North Cascades maps, new and old

From the latest satellite images and GIS to early hand-drawn maps, cartography has gone hand-in-hand with conservation at NCCC. It’s all part of knowing the land.
Click the maps below to enlarge them.

Land designations and the ecosystem

Note how much of the greater ecosystem outlined in the satellite view on the right remains unprotected in the designation map on the left (note that the dark green areas in the designation map are roadless but unprotected). These maps are featured in our brochure.

North Cascades Map


 Geologic map of the North Cascades


A thumbnail view of the USGS Geologic Map of the North Cascades. Click to visit the USGS website where you can view the map.

NCCC member Rowland Tabor co-authored the USGS geologic map of the North Cascades.

The North Cascades are generally characterized by exposure of plutonic and metamorphic rocks in contrast to the volcanic terrain to the south. The rocks of the North Cascades are more resistant to erosion, display greater relief, and show evidence of more pronounced uplift and recent glaciation. More… (Haugerud, Ralph A., and Tabor, Rowland W., 2009, Geologic map of the North Cascade Range, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2940, 2 sheets, scale 1:200,000; 2 pamphlets, 29 p. and 23 p.)

How large should Glacier Peak Wilderness Area be?

A comparison map drawn by Patrick Goldsworthy ca. 1958, advocating for a larger Glacier Peak Wilderness by comparing the then-current and relatively smIMGP5420all USFS “Glacier Peak Limited Area” of 1940 to the larger 1939 “Glacier Peak Area defined by Chief Forester Silcox” (who died in 1939), which included what is now the south unit of North Cascades National Park. Hand drawn on vellum, probably one of the first maps Goldsworthy drew about the time NCCC was founded. Note the lack of a North Cascades Highway.


Glacier Peak open pit mine: A disaster averted by citizen action

Kennicott open pit map

(Click to enlarge.)

Read Harvey Manning’s Wilderness Alps about how NCCC successfully stopped the proposed open pit mine on Miners Ridge near Image Lake. Here’s a map by Patrick Goldsworthy of where that mine and it’s associated mill and road would have been, if it weren’t for NCCC. Keep this in mind next time you hike there to the quiet, wild heart of the North Cascades. And if you go to Holden, directly east of this, take a look at the damage created by the mine there – and Holden mine wasn’t an open pit!


High Ross Dam comparison maps

Click the map below to enlarge it. It depicts the footprint of a raised Ross Reservoir if City Light had built High Ross Dam. (More background is here.) NCCC campaigned for years to stop the raising of Ross Dam because it would have flooded some of the most unique forests in the country, the ancient cedar groves of the Big Beaver valley. Canadian conservations also opposed it because it would have flooded the upper Skagit River valley in Canada.

Pair of maps showing comparison of lake size if the 4th stage “high dam” at Ross Dam had been built. This is an official Seattle City Light map from when the proposal was still active in 1970. (Found in Vertical File 178, Seattle Municipal Archives.)