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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great news for Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions!


Hip-Hip-Hooray!

We are happy to announce that the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers bill unanimously passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in early November 2011. Championed by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA 08), this bill adds 22,000 acres adjacent to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness as well as Wild and Scenic River protection to almost 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River. Washington Wild is part of the coalition of conservation and recreation groups that, along with local activists, have been promoting this Wilderness and rivers proposal to increase protection on the breathtaking forests and rivers.

Want to see the impressive land for yourself? Finding a hike is easy to do! Just east of North Bend, along I-90, this world-class hiking destination is a short trip for Seattle residents. These wild forests and free-flowing rivers offer visitors much in terms of recreation and aesthetic values. Marvel at the lush green forest and beautiful alpine lakes, an abundance of diverse trees cover the landscape; wet forests of old growth Douglas fir, cedar and western hemlock thick with moss are just some of the attractions. The pristine low-elevation old growth forests provide habitat for an array of animals. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie offers adventures for rafters and kayakers and holds a bounty of native cutthroat trout for fishermen.

Hiking Ideas:

Close to I-90, the following trails are popular and accessible. Most of these trails start off outside the proposed Wilderness Additions but quickly enter the proposal, ending at their destinations in the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

- Talapus Lake Snowshoe (#1039)

- Island Lake – Rainbow Lake (#1009)

- Granite Mountain Snowshoe (#1016)

- Ira Spring Trail – Mason Lake (#1038)

A bit further of a drive, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie trail and the Pratt River Connector Trail (#1035) offer magnificent experiences. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trail is just outside of the Wilderness proposal but entirely within the Wild and Scenic River corridor and offers stunning views.

Remember to plan accordingly for your hike! Make sure to bring extra water, proper supplies and check the weather before you leave.

Sarah Gruen is one of Washington Wild's wild lands interns. She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in geography in 2010. Sarah can be reached at sarah@wawild.org.


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