Stehekin River Road planning underway
The National Park Service has released a Draft EIS on a potential reroute of the Stehekin Valley Road at McGregor Meadows.
In 2003, flooding on the Stehekin River washed out the Stehekin Road at Car Wash Falls (milepost 15.3). To date, this section has not been repaired. North Cascades National Park lacks the authority to move wilderness boundaries to reroute the road, unlike other national parks. The Park also has some significant concerns about the impact of a reroute on the landscape. U.S. Representative Doc Hastings, who represents the area, has proposed legislation that would give the Park the authority to move wilderness boundaries - an authority that other wilderness parks in Washington already have.
This month, the Park released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on a potential reroute of the road below the washout, near milepost 7. The road, which passes through McGregor Meadows and is within the floodplain of the Stehekin River, is in a precarious position here. The Park's preferred alternative calls for pulling the road north out of the floodplain and developing new campsites and a boat launch below McGregor Meadows. The alternative would preserve about 0.7 miles of the old road into McGregor Meadows to allow for public access.
We appreciate the Park's work to preserve the environment while protecting the integrity of the road, and new recreation facilities in the area are very much welcome. The deadline for public comment on the DEIS is December 11. You can view and comment on the DEIS here.
We encourage you to take this comment opportunity seriously. Whether you use the Stehekin Road regularly or not, the voices of hikers can help shape and inform public policy for the better.