Expect Helicopters, Drones in Gothic Basin in Coming Weeks
The Department of Natural Resources is installing a backcountry toilet and assessing the area. It's all part of an area to improve trails and protect the popular hiking destination.
In order to provide high-quality hiking trails and protect natural resources, the Department of Natural Resources is conducting work in Gothic Basin in the coming weeks.
As part of a recreation-planning process, crews will be conducting drone and helicopter flights in and around Gothic Basin during the week of Sept. 10, as well as the week of Oct. 8 or Oct. 23. Crews will also install a backcountry toilet in the area during that time. During the work, trails will be open, although hikers will notice helicopter and drone flights. Access may be restricted in the helicopter landing area for the toilet installation.
The dates of the work are subject to change, based upon wildfire activity and when helicopters are available.
Gothic Basin, which is part of DNR’s Morning Star Natural Resource Conservation Area in Snohomish County, is a popular hiking destination. The state agency, however, doesn’t yet have a plan in place for management of the area. Many trails there are user-built or old mining trails and pass through fragile alpine areas. And without designated campsites or signs to direct campers, backpackers have been camping too close to streams, lakes and other delicate areas.
The upcoming work will help DNR to create a sustainable trail system that hikers can enjoy for generations to come. (Comments from hikers who weighed in 2016 also contributed to the ongoing planning.)
In the meantime—while DNR works to create a plan to protect the native plants, meadows, wetlands and lakes of the area—hikers will be instrumental in helping protect the area.
Here’s what you can do to protect Gothic Basin:
- Consider limiting visitation to Gothic Basin to day-use only until campsites can be designated to protect sensitive areas.
- If you camp, avoid areas that are near streams and lakes, or are in an area that is a seasonal pond.
- Do not build campfires.
- Observe the Leave No Trace principles.