North Cascades Institute supports Diablo Lake Dock Project
North Cascades Institute partners with North Cascades National Park and Seattle City Light to develop and implement the curricula, training, marketing and registration for Skagit Tours. We are committed to the Tours being inclusive and accessible to all, sharing a story that includes the many facets of the National Park and the Skagit Hydroelectric Project: Native Peoples who have lived here since time immemorial, early explorers and settlers, development of Seattle City Light and the Skagit Hydroelectric Project, creation of North Cascades National Park, development of the Learning Center, natural and cultural history, and the use of public lands for education, recreation, research and renewal.
Seattle City Light’s proposal for a new tour dock, gangway, pier and pathway on the shore of Diablo Lake is adjacent to the campus of the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. North Cascades Institute has carefully reviewed the Environmental Assessment. We support this project for the following reasons:
• The project is in an area impacted by long historical use, including a work camp for dam construction and a previous fishing resort. The addition of the new tour dock is insignificant compared to the current impacts of Diablo Dam, SCL boathouse and haul-out, and the Learning Center.
• The Environmental Assessment finds that long-term impacts to water quality, fish and wildlife,habitat, cultural resources, soundscape and recreation uses will be minimal to nonexistent. The construction will have temporary, minimal impacts on the environment and Institute programs. We are comfortable with managing program participants during the brief, seasonal construction period.
• Diablo Lake boat tours, the main component of the popular Skagit Tours program, are currently non-ADA compliant. The new pathway and dock will make the tours ADA compliant and allow for new opportunities for people with differing abilities to access, enjoy and learn about the environment of Diablo Lake. This project will allow all citizens to access an important educational experience on Diablo Lake in the National Park Complex.
• Access through the current SCL boathouse and tour dock excludes people with limited mobility, including young children and seniors. It requires a long walk on a public road and exposes people to the dangers of walking through nonpublic work area and temporary dock to board the boat. This project provides additional safety for Skagit Tours participants.
The combination of meeting access and safety concerns, existing SCL site impacts, and the opportunity to provide more time for the public to experience and learn from the education programs offered on site, all contribute to North Cascades Institute’s strong support of this project.
You can express your support of greater public access to environmental education on public lands by submitting your support of this project electronically at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commenttourdock or via mail to Superintendent, North Cascades National Park, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284. Comments must be submitted by August 28, 2018.