Tag Archive for: Washington

Another gap in protection filled in the Wild Sky Wilderness

May 4, 2024-

The Wilderness Land Trust recently acquired 128 acres within Washington’s Wild Sky Wilderness, building on a years-long effort to unify protection across the landscape.

Looking at a map of the Silver Creek drainage in Washington’s Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas tells a remarkable story of the cumulative impact we are making together in the wild places we love. It tells the story of a spectacular landscape, lush with old-growth forest, home to threatened steelhead trout spawning grounds, with a rich history of mining boom and bust that has left a patchwork of land ownership and protection across the wilderness areas.

As we revise this map we color new parcels in yellow as relationships with landowners deepen and deals to purchase their properties progress, in orange as the Trust acquires properties, and ultimately in green as they are transferred to public ownership and added to the wilderness area. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment as one by one we see the blank properties on the map filled in as the threat of their development is removed.

Recently we completed the purchase of the 128-acre Ramble Lode property. It was the Trust’s ninth acquisition within the drainage, and adjoins several already protected properties. With it we have filled another gap in protection in the Wild Sky Wilderness.



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Celebrating 345 acres added to Washington’s wilderness

June 19, 2023- This week the Trust transferred the 345-acre Evergreen property to public ownership, adding it to Washington’s Wild Sky Wilderness. The Evergreen property was the largest remaining private inholding left in the Wild Sky Wilderness, and with its transfer, we are one step closer to unifying protection across the landscape and conserving critical habitat. 

The Trust first purchased the property back in 2018, and since then has been working with the US Forest Service to transfer it. This timeline to acquire and transfer a project isn’t unusual, and highlights an important aspect of our work. Because it can take years for federal agencies to go through their internal process to purchase private inholdings directly, they typically can’t meet the timeline of private sellers. The Trust, on the other hand, is able to move quickly. We pride ourselves on being able to work with landowners and complete necessary due diligence, like appraisals, to ensure that they are not only offered fair market value for their properties, but that we can meet their schedule and remain a competitive option in the market.

Thanks to this public-private partnership, we are able to celebrate the addition of 345 acres of old-growth forest in the heart of the North Cascades Ecosystem to the wilderness, ensuring it will remain wild and free of development for the benefit of generations to come.

The Value of Conservation in the Mount Baker Wilderness

February 10, 2023- 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

Readying a Property for Transfer

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

Aug. 9, 2019 — Some of the properties we purchase require a lot of work before we can transfer them over to public ownership, including the complete removal of unwanted man-made structures.

In 2017 we acquired the “Jumbo and Mt Vernon Lode” property – 38-acres along a popular hiking route in the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington state. By doing so, we also inherited a cabin filled with old furniture, discarded equipment, a wood stove and lots of garbage. The cabin was highly visible on a ridge that boasts stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. It was also being slowly crushed by the weight of heavy annual snowfall.

Last fall we partnered with the Whatcom Land Trust to begin the tedious process of dismantling the structure and removing most of its contents via helicopter. Last week we visited once more to rehab the site and prepare for its eventual return to the wilderness. Personally, I think the view is much better now, don’t you?