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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

December 4, 2011 at 8:08 AM

New plan to enhance recreation and education opportunities to Ross Lake National Recreation Area

The National Park Service released the Ross Lake National Recreation Area Final General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.

“This final plan is the culmination of five years of planning and work with people that love the North Cascades,” said North Cascades National Park Complex Superintendent Chip Jenkins in a news release. “Over the course of developing this plan, we received close to two thousand comments. Thanks to this involvement, I believe we have a plan that speaks to the needs of the park and the public.”

The purpose of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area Final General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is to articulate a vision and overall management direction for Ross Lake National Recreation Area (NRA) that will guide decision-making for the next 15 to 20 years.

This plan sets forth clear actions to manage Ross Lake NRA as a gateway to millions of acres of wilderness by providing enhanced recreational and educational opportunities along the North Cascades Highway, maintaining the wilderness character of Ross Lake, and ensuring long-term ecosystem health.

“The new plan provides better protection of natural and cultural resources, expands recreational and education opportunities for our children and grandchildren, raises the 118,000-acre recreation area’s public profile, and supports gateway businesses and local jobs,” Sean Smith, NPCA Policy Director said in a released statement.

Smith says the plan also converts nearly 4,000 acres of the Thunder Creek potential wilderness area to designated wilderness. In addition, the new plan recommends 33 miles of park rivers, including Goodell, Newhalem and Skagit, for Wild and Scenic designation, which would permanently prohibit dams on these river sections, and provide the highest level of water quality and access protections.

People are encouraged to review the complete document, learn about the proposed actions for Ross Lake NRA, and submit comments by visiting the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website or call 360-854-7328.

A 30-day “no action period” will begin in mid-December after the publication of a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.

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