Your help is needed to protect the Alpine Lakes Wilderness from a series of actions that would damage the area’s wild character. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness covers over 414,000 acres of the famously scenic central Cascade Mountains in Washington. Designated as Wilderness in 1976, the area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and frequently visited by people in the Seattle and Puget Sound area.
Please speak up for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Comments are due February 1!
But now a long-standing and complex situation threatens the wild integrity of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness through a flawed environmental review process at the state level.
The issue deals with a few dams that were built at the outlets of lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness decades ago, before the area was designated as Wilderness, and the downstream water rights that may be connected with the dams. At Eightmile Lake, the Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts (IPID) is looking at rebuilding the low-level 90-year-old dam—a proposal that will require “substantial earthwork” and “heavy construction equipment.” The proposal calls for helicopter transport of materials and equipment, cutting a road through the Wilderness and driving the earthmovers in, or a combination of the two. The proposal may also increase the size of the dam and the amount of water diverted from the lake, even though the extent of IPID’s water right is disputed.
Washington State’s Department of Ecology is accepting scoping comments now on its Environmental Impact Statement on this proposal. But the State’s process is flawed, overlooks the national interest in wilderness designation of the Alpine Lakes, and threatens to harm the Alpine Lakes Wilderness not only at Eightmile Lake but at locations of other small dams elsewhere in the same Wilderness.
Please help protect the wilderness integrity of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
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