H. R. 2806
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 27, 2009
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to adjust the boundary of the Stephen Mather Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park in order to allow the rebuilding of a road outside of the floodplain while ensuring that there is no net loss of acreage to the Park or the Wilderness, and for other purposes.
Congress finds as follows:
In 1988, 93 percent of the North Cascades National Park Complex was designated the Stephen Mather Wilderness.
A road corridor was deliberately excluded from the wilderness designation to provide for the continued use and maintenance of the upper Stehekin Valley Road.
The upper Stehekin Valley Road provides access to Stephen Mather Wilderness trailheads and North Cascades National Park from the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.
Record flooding in 1995 and again in 2003 caused severe damage to the upper Stehekin Valley Road and led to the closure of a 9.9-mile section of the road between Car Wash Falls and Cottonwood Camp.
The National Park Service currently does not have the flexibility to rebuild the upper Stehekin Valley Road away from the Stehekin River due to the current location of the non-wilderness road corridor provided by Congress in 1988.
It is a high priority that the people of the United States, including families, the disabled, and the elderly, have reasonable access to the National Parks system and their public lands.
The 1995 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan calls for retaining vehicle access to Cottonwood Camp.
Tourism associated with the North Cascades National Park Complex is an important part of the economy for rural communities in the area.
Additional management flexibility would allow the National Park Service to consider retention of the upper Stehekin Valley Road in a manner that provides for no net loss of wilderness.
Authorization for boundary adjustments
The Washington Park Wilderness Act of 1988 (Public Law 100–668) is amended by inserting after section 206 the following:
Boundary adjustments for road
The Secretary may adjust the boundaries of the North Cascades National Park and the Stephen Mather Wilderness in order to provide a corridor of not more than 100 feet in width along which the Stehekin Valley Road may be rebuilt—
outside of the floodplain between milepost 12.9 and milepost 22.8;
within one mile of the route, on the date of the enactment of this section, of the Stehekin Valley Road;
within the boundaries of the North Cascades National Park; and
outside of the boundaries of the Stephen Mather Wilderness.
No net loss of lands
The boundary adjustments made under this section shall be such that equal amounts of federally owned acreage are exchanged between the Stephen Mather Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park, resulting in no net loss of acreage to either the Stephen Mather Wilderness or the North Cascades National Park.
Stehekin Valley Road lands
The newly designated wilderness shall include the lands along the route of the Stehekin Valley Road that are replaced by the reconstruction.
Equalization of land
If the lands described in paragraph (2) contain fewer acres than the corridor described in subsection (a), the Secretary may designate additional Federal lands in the North Cascades National Park as wilderness, but such designation may not exceed the amount needed to equalize the exchange and these additional lands must be selected from lands that qualify as wilderness under section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131(c)).
No sale or acquisition authorized
Nothing in this Act authorizes the sale or acquisition of any land or interest in land.
No priority required
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as requiring the Secretary to give this project precedence over the construction or repair of other similarly damaged roads in units of the National Park System.
Passed the House of Representatives October 26, 2009.
Lorraine C. Miller,