The Value of Conservation in the Mount Baker Wilderness
The Wilderness Land Trust recently completed the purchase of 21 acres of private property within Washington’s Mount Baker Wilderness.
Within this 21-acre property, high in the alpine, sits one of the remaining 13 glaciers in the Mount Baker Wilderness. Glaciers across the North Cascades have been steadily losing volume over the last several decades. As glaciers shrink due to a changing climate, the ecosystems that depend on them become increasingly vulnerable. We must protect them from stressors like development to assure their continued resilience.
The first law of ecology is everything is connected. During their normal annual cycles of accumulation and melt, glaciers act as reservoirs of water that persist throughout the summer, creating perennial steam habitat and water sources for plants and animals. Their runoff is also important to downstream water temperatures, small variations of which can have huge impacts on the ecosystem, including salmon spawning grounds.
The value of protecting this little 21-acre property high on the slopes of the Mount Baker Wilderness flows downstream just as its runoff does. It is connected to the larger landscape around it through a web of actions and reactions, which we are a part of. A recent study found the Mt. Baker-Snowqualmie National Forest provides $30 billion worth of ecosystem services that we depend on. These are things like the clean air and clean water which sustain life. Every dollar invested in the Forest returns over $3,000 in ecosystem services, making the purchase and protection of this property a sound investment for future generations.
Enjoy the view from the Fourth of July Lode property