

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Comments | More in highways, North Cascades | Topics: North Cascades, North Cascades Highway, North Cascades National Park

August 14, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Cascade Pass Trail open, but expect damage throughout national park

After the washout, before the fix: A visitor walks among damage where Boston Creek washed out Cascade River Road after a Sunday storm. (National Park Service photo)

After the washout, before the fix: A visitor walks among damage where Boston Creek washed out Cascade River Road after a Sunday storm. (National Park Service photo)

The Cascade Pass Trail in North Cascades National Park remains open despite a weekend road washout, but storm damage to that trail and others in the region remains under assessment by wilderness rangers. Hikers should be prepared for difficult going in places.

For access to Cascade Pass, one of the most popular hikes in the park, hikers must trek an added three miles from a closure point at Milepost 20 on the Cascade River Road, which was washed out by a flood of water and logs during a Sunday evening storm. The Cascade Pass Trail leads to Sahale Arm, Sahale Glacier and Stehekin backcountry such as Horseshoe Basin.

After being trapped behind a road washout overnight, hikers drive out Monday afternoon over a temporary roadway built by National Park Service workers. (National Park Service photo)

After being trapped behind a road washout overnight, hikers drive out Monday afternoon over a temporary roadway built by National Park Service workers. (National Park Service photo)

The washout created a chasm 60 feet wide and 15 feet deep where Boston Creek crosses the gravel road, preventing 70 hikers and their vehicles from exiting the area overnight and through most of Monday. They were able to drive out late Monday afternoon after National Park Service employees built a temporary gravel driving path. The temporary path is not considered reliable for use by other motorists, however.

Hikers are being allowed to park at the Eldorado Creek parking area and walk over the temporary path, said Rick Acosta, information officer for the national park. A park service engineer is evaluating a permanent fix, but it’s too soon to guess how long the road closure might last, Acosta said. No other repair work is going on yet, he said.

The Sunday storms and others over the weekend likely caused other damage in the park that hasn’t all been reported or evaluated. One of the trapped hikers, Victoria Jurgens, reported of her Sunday hike back to the Cascade Pass Trailhead: “The water was running down the trail so hard that it was sloshing up over the tops of my boots! It was pretty wild…We encountered

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: Cascade Pass Trail, Cascade River Road closure, North Cascades National Park

August 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM

65 stranded by Cascade River Road washout in N. Cascades

The National Park Service supplied this low-resolution photo of the washout on Cascade River Road, the only photo immediately available.

The National Park Service supplied this low-resolution photo of the washout on Cascade River Road, the only photo immediately available.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms over the weekend took a double whammy at primary driving routes in the North Cascades, including a Sunday afternoon washout of the Cascade River Road, a key access to North Cascades National Park backcountry.

The washout, at Boston Creek, 1.5 miles below the popular Cascade Pass Trailhead, stranded 65 people in their cars overnight.

The same series of storms caused multiple landslides closing Highway 20 west of Rainy Pass (see story here).

National Park Service employees were at the Cascade River Road site Monday assisting stranded visitors, and a temporary one-lane road may be opened by day’s end to allow the 25 to 35 trapped vehicles to drive out, according to an email from Ken Hires, Stehekin District Interpreter for the park. Friends and family members of the stranded hikers have been

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Comments | More in highways, national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: Cascade Pass, Cascade River Road, North Cascades National Park

August 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Washington’s national parks in top 20 in new ranking

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America's 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

In a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks, Washington’s three national parks all fall in the top 20.

Olympic National Park is ranked No. 8, North Cascades National Park is ranked No. 14, and Mount Rainier National Park comes in at No. 18.

To come up with the ranking, The Active Times website, oriented to the outdoors and adventure, used three criteria: biodiversity, range of visitor activities and the opinions of an expert panel.

The panel of experts included 17 writers, landscape photographers and travel professionals who write about and study national parks and spend much more time there than the average person. Among those who helped out were Kurt Repanshek, editor of National Parks Traveler, Michael Joseph Oswald, author of “Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 58 National Parks, and nature photographer QT Luoung, who’s captured every park on his large format camera and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Recently departed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also weighed in.

Here’s the top 20 in the ranking:

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: best national parks, mount rainier national park, national parks

April 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Here’s what will be open (and when) in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park has announced its summer operating plans and how it will be affected by sequester budget cuts. “We are moving forward with summer operations with reduced budgets and staffing,” said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of North Cascades National Park Complex, which includes the park and adjacent national recreation areas taking in parts of Ross…

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Comments | Topics: North Cascades, North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake