North Cascades National Park Finalizes Plan For Stehekin River Corridor

North Cascades National Park officials are moving to mitigate flooding issues along the Stehekin River with their final Stehekin River Corridor Plan. NPS photos.

Relocating a stretch of road, adding some recreational amenities, and moving some structures out of the flood plain are key components of the final Stehekin River Corridor Plan approved at North Cascades National Park in Washington state.

The plan has been several years in the making. It was developed specifically in response to "the record floods of 1995, 2003 and 2006," according to park officials. It is also seen as the means to continue to implement the 1995 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan.

The final plan released this week mirrors in large part the draft plan: it includes "the relocation of about two miles of the Stehekin Valley Road around flood-prone McGregor Meadows, a change to large wood management at the river mouth, and a revision of the 1995 Land Protection Plan to update priorities for land protection and federal land available for exchange." It also calls for moving the Park Service maintenance facility and some Park Service housing out of the floodplain.

The preferred alternative would also make several new recreational opportunities available to the public, including a new raft take-out at the river mouth, a new campground at Rainbow Falls, and a Lower Valley Trail to connect the Stehekin Landing to High Bridge.

But there also were some proposed changes from the draft: A revised Land Protection Plan to more clearly focus on areas of greatest threat from flooding, the addition of an access road to McGregor Meadows from the road reroute, and an expanded socioeconomic analysis.

The plan currently is in a 30-day no action period, after which a Record of Decision can be signed off of by the regional director.

The National Park Service is hosting two public information sessions about the Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. These will be held:

Monday, August 6

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Golden West Visitor Center

Stehekin

Tuesday, August 7

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

319 Second Avenue South

Seattle