Over the course of NCCC’s 50+ years of being the only single-purpose organization dedicated to North Cascades conservation, our archives have accumulated some fascinating history. We’ll be posting more here as time allows, so please check back!
The Battle for the North Cascades
Read what Brock Evans, then NW Conservation Rep, said in The Land, the Harvard University Conservation Club journal, just a month before the North Cascades got a National Park:
Harvey Manning’s unpublished writings
The Manning family has released scanned PDFs of Harvey Manning’s final unpublished manuscripts. You can find links to them on Harvey’s In Memoriam page.
Patrick Goldsworthy’s handmade map & photo display, ca. 1965
Two panels, hinged to fold for transportation, this panel appeared at many events promoting the Park and subsequent Wilderness Area campaigns. Patrick appears in the lower photo with the display he created at an event to draw attention to the threat to Big Beaver Valley’s ancient forest from the then-proposed High Ross Dam.
A Prospectus for a North Cascades National Park, 1963
A statement of the situation in the North Cascades at the time, the goals of NCCC, and how they could best be realized, the Prospectus truly is the culminating document of NCCC’s greatest initiative. We’re releasing it in sections as we scan it. Come back for more as we post it here. (PDF files open in a new browser tab/window.) Note that this is an historical document and so the portrayal of Federal agencies in it does not represent those agencies today, nor are the positions stated here all necessarily the current positions of NCCC.
Cover and Photos
Part I – The National Park Quality of the North Cascades
Part II – The Unsatisfactory Nature of Present Management
Part III – The Superiority of National Park Service Management
Part IV – Legislation Proposed to Create a North Cascades National Park
Part V – The Economic Impact of a North Cascades National Park
Big Beaver vs. High Ross – images and activism
A slideshow of images of the upper Skagit and Big Beaver valleys and campaigns to stop Seattle City Light from raising Ross Dam (“High Ross”) which would have flooded Big Beaver.
Stop the Dams!
Patrick Goldsworthy writes in Sierra Club NW chapter journal, Sept. 1969, that the new North Cascades National Park wasn’t safe from the dam builders.
Trouble in the North Cascades. The Nation must STOP THE DAMS. (Includes map by Goldsworthy)
Big Beaver Valley ecological survey – the first of its kind
NCCC members Margaret and Joe Miller wrote a biological survey of Big Beaver Valley in 1971, a pioneering example of an ecological survey to demonstrate an area’s unique scientific value. Arthur Kruckeberg, professor emeritus of botany at the University of Washington and NCCC member said in The Wild Cascades, “[The Millers’] masterful account of the [Big Beaver] Valley’s biota has become a paradigm of gathering evidence in the wild to preserve a great piece of nature.” Click the report cover below to view the scanned PDF (sorry, the photos are missing):
A North Cascades Slideshow, ca. 1967
In the final year of the long effort to establish a North Cascades National Park, it must have seemed like an “impossible dream!” NCCC’s leadership put together a slide show and wrote a script to promote the idea of a National Park and barnstormed all the meetings they could attend. Imagine, the North Cacades Highway was still not completed, and the blasting could be heard echoing through the Skagit and Early Winters Creek valleys from where the road ended then, in Diablo and Mazama. It was clear to our founders that if they didn’t protect the remaining untrammeled wilderness there, spur roads would be built and the approach valleys would be logged…
As it was, the Park proposal involved its own set of compromises, as you can see from the maps in this slideshow. But by October, 1968, it became reality! Relive those heady days when Henry Jackson promised he would “lead in the parade” and LBJ signed the North Cascades Act.
Take a “Beach Hike” with Justice William O. Douglas and NCCC’s Polly Dyer
NCCC’s Polly Dyer was also active in saving the Pacific coastal strip of Olympic National Park. Here, an old documentary shows a 3-day protest backpacking trip on the beach that she organized with Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1958, to get media attention to stop a proposed coastal highway along the last segment of wild US Pacific coast. The story of the event is documented at Historylink.org
It might be seen as the start of the entire Pacific Northwest environmental movement, since our co-founder Patrick Goldsworthy took his first outing after moving to Seattle to the Olympic Coast, before he discovered the North Cascades, and he may have been drawn there by news of this event. The 16mm film was found in Patrick’s “Northwest Conservation Film Library” after his passing, along with a number of other films that formed his “NW Conservation Film Library.” The producer, Louis R. Huber, was an NCCC board member in the 1960s, and went on to produce other films, mostly about Alaska. The Louis Huber collection is housed at the Oregon Historical Society. The William O. Douglas Film Project paid for a digital transfer from the original footage, then the Oregon Historical Society subsequently restored the film with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Other national environmental pioneers who appear in the film are Howard Zahniser, Harvey Broome, and Olaus and Margaret “Mardie” Murie. Douglas reads from his My Wilderness books at about 6:25, 14:35 and 16:00.
“…can’t we have 1% of the woods and the beaches for those who love wildness?”
A study guide to Douglas’ passion for wilderness has been produced by the Wm. O. Douglas Film Project: Public Lands, Public Ownership. http://williamodouglas.org/
Philip Hyde prints promoted Glacier Peak Wilderness, 1956
Photographer Philip Hyde, student of Ansel Adams, was a board member of NCCC from its inception in 1957 until 1959, and made at least one expedition into the Glacier Peak area (at that time, the central focus of NCCC’s conservation effort to establish permanently protected Wilderness there) with his large format camera, and some of his photos were then circulated by David Brower and Patrick Goldsworthy to events and presentations promoting the Glacier Peak Wilderness, which predated The Wilderness Act, and might be considered a template (or crucible) of the Wilderness movement. The crate held 19 Hyde prints, mounted, signed and hand-captioned. An expedition on which the photos were probably taken was documented in Philip and Ardis Hyde’s journals, with the dates August 17-23, 1956. For more about Hyde and his exceptional legacy, please see www.philiphyde.com
Video: Wilderness Alps of Stehekin by David Brower
In 1957, David Brower [a founder of NCCC] filmed Wilderness Alps of Stehekin with his two sons, Kenneth and Robert, in the Northern Cascades of Washington. North Cascades National Park was established 11 years later. David’s interest in film dated back to the 1930s. He would later write, “How does one reach out to others to teach, or to learn simply from the very effort of reaching out? Forget ESP for the moment or other forms of magic. It’s back to the old adage, ‘One picture is worth a thousand words,’ and take it from there. Since films pass by the projector’s shutter at twenty-four frames per second, an hour’s movie is worth eighty-six thousand four hundred words.” – Sierra Club website
Read the story behind the film: Preserving Nature through Film: Wilderness Alps of Stehekin and the North Cascades, 1956-1968 by Nicolas Timothy Bergmann, Portland State University
Advocacy: who was “The Kaopectate Kid?”
The Kerosene Kid and The Kaopectate Kid were noms de plume used by Joe Miller (1915–2007) in The Wild Cascades from 1969 – 1979, mostly to stop High Ross Dam and the flooding of Big Beaver Valley, efforts he and his wife Margaret were instrumental in. For more about Joe, see the retrospective in the the Spring 2007 issue of TWC, excerpted in our In Memoriam section.
We scanned Joe’s columns in the following back issues of TWC to create this compendium of his writing:
- 1969-1970 Dec-Jan
- 1970 April
- 1970 Oct-Nov
- 1972 Apr-May
- 1973-74 Dec-Jan
- 1974 Aug-Sept
- 1977 Spring
- 1977 Summer
- 1977 Fall
- 1978 Spring
- 1978 Winter
- 1978-79 Fall-Winter
Sketch map: the upper Skagit River country that was
Drawn at the time of the first or second stage of Ross Dam construction and its then-smaller reservoir (ca. 1937-49), this sketch map shows existing structures at that time. NCCC successfully opposed the 4th and final stage of Ross Dam, known as “High Ross.” Artist unknown, signed only as “Eire.” Click to enlarge:
Timeline: NCCC from 1957-1993
Click the thumbnail below to enlarge this timeline, created by Patrick Goldsworthy in 1993. It identifies efforts for which NCCC made the original proposal, was the leading advocate, and collaborated, during that time:
Video: Nature Has No Borders: A Cascades International Park
Cascades International Alliance, ca. 1994
NCCC partnered in an effort in the 1980 and 90s to create an US-Canada International Park, similar to Glacier-Waterton. Harvey Manning and Tom Perry appear here explaining the history of those efforts, representing US and Canadian activists, respectively. The film was produced for a conference of the same name at the University of Washington. The international Park proposal began as part of the campaign to stop High Ross Dam and preserve the greater ecosystem, and although it did not come to fruition, the guiding principles have been taken up by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission. For more background, see: http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/noca/adhi/chap15.htm
Photos from the 1937 North Cascade Area Investigation
The National Park Service surveyed the Cascades in Washington for a potential National Park way back in 1937 during FDRs administration. Here’s an album of photos produced as a supplement to that report, and a selected photo showing the team, with a close-up. The photographer is not identified, although many of the images in the album are attributed to L. D. Lindsley, grandson of David Denny and employee of Edward S. Curtis. The sad story is that WWII interrupted all interest in new National Parks just after this study was done, and thus only a small fragment of the North Cascades gained Park status much later, not till ’68. Also, in ’37 the timber industry was still smarting from FDR’s new Olympic National Park (a larger version of Teddy Roosevelt’s Mt. Olympus National Monument) that “locked-up” vast areas of Olympic timber, so the timber barons lobbied hard against any Park in the Cascades, other than the little postage-stamp square around Rainier.
Click to enlarge the views:
NCCC records in The University of Washington Special Collections
The UW has an extensive archive of our records.