North Cascades National Park Explores Relocation of Backcountry Camping Sites

by Anna Dunn

North Cascades National Park is exploring a relocation of some backcountry camping sites.

According to National Parks Traveler, the park is considering this because it’s been experiencing more and more problems with flooding. The park is specifically looking at two spots along the Bush Creek Trail: Graybeal Hiker Camp and Stock camp.

Additionally, there’s a need to add in more backcountry sites. There’s an influx of crowds.

The North Cascades National Park is Considering Moving These Camping Sites out of a Floodplain

Both Graybeal and Stock Camp are located on a natural floodplain. These sites have experienced flooding in 2003,2006, and 2017. Apparently, the floods have made these sites more vulnerable to flooding in the future.

“Near the current Graybeal camps, Brush Creek is degrading, which means sediment is being moved down the river’s floodplain during high water events. This has the effect of raising the elevation of the floodplain. Which makes the camps more susceptible to flooding,” the park service explains.

Moving these campsites to areas outside of the plain comes with both human and environmental advantages. On the human side, it’ll prevent any sort of costly damage to the campsites and give campers more time. On the nature side, taking out campsites is going to make sure the natural process isn’t impeded by any sort of human interference.

Apparently, the Capacity at these camps would remain the same. Of course, if it goes through, its a huge bummer for people who love these sites. But it looks like they wouldn’t be around for much longer anyway due to the natural environment that surrounds them.

The flooding has made these sites not up to the standards the park wants to set for its visitors.

“Patterns of erosion and sand deposition have forced the layout of the hiker camp into a confusing web of trails, tent pads, and cook areas.” These areas reportedly, “do not meet the preferred design features of camps in the Stephen Mather Wilderness.”

The Park is Looking for Public Feedback

If North Cascades national park does do a site switch up, campers may be able to use these sites for decades to come. People could do so without the risk of these sites being washed completely away the next time it floods.

“Considering recent environmental and visitor use changes, the purpose of this action is to maintain and create overnight backcountry camping opportunities, preserve wilderness character, and conserve natural and
cultural resources in North Cascades National Park Service Complex by minimizing and managing the impacts associated with recreation,” the proposal for the site switch reads.

The park is currently looking for public feedback on the proposal. A virtual public meeting will be held this Friday if you’d like to learn more information.