Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wild Sky Wilderness

The Wild Sky Wilderness bill has passed Congress and needs Presidential approval before becoming a reality. I'm very pleased, this area is very near to me and I have hiked and camped there for years. The area is north of Highway 2 on the west side of the Cascade Mountains and consists of much of the Skykomish River drainage. There are many good environmental reasons to protect this area, more selfishly as a hiker, I appreciate the preservation of another section of wilderness near the Puget Sound Metropolitan area. Lots of people in the area use wilderness and backcountry areas to the point that some places have to be rationed. Wild Sky offers another protected area, not that people didn't use it before, but wilderness status may make the area more desirable. Wild Sky partially abuts the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness area to the east and north, making a larger contiguous block. Also, the area needs protection, it has been logged and development is occurring to edges of the boundaries.

Unfortunately, access into Wild Sky is limited because of the storms of 2006. The Index-Galena road was badly washed out (not for the first time) and rebuilding the road will require some some re-routing. I hope the change in status will hurry the road building and trail repair and possibly lead to some new access points. Obviously, too much access is adverse to the Wilderness status but careful use, rationed if necessary, will lead to even more support for natural areas and good hiking conditions.

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