Commonly referred to as the Stehekin River Plan, the final decision on this document marks the end of a multi-year planning effort and the beginning of, what will likely be, a 10-15 year implementation effort to provide high-quality recreational experiences, protect natural and cultural resources, support the private community of Stehekin, and establish sustainable administrative facilities in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area in light of increasing flood risks along the Stehekin River.
Major elements of the plan include the relocation of about two miles of the Stehekin Valley Road around flood-prone McGregor Meadows, a change to large wood management at the river mouth, and a revision of the 1995 Land Protection Plan to update priorities for land protection and federal land available for exchange. The preferred alternative would also make several new recreational opportunities available to the public, including a new raft take-out at the river mouth, a new campground at Rainbow Falls, and a Lower Valley Trail to connect the Stehekin Landing to High Bridge. Other important elements of the plan are carried forward from the 1995 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan, including moving the National Park Service maintenance facility and some National Park Service housing out of the floodplain.
“Considering the 2003 and 2006 record floods on the Stehekin River and the accompanying damages to both private and public lands, we believe this plan efficiently allocates public resources to ensure the protection of our nation’s natural and cultural resources and the public enjoyment of these resources for years to come,” said North Cascades National Park Complex Acting Superintendent Paul Slinde.
The National Park Service (NPS) plans to implement the Stehekin Valley Road Improvement aspects of this plan in fall 2013, though funding may be delayed. Early actions will include acquisition of easements from several private landowners to enable road construction. The NPS will also continue to pursue land exchanges in 2013, based on the guidance provided by the 2012 Land Protection Plan that was included within the Stehekin River Plan. Public scoping for relocating the maintenance facility and solid waste operation out of the channel migration zone and construction of a fire cache and a single family housing unit will begin in spring 2013. NPS staffs will continue to provide technical assistance to private landowners seeking to implement erosion control or advance flood protection measures on their property. However, other management actions await additional funding and may take a decade or more to implement.
The complete Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement and supplemental information are available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SRCIP.