North Cascades National Park

Show Summary – March 2, 2009

Guest: Chip Jenkins

Chip Jenkins (Sedro-Woolley, WA), North Cascades National Park, WA, “Lake Chelan and the North Cascades Complex”

Chip Jenkins is Information Officer for the North Cascades National Park Complex, in northern Washington Sate, which includes North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. There are no roads into North Cascades National Park or Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. The park is accessible only by trail and Lake Chelan NRA is accessible by trail or boat. The immensely scenic North Cascades Highway runs through Ross Lake NRA, which cuts the national park in half.

The Cascade Mountains are a string of volcanic peaks that begin with California’s Mt. Lassen, extend in a line up Oregon and Washington and end at Mt. Garibaldi in British Columbia. They are divided into the Western Cascades, which are 60 million year old and consist mostly of the eroded cores of ancient volcanoes, and the High Cascades, which are much younger (less than 10 million years old), still active, and contain large volcanoes, lava flows and volcanic features such as lave tubes and ice caves.

North Cascades National Park is a land of steep, rugged ridges that receives up to 150 inches of rain per year. The rain feeds 300 glaciers and many rivers, the largest of which is the Skagit.

Sharon asked Chip if he has noticed any effects of climate change in recent years. He said that the glaciers have lost 45% of their volume in the last 100 years and that severe flooding is more frequent.

Chip highly recommends the boat ride from Chelan, Washington, up the length of Lake Chelan to rustic Stehekin Village (which has no road access), where many trails into the North Cascades begin. Lake Chelan is 3 miles wide, 55 miles long and almost 1,500 feet deep. It is the third deepest lake in the U.S. after Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe.

For more about North Cascades National Park:

For more about the Cascade Mountains:

For more about Lake Chelan:

Categories: Bodies of Water; ecology and the environment; U.S. national parks, monuments

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