North Cascades National Park
Few fully know the intense and rugged beauty of the North Cascades jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 700 glaciers. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three Park units, which all are managed as one, and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Each area offers different experiences and contains wilderness. A vast majority of the Park complex, over 93%, is managed as the Stephen T. Mather Wilderness, which was established by Congress in 1988. The wilderness area was named in honor of the first director of the National Park Service.
Long before North Cascades National Park Service Complex was established in 1968, this area was a home. It was the home to many Native American tribes and a trade gateway between the Plateau tribes to the east and the Coast Salish tribes to the west. Native Americans have been in these mountains for over 8,000 years. More recent settlers came in the nineteenth century to establish homesteads in places like the Stehekin Valley, or to mine elusive minerals like gold, or to trap furbearing animals such as beaver, otter and marten. Now, the area is preserved as a National Park for all of us to enjoy.